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Works Progres s Admini stration
HARRY L. HOPKINS,

Administrato r

REPORT ON PROGRESS OF

THE WORKS PROGRA M

OCTOBER 15, 1936

CORRINGTON GILL,
Assistant Administrator

EMERSON ROSS,
Director, Division of Research,
Statistics, and Records.

FOREWORD

Works Program employees, taken largely from relief rolls
and numbering approximately 3 1 800,000 at the end of February
and 3,400,000 at t he end of August 1936, have found jobs in
all parts of the country on the 100,000 and more projects
prosecuted under the Works Program.
Thie report reviews the
various kinds of projects operated by the Works Progress Administration and outlines the activities carried on by the
other agencies participating in the Works Program.
It discusses the workers and their earnings, and suwnarizes the disposition of the funds provi ded for the Program by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Acts of 1935 and 1936. In conclusion, the report devotes a brief section to relief before the
inauguration, and during the operation, of the Works Program.
The statutory provisions and the Executive orders pertaining
to the Program as well as the operating procedures adopted by
the Works Progress Administration are summarized in the first
section of the appendix; this is followed by a section covering Works Program employment and finances.
In Executive Order No. 7034, dated May 6, 1935, the
President created the Works Progress Administration and made
it responsible to him for the honest, efficient, speedy, and
coordinated execution of the work relief program as a whole.
Among the responsibilities with which this agency was charged
is that of gathering information such as is presented in this
report. The order made it the duty of the Works Progress.Administration to formulate and require uniform periodic reports of the progress on all projects and to formulate and
administer a system of uniform periodic reports of the employment on projects.
This report is indebted to the records of the Commissioner of Accounts and Deposits of the Treasury Department
for certain financial data, relating chiefly to obligations
incurred and expenditures made under the Works Program.

•

TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE WORKS

• •

PROGRAM IN REVIEW

PROJECTS OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION
WPA Highway, Road and Street Projects • • • •
• • • • •
Public Buildings Projects of the WPA
WPA Sewer System and Other Utility Projects • •
WPA Conservation Projects • • • • • • • • •
Emergency Flood Relief Under WPA • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • •
Emergency Drought Relief
•
WPA Park and Other Recreational Facility Projects
WPA Airports and Airway Projects • • • • • •
WPA Sanitation and Health Projects • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • •
WP A Goods Projects
WPA White Coll• Projects • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • •
National Youth Administration
THE WORKS

PARTICIPATION OF SPONSORS IN

• • • •
FEDERAL AGENCY PROGRAMS
Emergency Conservation Work • • •
Non-Federal Division of the Public Works
Resettlement Administration • • • •
Housing

•

•

•

•

•

•

War and Navy Departments

•

•

..

•

•

•

WORKERS AND THEIR EARNINGS
WORKS

•

• • • •

-4
9

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

•

•

•

•

37
-4 1

• •

-46

• • •
• • •
• • •
• • •

-49
52

PROGRAM

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

. . . . . . . . . . .
•

•

•

•

•

•

•

. . . . . . . .

.

.

1

• • • • • •
• • • • • •
•
Administration
• • • • • •

of Public Roads
• • • • • • •
. .
. .
Land-Use De velo pme nt
Statistical Clerical and Research Projects • •
Forest, Plant and Game Conservation • • •
Works Program in Territories and Possessions
Other Federal Agency Activities • • • •

Bureau

• •

• • •

• • • •

•
•
•
•

• • • • • •
• • • • • •
.
• • • •
• •
. . .

.

.

• •

• • •

• • • • •

. .

.

•

• •

1!
16

18

! 1
!!
26
29
3!
3 -4

56

59
6!
65
67

69
73

76
79

83

89

•

•

•

•

•

100

• • •

•

•

•

•

105

• • •

•

111

The Emergency Relief Appropiation Acts of 1935 and 1936 • •
Executive Orders • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Operating Procedures of the Works Progress Administration • • •

112

118

• •

123

PROGRAM FUNDS • •

RELIEF AND THE WORKS
APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

•

•

PROGRAM • • • •

•

Statutory Authority, Organization, and Procedures

Tables

• • • • •

• •

• • •

• •

• • •

113

•

The Works Program

•

'"

Review

With the twofold objective of giving
jobs to some 3.500.000 destitute. employable
persons and utilizing the efforts of these
people in adding to the country's wealth, the
Works Program was initiated during the summer
of 1935.
This report covers the different
aspects of the Programs
the jobs provided,
the work done, the organizational framework
established for the operation of the Program,
and the setting in which the Program was instituted.

Worlcas
At its employment peak, February 1936,
the Works Program provided jobs 'directly to
more than 3 1 800.000 people, more than 90 percent of whom were from relief rolls.
In excess of 3,000.000 of this number were at work
under the Works Progress Administration. the
balance being either enrolled in Emergency
Conservation Work (chiefly in the Civilian
Conservation Corps) or employed on projects
of cooperating Federal agencies including the
Public Works Administration and the Bureau of
Pub lie Roads.
Employment has decreased since February
1936 to about 3,400,000 persons at the end of
August due to curtailment of the Program in
response to improved conditions in private
industry and seasonal employment in agriculture. This decline has been effected chiefly
by restricting WPA employment, although there
has been a drop of 50,000 in the number of
CCC enrollees. The reduction has taken place
despite the provision of 135 1 000 emergency
jobs for drought-stricken farmers (mostly under the WPA) and a 200 1 000 increase in the
employment of Federal agencies other than the
WPA and the CCC.
As of the end of August
1936, the 3,400,000 total was composed of the
following 1 2,377,000 employed under the WPA,
386,000 employed under ECW, and 637,000 en•
gaged on Works Program projects of other Federal agencies.
Tbs youths

who have

benefited

either

through the student aid program of the National Youth Administration or through parttime work on projects of the National Youth
Administration are not included in employment
totals.
Since the turn of the year, these
youths have numbered as many as 400,000 under
the student aid program and between 175,000
and 200,000 at work on NYA projects.
Payment to persons employed on Works
Program jobs has, with certain exceptions,
been made in accordance with a monthly security earnings schedule based on a number of
relevant factors.
The schedule varies for
different sections of the country and is adjusted according to the skills of workers,
the density of population, and costs of living.
Under the established schedule, actual
average monthly earnings of security wage
workers employed on Works Progress Administration projects in March 1936 amounted to
approximately $46.
Work habits have been cultivated through
the jobs provided, a factor which makes employees better able to secure private employment and resume their normal place in the
communities where they live.
This is particularly true of the gre~t number of persons
whQse Works Program jobs either utilize old
skills or develop new ones.
The Program has
attempted to make available the proper kind
of jobs through diversification in the types
of work prosecuted.
Projccb

Considerably over 100,000 projects have
been completed
or are being
prosecuted
throughout the country.
Construction work
has been accorded major emphasis.
This includes building or repair of roads, renovation or construction of public buildings, exte~sion of public utility facilities. and
other improvements to public property (Federal, State, and local). State and local projects have been prosecuted under the WPA and
the NA, the latter through grants and loans

1

by which local and State authorities have
been enabled to undertake substantial construction jobs.
Schools predominate in PilA
projects. The wealth of projects operated by
the WPA constitute the major part of the
Works Program.
New construction and repair
and improvement projects, supplemented
by
white collar projects and projects for women,
have accomplished results of vital significance to the coI!Dllunities where they are prosecuted.
The accomplishments of the CCC,
chiefly in conservation, have likewise been
notable.
Projects for the improvement of
Federal property for the most part have been
carried on by the Federal agencies that normally have jurisdiction
in
the various
fields.
The work of the Forest Service in
the national forests illustrates this point.
When emergencies have developed, every
effort has been made to cope successfully
with them by use of Works Program facilit ies.
In the case of floods, preventive and protective measures have been taken, and where
damage has been done part of the task of reconstruction has been borne by the WPA. During the spring of 1936 emergency flood work
alone involved the transfer of tens of thousands of persons from regular. WPA projects to
emergency flood projects. With the advent of
the droue;ht in the summer of 1936 the WPA,
aided by other Federal agencies cooperating
in the Wor ks Program, provided employment for
drought-stricken farmers.
Jobs of this kind
totaled 135,000 at the end of August 1936 and
the numher was still increasing at that time.

fr1rncwork of the Works Pro9r1m
The Works Program, as inaugurated under
the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of
1935, coordinated the emergency activities of
the Federal a gencies undertaken to provide
security in the form of jobs for the destitute unemployed.
Cooperating in the Works
Program are many of the regular Federal agencies as well as several emergency agencies
which were in existence at the time when the
a-0t became effective (notably the
Public
Works Admi istration and the Civilian Conservation C0rps).
Upon the passage of the act
three new organizations were created by E:xeoutive order, namely, the Works Progress Administration, the Resettlement Administration, and the Rural Electrification Administration.
The Works

2

Progress

Administration

was

given responsibility for the coordinated operation of the entire Works Program.
This
responsibility included the making of regulations concerning eligibility for employmant,
the investigation of wages and working conditions to aid the President in his determination of policies pertaining thereto, and the
setting-up of a reporting system covering the
Works Program.
The WPA was also given responsibility for the review of projects submitted and the equalization of employment
provided under the Program in various commumties.
Tha latter
,ras
aooamplished
through the operation, in conjunction with
projects of other agencies, of a sufficient
number of projects to fill the work relief
requirements of the different communities.
The National Youth Adminis-tration was created
under the Works Progress Administration to
help the needy youth of the Nation either
through a student aid program or by providing part-time jobs on projects.
The Resettlement Administration was assigned the function of aiding the needy rural
population chiefly by making loans or grants
to farmers. This administration also has operated projects, including land utilization
and suburban housing, and has been instrumental in aiding a limited number of farm
families to move from submarginal lands.
The task of transferring persons f'rom
relief to Work& Program jobs was accomplished
with the aid of local relief agencies who
certified employable persons from
relief
rolls to the United states Employment Service.
This agency, in cooperation with the
WPA, assigned workers to Works Program jobs.
Disbursement, accounting, e.nd procurement
of materials and supplies for the Works Program have been carried on by the Treasury Department. The Works Program, as thus roughly
sketahed, encompasses the cooperative efforts
of 40 agencies.
Funds for the Works Program were provided by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Acts
of 1935 and 1936; i.mder the first an amoux:rb
not to exceed S4,880.000.000 was appropriated
and under the second, .$ 1,425,000 1 000.
The
President has lllll'de allocations of these funds
to the various agencies participating in the
Works Program, amounting, as of August 31,
1936, to $5,430,063,859.
Nearly one billion
dollars was allocated to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration for continuing
its relief aotivities until the new Works
Program was under way.
Allocations to the

WPA totaled a little over two billion dollars
while the CCC, the Bureau of Public Roads,
and the PWA. each have received approximately
one-half billion dollars.
Allooations to
other agencies have been made in smaller
amounts.
As of August 31, 1936, cheoks had
been issued to the amount of $3,940,351,932
against the total Works Program allocations.
Background of

the

Works Program

The genesis of a large scale and diversified work program is found in the relief
developments of the past several years. Outstanding among suoh developments was the
gradual widening of the area of governmental
responsibility for emergency relief aotivities whioh progressed, between 1929 and 1933,
from looal to State and finally to Federal
participation. Another important development
has been the trend toward work relief.
Some
comments upon these developments are neoessary to clarify the objectives and achievements of the Works Program.
Prior to the depression the relief problem centered primarily about the care of unemployables.
The increase in unemployment
which accompanied the business recession beginning in 1929 resulted in widespread demand
for relief of unemployment.
Despite the expansion of local relief and the inauguration
of State unemployment relief measures it was
recognized by the middle of 1932 that neither
State nor local governmental bodies could
cope with the growing relief problem. Federal assumption of part of the relief burden
came in 1932 with provision of $300.000,000

for loans to States and municipalities to be
used for emergency relief.
In May 1933 the
Federal Government expanded its relief activities by creating the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and authorizing grants to
States for relief purposes.
This step was
necessitated by the magnitude of the relief
problem which, as indicated by relief loads,
involved the oare in March 1933 of nearly
5 1 000 1 000 families and single persons, or a
total of 20,500 1 000 persons including dependents.
Subsequent Federal. aid has been provided under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. the CiTil Works Administration,
and the Works Program.
The FERA at the outset accepted as a
desirable objective the extension of the work
relief movement that was already 1mder way in
many communities as a part of early State and
looal relief activities.
In oonsequence,
State emergency relief administration work
programs, financed largely by FERA grants,
were developed.
These programs recognized
the principles that work relief should be
sufficiently diversified to afford jobs suited to the workers' previous experience and
that relief projects should be genuinely useful to the community.
The operations of the
CWA in the winter ~onths of 1933-34 gave further impetus to a work program.
Employment
during thia period was allo provided under
the CCC and the PKA. HaTing these preoedmta,
the Worke Program was inaugurated in 1936.
With the inception of this program the Federal Government announced its intention of witndrawing fl-om the field of direot relief and
oonoentrating its energies on the problem of
providing work.

Projects of the Works Progress Administration

Certain fundamental factors have governed the selection of projects prosecuted
under the WPA. One primary consideration has
been to create jobs sufficiently diverse to
fit the varied abilities of from two to three
million employable persons in need of relief.
This required selection of projects in the
various communities which were adapted, as
far as possible, to the occupational training
Another factor was
of available la.borer s.
the necessity of using the available manpower on projects genuinely benefiting the
In
co11DUunities where they were sponsored.
some cases the work 1-s taken the form of constructing permanent buildings and other facilstructures
ities or reconditioning existing
and equipment. Although this work was highly
desirable, it could not have been performed
without the aid extended by the WPA. In other
oases projects have provided cultural opportunities to a large number of needy citizens.
Since practically all WPA projects are proposed and sponsored by local authorities, the
WPA undertakings serve both the needs and desires of the coJ1D11unities where they are operated.

ly skilled or technical labor to any oonsidable extent received little emphasis under
Most of the projects sethe WPA program.
lected for operation were necessarily of the
types which provide employment for large
numbers of unskilled workers. For this group
certain types of highway, road, and street
projects, conservation, public utility, sanitation and health, and recreational projects have been found suitable.

Since a large majority of all employable
workers on relief rolls are unskilled laborers, projects requiring the services of high-

Another group was composed of approximately half a million women who are heads of
With the exception of
relief families.

ltlmm

or

Although not nearly so numerous as the
unskilled group, a large number of skilled
and semiskilled workers were certified by
local relief agencies as eligible for emEmployployment under the Works Program.
by
provided
been
ment for these workers has
many of the types of projects listed above,
and more particularly by public buildings
projects.
Professional and technical persons composed another group of unemployed persons in
It is primarily for these
need of relief.
persons that white collar projects have been
instituted.

PlllSOIS JMPWD:D, BCDS, .&Bl> bRRlBG8

(If

WP.A. JIRODL'TS, Br

nn:s or

JIIIDJJL'ft

Saa!monthl.y Perlo4 ED41ng .&.,cut 15, 1936
(Subject to Rnidon)
Type of ProJeot
TOrJL

BiOw,ya, row, a4 atreeta
Pllbllo lnd.141qa

Pub u4 otlaer NOrNtioal faoll1tiea
Couenation

s_.

~

aD11

n11ar aWtt••

Airpffta ua4 "bar tnu,ortatioa

Wbite ool.lat"

Gooc18
SUlta.tln ..a mal.tlk
Mlaoell .-.... I/

v Iaol.111.. wan: cup.
4

Penou 'l3oYe4
ai-oeii
m
'-'--~™

2,282,654

100.0

817,836
219,211
233,973

35.8
9.6

96,201

191,V19
52,366
241.,0Pl.
290,777
69,883

69,337

10.3
<11.2
S.4

2.3
10.6
12.,
3.1
3.0

117,854,694

100.0

4.095,9'71

3<11.P

10,220,m
11,600,150
4»818,292
9,712,986
2,741,280

14,129, 515
16,212,().42
3,5'30,595
3,793,4Jl

S.7

9.8
4.1
a.2
2.3
12.0
13.8
3.0
s.2

~!fe

M#mt#iit
$59,6'e,157 100.0

18,732,282
6,430,163
6,660,889

2,386,217
5,050,267
1,418,728
9,119,760
6,565,550

1,518,04()
1,766.261

3le4
10.e
11.2
4.0
8.5
2.4
15.3
11.0
2.5
2.9

PIROIBUGZ DISTRIBU'l'ION or nm.otMl:NT, uom.s., .&lfD .r.&RHmGS
OR 1'P.l C(lfS1'ROOUON J.ND BON~S•.rRUc-rIUlf PROJJX:'TS

stllllan!tll,- Pllrlocl
(SUJeo~

'?ne •f

b41n, .l-qttat 15, 19'!6

v

Re-di.ion)

'".l!o'.!

'MW,

C'OHSTROCfION

Bew ConaV110tion
Hlfhw.Ta, road.a, an4 atneta
P1abllo buildinga
. , . . ~ an4 othsr utilitiea
s
other DAnr oonatraotion
Repain an4 '.Di44vtWA'h
roacla, &114 atreeta

n~,..,

hbllo nlld1ug11
and other utiliUea
Sner
othft- repair• ud improTwnta

.,..t_

N~IONI/

I/

,.., ..., .....t Bolll'S
100.0

100.0

72.0

69.3

so.,

2t.1

..,:1ne
l:

•

69o2
2806

..,

-m:o

-r.,

~

3.9

3.9

9.7

6.2
t.3

4.4
6.4

41..5

..0.2

10.2
C).6

l6.o

1!::i

'53'

4.9
2.1
8.5

4.6

6.6

2.0

e.z

2.2

28.0

,0.7

8.5

so.a

1936. Eighty-six percent of the
sp~nsors' funds are being spent for
materials-, ~upplies, altd equipment,
and other non-labor costs. Federal
funds are used predominantly ( 7 8
percent) for meeting payrolls. Out
of each $100 made available for WPA
projeots $36 goes for the repair
and construction of highway~ roads,
and streets, $13 for improvement to
parks and other recreational facilities, and $12 for work on public
buildings. Funds for sewer. systems
and other utilities projects, white
collar projects, and goods projects
accounted for $10, $9, and $8, reSmaller
spectively, of the $100.
amounts are being expended for conservation, sanitation and health,
and airport and other transportation projects.

rnolwiea wbite oollu- projeota, goocla projeota, foreat.tion,
health, 41.a~bution of 1-,,J.u OOIID041'1"•

.,.an1tau~ ...

women suited to employment on ,mite oollar
projects, their abilities were not such as
could be utilized to any considerable extent
on the types of projects mentioned above.
Consequently goods projects (for the most part
sewing projects) were initiated for these
workers.
Individual projects of each type included under the WPA program were selected not
only on the basis of their suitability for
providing the proper types of jobs but also
in view of other carefully considered factors.
These factors include the proximity of the
project site to the supply of relief labo~,
the proportion of total costs that sponso~s
were willing to assume, and the proportion or
Federal funds to be expended directly for
wages of persons in need of relief.
There was need also to make certain that
the work involved did not di splaoe regular
employees of local govermnental bodies, that
engineering plans for all oonstruction projects were sound, and that the work on all
projects in each community "Was ao scheduled
as to insure operation of a suffi•iently diverse work program at ,lll seasons of the year.
Local project sponsors and the Federal
Govermnent have provided funds jointly for
Sponsors
the operation of WPA projects.
pledged more than 18 percent of the estimated
cost of projeota selected through April 15 •

The emphasis that is being
placed upon the various types of
projects is indicated by the distributions of employment, hours worked, and earning~ &n WPA projects during the first half of
Au-gust 1936. Highway, road, and street projects account for about a third of the WPA program. A'pproximately 10 percent of total WPA
activity takes place on each of five types of
projects, i.e., public buildings, sewer systems and other utilities, recreational facilities, white oollar projects, and goods projects. The remaining types are substantially
less important.
The majority of the projects operated
under the WPA are of the oonstruotion type
which provided about 70 percent of total WPA
employment during the first half of August.
New oonstruetion acoounted for somewhat less
than half, and the remainder oonsisted of reHighway, road,
pair and improvement work.
and street work predominated among the construction projects, as indicated in the acnon-ooastruo ti on
The
compaJJying table.

ALL WPA PROJECTS
Wages & Salaries

Materials Etc.

WPA
Funds
Sponsors'

Funds

331.

671.

WATER FILTERS

,.

MOSQUITO ERADICATION

CLERICAL WORK

At Work on

HOT LUNCHES FOR
SCHOOL CHILDREN

CHEMICAL RES EA RCH

SEWING PROJECT

STADIUM CONSTRUCTION

FARM -TO -MARKET ROAD

WPA Projects

PUBLIC
BUILDINGS

NEW SIDEWALKS

FLOOD CONTROL

group consists for
the most part of
white collar, forestation, sanitation and health ,
and women's proj ects.

DISTRIBUTI ON OF HOURS WORKED ON WPA PROJECTS
By Types of Projects *

October 1935 to August 1936
POICltNT

PERCENT

100 - - - - - -~

90 -

~~~~

--:rr,.,.~~~---c7..,..,..,.-,---,.,.-:-:--;------:-,.:-:-:----,-,.,.,..,.-""'""'"'-c-c--

... ...

GOODS-MISCCLLAN[OUS--

· --:-:-:-:-: _;;:: ::::::::_

- -100

::::::::::: --:-:-:-:-:~ 90

SANrTATION & HEALTW-

80 -

AIRPORTS & OTN[~
TRANSPORTATION

80

The a ccompanyOTHDI
PARKS
70 AIECRUTIONAUing chart shows how
FACILITICS
the hour s worked
on differ ent t y pes
of WPA projects
SO dist r ibuted
were
40 during the period
: :::::::::-·::=: :::::: : : ::::::-::::::::::::~::::::::::--:[:::::::::~40
from October 1935
30 30
to August 15, 1936.
Not until December
20 20
1935 had the pr o10
10gram expanded to
in
quota levels
0
0-----JUN[
AUG
......
JULY
.....
occ
many states and,
1936
1935
as a result, the
In
credited
houn
of
number
small
relatively
a
Include
Hours
*
early distribution
addition to hours actually wortc.ed during the period.
among
of hours
di f ferent kinda of
highly skilled or technical workers were emprojects was influenced by the types of projWPA workers have
ployed on the projects.
ects given particular emphasis in those areas
during the operahour
per
cents
44
avera ~ed
where t 4e WPA program first got under way.
hourly earnhigher
The
tion o f the program.
One of these areas was New York City, where
on public
and
ing on whit e collar projects
park work has always occupied a leading posibuildin6 s projects (averaging 60 cents and
tio~, hence the early stress on this work in
55 cents, respect ively) may be attributed to
Another factor tendt he country's average.
the fact that large proportions of persons
ing to make early operations of the WPA proemployed on these types of work were skilled,
gram somewhat different from those of later
technical and professional workers and to the
months was the comparative ease vrith which
concentration of these projects in urban cencertain types of projects could be started.
t ers where higher rat es are paid.
Work which required less extensive planning,
and the use of a relatively small amount of
equipment and materials, could be initiated
.l'VEIUGE HOURLY J'.ARNINGS ON WP.l PRonx:TS,
BY T'YPl:S or PROJ'Jt'TS y
Thus, after the drive to provide
promptly.
highon
employment
\'IPA jobs during November,
October l, 1935 to .lU,.t 15, 1936
way , road, and street projects represented a
(SuJec,t to Rrrieion)
greater share of the total WPA program than
Affr'&te
during subsequent months.
&

:

:.:.:::P-1-1- . . .
I I I I
. ·1
I I I I I I
I :I I I ... I I

OCT

NOY

White collar, goods, and publ i c buildin importance
ings projects have increased
since the early months of the program. These
increases have come about mainly as offsets
to the e nrly over-emphasis accorded highway,
road, and street projects and conse rvat ion
work.

8

APA

....

Hourly

Type of Projeot

Earning■

(cent■ l

Higlnaya, roa.41, an4

Publlo

■ tNet■

39.2
55.3

bui14ing■

Pu-a u4 o ~ NCD"a.tional

faoilitie■

Con■ enatiOll

Sewer

■y■ teaa &D4 othar utiliUe■

ilrport■

Average hourly earnings of persons empl oyed on WPA projects varied among the t ypes
of proje cts according to their concentration
i n regi ons of high or low prevailing wage
r at es and according to the extent to whi ch

I I II II
I I I

-----I

an4 otber

tran■ portation

White ooll&r
Gooda

Sanitation and health
Mi ■oellauou

!/ boluahe

of 'llm"k camp■•

51.1
41.6
"'5.4
-16.7
60.2

36.4
36.2
4().5

WPA Highway,

Road and Street Projects

The most important among
the various activities carried out under t~e WPA program is the work being done
to
improve
the co\llltry•s
thoroughfares.
Projects of
this kind, while improving
transportation facilities in all parts of the
country, also serve particularly well in providing suitable jobs for a large number of
persons in need of relief.
Not only because
of their universality and their capacity to
use available relief labor, but also because
of constant demands from the public for improving and extending highways, roads, and
1treets, these proj ects have been stressed to
the extent that they account for well over a
third of the total WPA progr811l. In giving
e,cpression to popular demands, local public
a.dsninistrative bodies entrusted 'with road and
atreet work have sponsored a wealth of projects that are intended to serve local needs.
The projects chosen for operation from this
group are for work on both primary and secondary roads, on streets, alleys, and sidewalks,
and on roadside improvements , bridges end vi•
aducts.

ed by many local governmental bodies because
of inadequate funds.
Roads were of'ten in
poor condition, streets had become rutted and
,rorn, and many bridges were in serious need
of repair.
Through failure to remove sharp
curves and dangerous grade crossings, the
public was subjected to inconvenience and
danger.
Work to alleviate these conditions,
begun under the CWA and carried on under the
FERA, is being continued under the Works fro&ress Administration.
Roadc and streets are
being drained and resurfaced and new macadam
or bituminous surfaced streets are being constructed in sections hitherto served only by
dirt roads.
Markets are being made more accessible to farmers and other rural citizens
through
improvements to secondary roads.
Brush, fallen rook, and earth are being removed from roadsides.
Sidewalks and curbs
are being constructed and bridges and via•
ducts are being reconstructed or replaced by
safe modern 1tructure1.
To a limited extent
grade crossings are being eliminated through
relocation of roads or construction of underpasses or overpasses.

The need for the WPA highway, road, and
street program is in no small measure due to
the fact that during the early years of th$
depression these facilities had been neglect-

The farm-to-market road aspect of tho
program, which comprises about a third of all
the road and etreet work undertaken, involv~s
a variety of improvements to the dirt roads

Ki11ds

of Projects

lllOBWAY
IKPROVDEHT

distribution, as in
the
case of a projBy Counties June 30, 1936
ect in Florida. A
minor portion
of
the secondary road
work is being performed
on gravel
and macadam roads.
In all cases the
activity
is concerned with conditioning and reconditioning roads for
motor travel. Heretofore, automobiles
and
trucks
have
been of
limited
value to farmers in
many localities because the modern,
Counties In which operation of one or more
low-slung motor ve•
STREET & ALLEY prolKto
has bNn unclertak.n
hicle
cannot
be
driven successfully
of the country.
Sometimes this road work
over soft or deeply rutted roads.
consi st s merely in fillin g in hollows which
do not interfere vn.th travel under normal
Street improvement projects account for
about a fourth of the funds being spent on
condit i ons but render roads impassable in
t he entire highway, road, and street program.
rainy weather. In other instances projects
call for grading and leveling to remove ruts
Such projects include the widenine; of streets
and low places and insure better drainage.
to relieve traffic congestion and provide
In this connection, drainage ditches freadded parking space, the removal of abandoned
quently must be dug.
Dangerous curves have
streetcar tracks, and the replacement of
been removed from· IllNlY roads by WPA projects
rough cobblestone paving with even-surfaced
involving excavation and haulin g of earth and
concrete and asphalt. In extending the benestone to other sections of roads which need
fits of paved streets to new or neglected
neighborhoods, the WPA is cooperating with
filling in.
Of'ten r~ad beds are elevated to
sponsoring municipal departments whose reguimprove drainage and raise the level sufficiently to keep the road free from snow in
lar function is to ple.n and carry out these
winter.
On some projects gravel or macadam
improvements.
As a general rule the work is
is added to the surface, while on others the
being coordinated with the activities of
dirt surface is retained but put in
good
o~her city deofl..rtments.
Before a street is
condit ion .
WPA

STREET

PROJECTS

Frequently , excellent materials to provide a hard surface are found near at hand.
On roads being improved near the seacoast,
for example, shells and marl are used. On
inland roa1s, rocks available from nearby
farms are broken up with sledge hamners,
hauled away, and run through crushers to provide cr uP~e d stone for road surfaces.
Workers on some project s are also removing hedges
from rights-01·-way and building fences along
the most dangerous banks.

In some instances the secondary roads
from mines (rather than farms) to mar•
kets, as in certain sections of West Virginia,
or from coastal fishing waters to centers of
lead

lO

.ASPHAI.f SURFACDIO

resurfaced or a new pavement laid, all necessary sanitary and storm sewers a.re put in ~
that the new surface will not have t o be torn
up later. Wherever possible, materials
are
salvaged when streets are torn up to make way
fryr new boulevards. Old concrete pavement is
frequently broken up and used in foundatioM
for macadam surfaces.
Improvement of alleys
in urban residential areas by WPA workers ii
rendering garages more accessible, facilitating deliveries of merchandise, and insuring
more sanitary drainage.

1Iomta .&1ID IAUDICS OJr wP.1 HI<JIUT, ROAD
JJm S'l'RJ:llr PROJ'IL"l'S

J:mlwlln, .14miniatrat1 ff :Dapl.O)'oe1

Ootober 1935 b

3'a:q 1936

(SOJoot to am11oa)

.lwnf;
Ro'IJI'
Monih
TO'llL

~--

Hours
!Thouaancl•l

larnillg1

11t.rn1.ng1

(!houaancla) (Cents)

976,684

$380,1A6

38.9

26,862

38.0
37.7
37.3

1935

Employment and E•nings

For four months last winter more than
11 000,000 men were employed by the WPA on
highway, road, and street projects. About a
third of these worked on fann-to-me..rket roads
and a firth on streets and alleys.
Subsequently employment fell off, with the result
that in July about 776,000 persons were at
work on the combined group of projects,
and roughly the same proportion applied to
the distribution of workers among the different types of projects as ~xisted during the
winter.
During the first half of August the
number increased to nearly 818,000 persons
s ince a large proportion of the emergency
dr ou 6ht cases were furnished employment on
road pro j ects.
The State having the largest number of
WPA workers on highway, road, and street

proj ects during the first half of August was
Pennsylvania, with approximately
143,000.
Nearly 67,000 were employed in Ohio, a little
over 67 1 000 in Illinois, almoat S3,000 in
Michigan, about 31,000 in New York City, and
30,000 in Indiana. With respect to the vari-

NoTelber

61,157

10,208
23,037

DeoSllbG'

116,653

43,1560

1936
January

130,364

48,313
49,033

!7.1.

49,684
42,806

38.6
39.2
40.6
-41.0

February
Mt.l"Qh
April

130,948

June

128,617
109,321
97,172
91,242

Juq

84,348

way,

39,422
37,433
36,6e0

37.4

43.5

ous State WPA programs as a whole, North Dakota and West Virginia were employing the
largest percentage of their workers on highway, road, and street projects. North Dakota's total represented nearly 70 percent of
its aggregate employment>and West Virginia•~
approximately two-thirds.
other States employing more than half of their workers on
the road and street program werea
Kentucky,
Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Maine, and Arkansas.
Farm-to-market road projects were
being stressed in Arkansas , Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia, all of which gave employment to more
than a third of their workers on this type of
project a, oompared to 12 percent in the
oountry as a whole.
Street and alley projeots were emphasized particularly in Conneoticut, Maryland, and Michigan, which were employing 13.4 peroent, 20.6 peroent, and 16.l
peroent, respectively, of their workers on
street construction and repair work while the
number of persons employed on that type of
project throughout the oountry represented
7.6 percent of all WPA employees.
Average hourly earnings on highway.
road, and street projects ranged from a low
rate of 37 cents during December, January,
and February to a high of 45•6 oents in the
first half of August (see above table and the
table on page 134). The trend has been steadily upward for every month in the present year.
On secondary road projects earnings were lowest, averaging from 30 to 39 cents per hour.
while on street and alley work the rate in-

11

creased fr om 41 cents in December 1935 t o
Workers on
nearly 50 cents in August 1936.
grade-crossing elimination, who repre sented a
very minor portion of the employees on highway, road, and stree t projects, received the
highest hourly pay, avera ging 57.4 cents per
ho ur during the first half of August.
The total e stimated cost of highway,
road, and street projec ts selected for operation in the United States through April 15

Highways Roads & Streets
Wages & Salaries

Materials Etc.

WPA
Funds
Sponsors'

Funds

37Z

631.

was a little over $528,500,000, or 36 percent
of the estimated cost of all WPA proje ct s.
Farm-to-market roads accounted for 32 per~en t
of this tota l; streets and alleys f or 27 per~ent ; roadside i mprovement for ll percent;
sidewalks, curbs, and r~ths for 3 percent;

bridges aI,d viaducts for 3 percent; highways
for 2 percent; grade-crossing elimination for
less than 1 percent; and projects classifiable under more than one of the above headSponsors' funds comings for 22 .percent.
total estimated cost
the
of
percent
22
ised
pr
Sixty-three percent
undertaken.
of the work
was to be expended
sources
of funds from all
ab or and 37 percent for other costs,
for
About 71 pe rcent of the estimated total cost
re present ed re pair s and improvements, and 29
pe r cent re presented new construction.
Expendi ture s for materials, supplies,
and equi pment for use on highway, road, and
s t r eet proj e cts amo unted to about ~\ 71,000,000
apt hro ugh August 1936 . This repres ented
proximate ly one-third of the amount expended
for this purpose on all WPA projects from
both Federa l and sponsors' funds,

In addition to the road and street work
being carried on by the WPA, projects of a
similar nature are be i ng prosecuted throughout the United States and its Territories by
such Federal agencies as the Bureau of Public
Roads, the National Park Service, and the CiThese activities
vilian Conservation Cor ps .
are de s cribed in an ensuing section of t his
r eport.

Public Buildings Projects of the WPA

Of all industrief in the
United States , the building
industry was probab ly most
severely hit by the depresover
Consequently,
sion.
and semi400,000 skilled
skilled workers in the buildfound on relief rolls at
were
ing industry
These inthe beginning of the WPA program.
carbricklayers,
as
cluded such persons
electricians,
penters, cement finishers,
painters, plumbers, truck drivers, and sheet
To provide employment for
metal workers.
this group, an e xtensive program of repairs
and construction of public buildings was inIn addition to misaugurated by the WPA.
cellaneous repairs, painting, and renovating,

12

this program includes more extensive activities s uch as improvements to electrical v.riring systems, elimination of fire hazards,
modernization of water, heating, and sanitation systems, constr uction of schoolhouses,
and additions to existing structures.
administrative
In some communities,
b uildings s uch as the city hall, the courthouse, or the firehouse were in urgent need
of repair, modernization, or replacement. In
one city the number of tubercular patients
requiring care necessitated construction of a
sanitarium for their proper treatment; in
still another the library had grown too small
for the demands placed upon it. School facilities were in s ome instances inadequate for

the increased enrollment.
The erection of
oommunity centers with social and recreational facilities also was reco gnized as a means
of integrating community life and of providing socially desirable activiti es f or y OUIJ?,

sohool only part time or were housed in tempo rary str uctures and condemned buildings beoause of i nadequate faciliti es.
To provide
accommodat ions f or such pupils, as well as to
improve existing equi pnent , extensive school
WPA EDUCATIONAL BUILDINGS PROJECTS
building operations
were undertaken by
By Counties
June 30, 1936
the WPA in every
Stat e of the Union,
both in urban centers and in
rural
areas.

----

C--.. Ill wllidt ooeratlon of

■ EDUCATIONAL BUILDINGS

OfM Of'

more

projodo

people.
other pr ojects involve the i mprovement of grounds on which public buildings are
located.
Of the several types of public building
work, projects f or the repair and construction of schools have been most frequently requested because of the continual increases in
enrollment an d t he deterioration of existing
school facilities.
It has been estimated
that in 1932 about 2,700,000 pupils attended

Illustrating
one kind of work
being carried
on
under this phase of
the publ ic buildings pr ogram is the
const r uction of a
two-st ory
modern
"little r ed schoolhouse II i n t he eastern part of Maryland to repl ac e a
dilapidated wooden
structure built i n
1876 and long considered unsafe. For 10 years the local comity board of education had sought uns uccessfully to obtain the funds needed to remedy
this situation.

-··~---~- ....

To keep the costs of the school buildings at a minimum the materials used in construction are manufactured, wherever poss i ble, by the WPA workers themselves. In a few
cases bricks were made, but more of'ten native
stone or logs out from adjacent 190odlands
are used as the basic construction material .
In one instance in eastern Colorado material
ca.me from a quarry located nearby from which
chalk-white stone oould readily be out with a
power saw.
Special types of improvements to schools
include the installation of new blackboards,
modern electrical fire alarm systems, refinishing desks and furniture, and covering dilapidated walls with fabricated wallboard.
As a result of these and other major structural improvements. the life and usefulness
of buildings have been prolonged. Modernization of some old buildings and replacement of
others. in addition to providing work for the
lQoal unemployed, have resulted in r aising
educational standards.

WPA GYMNASIUM

In addition

to

grade

and

secondary

schools, the educational buildings program is
improving the physical equipment of schools
for the blind and deaf, as well as of public
colleges, universities, and museums .

Particular emphasis has been placed on
the school buildings program in New Mexico
where nearly 15 percent of the total employment is provided on educational bui ldings as
compared with 3 percent for the
country as a whole. In Kentucky and
Maryland approximately 8 percent of
the workers were employed on educational buildings.

Hours and Earnings

Employment

During the semimonthly period
ending August 15, repairs and construction work on public buildi~gs
10.000.000 man-hours of
provided
employment, of which almost a third
were utilized on educational buildings• About a sixth of the total employment
was devoted to work on social and recreatione.l buildings, over an eighth ix> improvement of
grounds around buildings. and work on administrativ.e buildings accounted for approxiMost of the remainder was
mately a tenth.
spent on oh.aritable, medical, and mental institutions, Federal buildings, and housing
projects.

Work on public buildings has provided
between 7 percent and 10 percent of the employment on all WPA projects since the incepof
The number
tion of the Works Program.
intype
this
of
projects
on
persons employed
creased rapidly during the autumn months of
1935 until almost 200.000 were at work in December. After reaching a peak of nearly
Earnings of WPA workers on all types of
250.000 workers in March 1936, employment debuildings averaged about 63 oents an
publio
The 219,000 workers emolined gradually.
hour during the half month, or 12 cents more
ployed on public buildings projects during
than the average for all WPA projects. This
the first half of August represented 10 perD!P1,0m:NT AHD HOURLY ~GS ON WPJ. PUBLIC BUIU>IROS
cent of all WPA workers.
PROJlrl'S, BY 'l'YPJ:S

or

BUILDINGS

The relative importance of
Zmluding .Aanim.1tratiff 11Dployeo1
work on public buildings in the
Seawnonthly Period lnding J.uguat 151 1936
various State WPA programs has
Although
varied oonsiderably.
(Subject to Re'rls1on}
the number of persons employed on
l'ftftge
building projects during the SEl!liHourly
Bm.liiat
of
Type
monthly period ending August 15
P.-1ou
R•Gi eroeii\ (Cata
represented about 10 percent of
28
as
all WPA workers, as muoh
TO'UL
219,2ll 100.0
62.9
peroent of the employment under
11.0
~1tratiT11
24,076
71.4
New York's WPA program was providChari table• 11111dioal, and
Nearly a
ed on suoh projects.
8.3
mental inst1tutiona
76.0
18•240
6:,.7
32.6
J:d:aoational
71,461
fourth of the workers in New Mexi34,498
15.7
Social and reoreat1onal
57.6
co and 19 percent in Arizona were
J'ederal GoTen111ent ( 1.nemployed on this type of project,
e.1
oluding military and :naff.l)
17,700
63.6
Impronment of ground,
13.3
29,208
48.5
while approximately 16 percent of
Houa:l.q
8,730
4.0
61.8
the workers in Louisiana, .Maryother y
1.0
15,298
69.3
land, Florida, South Carolina• and
At the
uta.h were so occupied.
!/ Iaol.udea projGOta olauitiable under more than oae of the
other extreme, public buildings
h-aiags above.
projects in Oregon and Maine furnished work for less than 3 percent of all
higher wage rate is due principally to the
large proportion of skilled and teohnioal la•
pereons employed on the WPA program in those
States.
bor used on public buildings projeots and the

!J!!c>r" lanli:f•

relativaly high wages prevailing in the con..
struction industry.
Awrage hourly earnings
varied on the different types of buildings
according to the proportion of highly trained
workers employed, and the concentration of
the projects in regions of high or low prevailing we.ge rates. The highest average we.ge,
76 cents per hour, was paid to workers on
buildings for charitable, medical, and mental
institutions, while the workers receiving the
lonst average earnings were those employed
on improT9118nt of grounds around publ i c
buildings.

buildings progrUl.
Sponsors ot these proj•
ects agreed to supply almost 28 peroent of
the required oosts.
A like proportion was
provided by sponsors of buildings tor social
and recreational purposes which, froa a cost
standpoint, comprise about 16 percent of that
of all public buildings.
Administrative
buildings and those for ohari table, medioal,
and
ntal inati tutions are the only other
types that represented more than 10 percent
of the cost ot all public buildings.
Sponsors' funds on all these types averaged nearly 23 peroent.

The estimated cost of the 13,325 lfPA
public buildings projects seleoted for operation as of April 16 amounted to nearly $168,000,000 (roughly 12 percent of the total val-

The publio buildings program not only
provides direot employment but also makes a
substantial oontribution to general industrial reoovery because of the large quantities ot building materials used.
Industries
partioularly benefited are those manufaoturing lumber, bricks, cement, tile, oonorete,
and heating, plumbing, and electrioal equipment. Through August 1936 expenditures for
materials, supplies, and equipment used on
buildings projeots 8lll0unted to nearly $41,000,000, of whioh 68.3 percent oame from Federal and 41.7 peroent from sponaors' funds.
These expenditures represen~d 19 peroent of
total WPA purohases of :ma.terials, supplies,
and equipment.

p u I, I i C
Materials Etc.

;JWPA

Builcl

•
In

9 S

W... &Salaries

Funcll

Sponsors'
Funds

371.

631.

ue of all WPA projeots), or an average oost
per projeot of $12,680. Repair work, amounting to approximately $95,000,000, constituted
57 peroent of the estimated oost.
More than 6,000 of the projects seleoted
were for eduoational buildings, estimated to
cost approximately $60,000,000, or in exoess
of one-third of the oost of the entire publio

Public building acti Ti ties with Works
Program funds have been conducted by a number
of other Federal agencies during the past
year.
These include construction and improvement of public buildings (particularly
school buildings) and housing projects. Detailed discussions of the Works Program operations of these agencies appear in a subsequent section.

A Rn BRICX SCHOOL REPLACBS TBB OLD

l&

WPA Sewer System and Other Utility Projects

past year
During the
~ommunities in all parts of
the country have been enabled
by emergency relief funds to
improve their sewer systems
and other public utilities
and at the same time work has
been provided for the unemployed. Activity
of the WPA in the public utility field has
made possible the correction and replacement
of faulty systems in urban areas and has enabled townships and rural communities to modernize their f acilities. Serious health menaces have been eliminated through some of the
projects; through others, a more ample water
supply for fire protection has been assured
in localities where it has been inadequate.
Hundreds of dollars have been saved taxpayers
through the discovery and repair of leaks in
the main water lines.

to

prevent

the

fl ooding

of

Public utility projects constitute about
a tenth of the entire WPA program. They consist of construotion and improvement of water
purification and supply systems, sewer systems, and electric power generation and distribut1 on facilities.

The replaoement of a 67-year-old sewer
in the center of the business s ection of
Ut ica, New Yo r~, is one of the types of sewer
Since the insystem work done by the WPA.
stallation of the original system in 1869,
many buildings hav~ been erected in the vicinity with their cellars below the l evel of
the old pipe line, necessitating r epl acement
of the line at twice the original depth.
Plans calle , or six weeks' operation, but in
order not to hinder business undul y it was
decided to prosecute the project continuo usly
in three 8-hour shifts by the use o f flares
and electric lights. This procedur~ r es ul t ed
in less than a week's delay to t raff ic in
Six fe et below the
that congested section.
surface. platforms were erected on which to
load dirt temporarily before bringing it to
Pipes were placed, manthe street ~evel.
holes were constructed so that lat era l outlets could be connected, and the trench was
backfi lled carefully in order that the top
dressing could be spread with minimum delay.
The project was completed at a cost o f $3,986,

CONSTRUCTION OF A SEWERAGE DISPOSAL PLANT

FOUNDATION FOR A RESERVOIR

Sewer Systems
Construction and repair of sewer systems
represent about two-thirds of the cost of all
Work on sewer
WPA public util ity projects.
rectificaleaks,
of
systems includes repair
of
clearance
tion of i.rr,proper drainage,
sewer
of
ditches and sto:n:i sewers, extension
lines, installation of manholes t o allow for
more efficient f lushing, and construction of

16

storm sewers
streets.

several hundred dollars less than
estimated.

or iginally

Water Systems
Projects involving construct ion and improvement of water purification and supply
systems represent nearly a fourth of the total estimated oost of WPA public ut ility
projects. The scope of these project s var ie s

from the extension of existing systems to the
design and construction of complete new systems with pipe lines, pumping stations, end
reservoirs.
One small township in West Virginia was
recently faced with the problem of obtaining
a new source of water supply.
A mining company a short distance away had provided water
for the town for many years at the high average rate of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons.
Water
scarcity caused by drought resulted in the
mine's refusal to renew the water contract.
Consequently the town arranged to obtain a
plentiful supply at a nuch lower price from a
neighboring oity which has a large water
plant and a good water supply. Ple.ns are now
under way for the laying of 19,500 feet of 3inoh water mains to connect the town with the
new source of supply.
The townspeople have
raised the fl,850 required in addition to the
$12,547 which the WPA will expend on the
project. Completion of this project will result in a permanent supply of good water and
a large saving on water bills.

work as gas development.
About 6 peroent of
the total estiJ'llated cost of all public utility projects is to be expended on this group.
Employment and Earnings

Although some public utility projects
had been started by the end of August 1936,
this phase of the program did not get well
under way until November.
The peak in employment, totaling about 274,000 persons, was
reached in the early spring of 1936 and has
been followed by a gradual decline.
During
the two weeks ending August 16, approximately
192,000 persons were working on WPA public
utility projects.
Persons working on sewer
systems aooounted for 72 percent of this total; those employed on water purification and
supply systems constituted 21 percent. Electric utility project employees accounted for
only 2 percent and the miscellaneous group
for about 6 percent of this employment.

The 192,000 persons employed on public
utility projects during the first half of
August 1936 represented approximately 8 perOther Utility Projects
cent of the workers on all WPA projects.
Projects of this type were operating in every
Electr~fication projects, representing
State of the Union but their relative impornot quite 2 percent of the total estimated
tance in the various State WPA programs vaoost of all WPA public utility projects, inried ~onsiderably.
In six States - Georgia,
.Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York (exclusive of
DifPLODo1lm .ill> HOORLY J'.AR~ ON 'WPJ. S!WER SYSTIM
.&HD O'tHm U'.rn.?r'Y JROJJX,"TS, JJ'l TYPES or PROJIX:'l'S
New York City), and Rhode Island
- and in the District of ColwnJ:IDW!Dg .lalninratiTe lblployHa
bia, suoh projects constituted
Smdll»n~ Perio4 Ja41ng .A,agut 151 1936
a much greater portion of the
program than in the country as a
(SubJec,t to Rnbion}
whole, more than 16 peroent of
.ATC1r&ge
the workers being employed on
Hour~
Type ot ProJeol
utility projects
in
eaoh of
Peraou
HIDHr
ero
these States.
In eight other
States - Arizona, Arkansas, Mia!O!&J.
l91,979 100.0
!52.0
siss i ppi, Nevada, New Mexico,
1'ater parifleatioa m4 npp~
21.2
4'0,667
51.9
North
Dakota, Oregon, and Ten..._. .,..tau
138,305
12.1
!52.0
nessee - however, the construcEl.eotrio flilltiea
4,215
z.1
57.2
OtbHY
8,792
tion and improvement of ~ublio
-48.9
•.e
utilities
received relatively
little emphasis, employment of
If bobllea JIID.teol• ola■ ai.t1ab1e Ull4er- more than OM of the
h~••w•
this type amounting to less than
3 percent of the State total.
volve the construction of generating plants
or the ereotion of transmission and distribuA total of $6,060,000 was paid to lfPA
tion lines.
public utility employees for 9,713,000 hours
of 1'0rk during the aemunonthly period ending
Miscellaneous utility projects are ma.de
August 16, resulting in an average hourly
up of combinations of the three ma.in types,
wage rate of 62 cents ae compared to 60.6
but also include isolated instances of
suoh
cents for all WPA workers.
The 1VOrkere on

~13:f rc=f•

lT

electric uti lities were paid the highest av•
erage rate, s lightly more than 67 cents per
hour, due largely to the greater propor tfon
of skilled and technical workers employed.
The table on page 17 shows the average earnings for persons employed on each type of
pl'vject.
The estimated cost of WPA public utility
pro j ects selected for operation through April
or
16 totaled approximately $145,000,000,
projects.
WPA
all
of
cost
the
of
10 percent
respons ibi l i ty for
Sponsors have assumed
nearly one-fourth of the cost of all public
utility projects but have underwritt en a larger proportion of the cost of water pur ification and supply system projects than of the
weal sponsors supply a large
other types.

Sewers & Other Uti lities
Material Etc

Wages & Salaries
Funds
WPA
Sponsors'
Funds

401.

~

•

4

601.

part of the materials, supplies, and equipment necessary for the prosecution of public
utility construction projects, thereby permitti ng the greater proportion of Federal
Through Aufunds t o be expended for labor.
gust 1936 the value of materials, supplies,
and equipment used for WPA public utility
pr oj ects amounted to approximately $34,000,000, or 16 percent of the total of such costs
for a ll WPA projects.
In addition to constituting an important
portion of the WPA program, public utility
projects also form a significant part of the
work under the Non-Federal Division of the
Water system
Public Works Administration.
number, while
in
greatest
projects ar e the
oonstruction projects for sewer systems involve the greatest expenditure among the pubthis
prosecuted by
lic ut i lity projects
agency. That phase of the WPA public utility
work which consists of electric power generat ion and distribution finds some parallel in
the work of the Rural Electrification Adminextend
istration which 1a attempting to
the use ot electrioity in rural areas. (Subreport discuss
sequent sections of this
these PW.A and Rural Electritication activ•
i ties).

WPA Conservation Pro;ects

In keeping with t he general recognition of t he need
for conservation measures , a
group of projects has been
included in the WPA program
whose objective is t hat of
protecting and developing the
national resources as well as preventing, in
some measure at least, the destruction and.
loss so o:f'ten associated with floods and
The need for the latter kind or
drought.
conservation work has been reemphasi zed by
The work
experiences of the current year.
that has been done to alleviate the distre8s
and loss following in the wake of r ecent
floods and drought is noted elsewhere in this
section, in the discussion of emergency flood
The WPA has also insti•
and drought relief.
tuted projects which tend to prevent the re-

18

currence of serious damage. These activities
are included within the conservation group in
addit ion to other work equally constructive
though less dramatic.
The conservation group of WPA projects
constitutes about 5 percent of the entire WPA
diversified
program and covers a fairly
field . Irrigation and water conservation,tol' estation, erosion control, land utilization,
plant. crop, and livestock conservation and
similar activities undertaken by WPA work
projects all contribute generally to the conservation of natural resources and in lllflllY
i nstances are specifically operated as measures for reducing possible future destruction by floods and drought.
In some areas,

control

of

floods

and

prevention of loss from drought are closely
loss of livestock during floods.
The cities
interrelated .
of Indianapolis , IndianaJ Augusta, GeorgiaJ
Dams built in streams to hold
water baok during the spring also provide
and Springfield, OhioJ are being
provided
storage basins.
The water may be used later
with greater protection against floods through
for irrigation or, as is more o..f'ten the case
the construotion or strengthenin g of miles of
in the smaller tmdertakings , it becomes a redikes along the rivers that flow within or
serve water supply for cattle end other aniadjoining their botn1daries.
mals during the dry season. Such a dam, being oonstructed on Valentine Blood Creek in
In addition to this kind of work a misMontana, will impound a sufficient reserve
cellaneous group of projects is being operasupply of water to serve the needs of grazing
ted in various parts of the OO\llltry for the
stook on the surrounding range during dry
conservation of plants, crops, and livestock.
spells.
Crickets, which menace alfalfa and wheat in
The effeot of this type of dam in
maintaining a more nonnal supply of sub-surIdaho, have been exterminated by the spraying
face water is also beneficial.
of fieldo with dust guns. Noxious weeds ha.ve
Trees and
grass are being planted, not only to prevent
been removed in many plaoes. In New Mexioo a
erosion and excessive run-off during
project has been devised to oheck the develrainy
seasons, but also to store
opnent of tent caterpillars,
up moisture as a reserve
a menace to forests.
Digagainst the dry days of
ger wasps
and
trachina
stmrner. This work i s being
flies, whioh are natural
stressed especially in Wisenemies of the tent oau}'.
consin. In addition to the
pillar, are collected
by
plantinb of trees, the work
field workers and propaincludes cutting dead timgated in laboratories . The
ber to reduce fire hazards
offspring will be released
and
improving
banks of
in forests next spring with
streams and lakes to prethe expectation that they
vent erosion.
In many rewill greatly
reduoe the
gions WPA work serves to
number of tent caterpil•
complement the terracing of
lars.
hillsides, the planting of
erosion-resi sting
vegetation, and the making of
Location of Projects
check-dams in creek beds
under the supervision of
PraO'tioally all of
the Soil Conservation Servthe States whioh haTe
a
ice and Emergency Conservalarge proportion of- their
tion Work with funds prototal program in ooDJlena~ CONSERVATIOH
vided
directly to these
tion
projects are looa~ed
II B'ORTH DAKOTA
agencies.
in the West
and Middle
West, where the need for conservation and
Land reclamation is frequently correlat·control of water resouroes
is greatest.
ed with flood control work.
Near Portland,
Washington is spending 17 percent of its
Oregon, for instance, a valuable farming area
f'unds on conservation work. according to H •
recently unused because of inadequate draintimatea of the value of projects selected
age and the ever-present threat of floods, is
for operation through April 16J Idaho and
being reolaimed through the clearing of the
Wiaoonain, 16 percentJ Colorado, 15 percentJ
Columbia River channel and the construction
California, 14 peroentJ and New Mexico, Oreof a levee along its banks.
Similar stream
gon. and Wyoming, 10 percent.
The bulk of
clearance and levee construction work is bethe funds in moat of theae states is being
ing carried on throughout the country.
In
spent on irrigat1on and water oonserva.tion .
Pennsylvania , especially, projects are being
prosecuted for relocation of channels to prevent flooding of large areas at high-water
Employment end E•nin91
periods and for construction of masonry walls
to confine flood waters within the channels.
In the early spring of 1936, when the
In the western States, banks are being ripemergency flood relief program was at its
rapped to prevent damage to fa.rm property and
height, more than 200.000 workers were listed

19

on payrolls of WPA oonservation projects.
Persons previouGly assigned to other types of
projects were transferred to flood relief
work during the emergency.
Since March,
marked reductions have ocourred with the result that in July and August approximately 95,000 persons were working on conservation
projects. The number of persons employed increased slightly to a little over 96,000 in
the first half of August, as indicated in Table
More then two-thirdsa!'
6 in Appendix B.
this number were at work on irrigation and
water conservation projects.
.Among the various States, during the
first half of August, the largest number of
HOURS J.HD liRHINGS OH WPA CXJNSJRVilIOJf PROJJL'TS

conservation projects during the first half
of August . This represented 4 percent of the
total hours on all WPA projects. Persons employed on conservation work averaged 49.5
oents per hour as compared to the 50.6 cents
per hour average on all types of projects.
The total estimated oost of all flood
control and other oonservation projects se-

Conserv ation
Wages & Salaries

Materials Etc.

WPA

Funds
Sponsors'

Funds

Ezolu41ng .umini1trathe !mployeea

2

71Z

Ootober 1935 to J'uly 1936
(SubJeot to Rm11on)

ATVa,W
Hour~
Mi:,nth

TO'liL
1935

~

NoTelllber
Deoember

1936
ianua.ry
February
M&roh

April
May
June
J~

J:arDing1
Houri
(Thouaands} ('l'hou11and1

l

Zand~•
(cent!..

139,283

$57,624

41.,4

3,382

1,112
3,302
6,516

34.6
38.6
40.l

7,373

40el
39.4

e,555

16,252

18,401
19,304
19,063
19,740
13,346
ll,309
9,931

1,6Cfl

7,998
8,432
5,738
4,873
4,618

42.0
42.7
43.0
43.l
46.5

persons, approximate ly 9,000, were employed
on conservation projeots in the State of
Pennsylvania.
California furnished work on
this type of project to more than 8,000 persons, and employment on similar projects in
Missouri, Ohio ,
Illinois,
and Wisconsin
ranged between 5,000 and 8,000.
WPA employees worked 4,818,000 hours

A CHANNEL THAT
PREVENTED
FLOODING IN THE
SPRING OF 1936

20

on

lected for operation in the United States
through April 15 was slightly more than $77,000,000, or 5 percent of the total for all
WPA projects.
Sixty-eight percent of this
amount was to be expended on irrigation and
water conservation projects, 10 percent for
erosion control and land utilization, 4 percent on forestation work, 3 percent for plant.
crop, and livestock conservation, and 15 percent for miscellaneous projects some of which
are classifiable under more than one of these
headings. Fifteen percent of the total estimated cost of all projects was to be paid for
by funds supplied by sponsors. Nearly 71 percent of the cost was to go for direct labor
payments, and a little over 29 percent for
other purposes.
Funds actually expended for
materials,
supplies, and equipment on flood control and
other conservation projects through August
1936 amounted to approximately $8,500,000, or
roughly 4 percent of the total expenditures
for these purposes on all WPA projects
throughout the country.

Emergency Flood Relief Under the WPA

In addition to operating
projeots speoti'ioally dl,signed
to preYent flood oonditions
or to oonserve water supplies.
the WPA has been active in
emergency flood relief work.
WPA funds have been used to
aid stricken communities in cases where unforeseen emergencies have arisen as a result
of flood damage. The services of WPA employees were utilized during peri ods of immediate
danger from floods, and thes e workers also assumed a large share of the burden of clearing debris and repairing damage after the
floods had subsidede

built.
Roads were cleared, regraded, resurfaced, and opened for traffic.

In the early summer of 1935, shortly after the WPA program had be en approved, the
first necessity for emergency flood activities arose.
On July 31, 1935, the President
allocated $5,000,000 t o the WPA for repair of
damage caused by the 1935 floods, and almost
befor e the flood waters had ebbed VlPA workers were busy clearing debris from homes,

During 1936 the activities of the WPA in
oonnection with emergenoy flood conditions
were even more extensive.
Preparations had
been made in advance of actual floods so that
the WPA was ready to act promptly when emergency situations arose.

EMERGENCY FLOOD RELIEF
public b"uildings, streets, and r oads. Dikes,
levees, and dams were strengthened and repaired.
In Jefferson and Arkansas Counties
in Arkansas, for example, 160,000 cubio yards
of earth were move d in restoring 3,600 linear
feet of leve e breaks. Bridges that had been
wrecked by floods wer& repaired wherever
practicab l e or replaoed if to o ba dly d~ed.
In Colorado 309 br i dges with a t otal length
of 26,600 linear feet were repaired or re-

In the stricken area of New York State
during the first days fo.llowing the floods,
roads were so impassable that local authorities had difficulty in reaching WPA offices
to submit applications for projects for repairing flood damages.
Water systems and
sewer systems required cleaning and repairing.
Debris had to be cleared away and immediate action was necessary to prevent development of unsanitary conditions and to
avoid the possibility of epidemics of contagious diseases.

In anticipation of flood conditions, imminent because of the unusually early thaw
following a severe winter, the WPA durini:; the
latter part of February 1936 requested its
State Administrators
to submit emergency
flood work projects wherever there was danger
of overflow. The President approved approximately $18,000,000 worth of the se projects on
February 29, 1936.
Such authorization did
not allocate new funds to the States, but
merely permitted the State Administrators to
use previously allocated funds for the prosecution of emergency flood control work should
this become necessary.
As flood conditions became serious in
the New England States, in Pennsylvania, and
in the Ohio valley, crews of WPA workers went
into action ~romptly and were engaged in a
wide variety of activities during the height
of the danger.
The first steps adopted by the WPA in
meeting the emergency conditions were: to
warn persons li vingin the path of the waters,
to move families,furniture,and valuables from
danger zones; and to cable and rope down
houses and small buildings to prevent the current from washing them away. In some localities WPA workers were sworn in as special police to aid in protecting life and property
and in directing traffic.
Dikes, sandbag

21

barricades,
end abutments were built or
strengthened to check the flood waters.
At
grave personal risk many relief workers took
a prominent and heroic part in rescue activities to save persons endangered or marooned
by the waters.
Food, bedding, and olothing have been
distributed to refugees through WPA surplus
commodity projects.
In the Ohio flood area
8,000 blankets and 6,000 mattresses were distributed in addition to thousands of pounds
of food .

In numerous other communities WPA workers were engaged in strengthening dikes and
dams, weighting down bridges with sandbags,
and related activities. By these efforts the
water was often prevented from reaching towns
and cities which otherwise would have suffered. In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, as
many as 30,000 WPA workers were rushed into
the flooded areas, strengthening dams and
dikes, patrolling roads, and protqcting life
and property.
Even before many of the unfortunate residents could return to their homes, WPA workers proved themselves indispensable in clearing roads and streets of debris.
Then crune
the task of cleaning out public buildings and
homes. Wells and other sources of water sup-

Emergency

Drought

:in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which had
been severely affected, 6,000 WPA employees
were set to work to clean up the city.
More
than 20 miles of streets were cleared of debris, nearly 100 tons of hydrated lime were
spread, and water we.a pumped from a great
number of cellars.
These measures successfully prevented the outbreak of post-flood
contagious diseases.
About t600,000 was
spent in Johnstown by the WPA in the removal
of waste.
As the waters receded throughout the
Northeast, tens of thousands of WPA workers
began reconstruction and rehabilitation work.
This work we.a confined to the reconditionin•g
and reconstruction of public property.
The total cost of emergency flood relief
operations through July 31, 1936, was slightly over 112,000,000.
Approximately $3,500,000 of this total was spent for emergency relief work following the flood of 1935. About
$5,250,000 was used for preparatory work and
emergency activities in the spring of 1936,
and $3,250,000 went for reconstruction activities following damage caused by floods in
the spring of 1936.

Relief

The flexibility of the
WPA in meeting emergency conditions and cooperating with
other agencies is further exemplified by the manner in
which the Federal
Government's forces were mobilized
to meet the situation engendered by the
drought of 1936. Continuous heat and lack of
rainfall were destroying crops at a constantly accelerating pace, and ravages of insect
pests such as the grasshopper and the Mormon
cricket contribut ed further to the general
crop destruction.
Thousands of farmers in

22

ply and sewers were reconditioned, end chloride of lime was used in order to make the
flooded areas sanitary and habitable.

the Great Plains
and starvation.

area were faced

with ruin

In response to this emergency the President formed the Inter-Departmental Drought
Committee, composed of representatives of the
Department of Agriculture, the Resettlement
Administration, the Works Progress Administration, and other interested agencies.
This
col!Dllittee was charged with the function of
coordinating and integrating the activities
of the various Federal agencies operating in
the drought area. The Department of .Agriculture Drought COlllllittee was established. Un-

der its immediate supervision the Department
of Agrioulture Drought Committee was given
the function of officially designating emergenoy drought counties, based on reports and
EMERGENCY DROUGHT

■

COUNTIES

COUN TI ES OES16Nt.TED BY DEPT.
Of t.OR ICULTURE DROUGH T CO M MI TTEE t.S EMER&(NCY OROU &HT
t.R[t.S .

S OU RC E - U 5 OEF'T OF t.G RI CU LT U RE

recommendations of direotors of State agricultural servioes and of representatives of
the Bureau of Agricultural Eoonomios.
The
determining faotor in making suoh designations was the need for emergenoy drought assistanoe on the part of a large proportion of
the farmers of a county. These designations
served as a guide to all governmental agencies providing aid to farmers in regions affected by the drought. By September 15, 1936,
a total of 1,149 oounties in 24 States had
been officially designated
as
emergency
drought counties.

Those persons too needy to be aided by
Resettlement Administration loans or grants
were oertified, generally by local relief authorities. for WPA employment. Speoial prooedures were devised to faoilitate this oertifioation and the
subsequent employment of emergenoy drought relief oases on
WPA projects. On August 1. less
than a month after the first
emergency drought oounties were
officially designated, nearly
38,000 oertified arought relief
oases were employed and working
on WPA projects.
By September 12, less than
three months after the first
county was designated,
over
170,000 certified drought relief cases T.rere being oared for
in the drought-stricken
areas
througn employment on all types of WPA projects, North Dakota and South Dakota re porting more than 30,000 drought oases each.
Victims of

Week b4illC September 12, 1936

(Sul>Jeot '\o Rmaion)

Taut

.Anauu
Colorado
Georgia

y

Illlno1 ■

Ion

:r.auu

rentuoq!f

Minnesota
Miaaouri
liloDtau

The WPA and the Resettlement Adrn1niatration cooperated in providing financial aid,
through direct relief or work relief, to
farmers in the emergency drought areas.
Local relief authorities in conjunction with
representatives of the WPA and the Resettlement Administration determined: (1) the need
of the persons affeoted by drought oonditiona,
and (2) whether the needy person oould best
be aided by Resettlement Administration loans
or grants, or by work provided on WPA projeots.

were as-

lmOOGR:i' AIPLODmff

State

The Department of .Agrioulture Drought
Committee also completed arrangements with
four large western railroads to reduc..o rates
on the shipnent of hay and other fodder into
the drought area.a. The reduoed rate on he.Y is
two-thirds of the nonu.l rate and the rate on
ooarse types of roughage one-half of the normal rate. These reduotions have been authorized by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

drought conditions

lrebruJr:a
HorihDabta

0111uma
South Carolha
South Dabta
Tonne ■ 11eo

'l'au

Vlrgin1a
11'boou1n

w,.s.ngy

tyi.u..w.nUnc
ror weJc

Total
ill

Agencies

llP.1.

188,34'8

170,~

3,803
2,353
3,300
2,803
4,218

7,Cl02
9,743

6,4'32
21,129
8,900

7,373
35,028
15,879

,.~
2,305
l,!580
2,803

4,187
7,002
9,267
6,24'2

19,355
7,707

Total
Mher

J.IODDiea

17,905

rn

43

l, 720
31
"81
190
l,T14
1,193

2,593
36,"'5

31,272
1-4,6-13
l, 736
3-4,UO

-476
3,756
1,236
8'57
2,~

320
82

37
12

283

2,.016
16,&46
1,818

6,897

2<2!/

16,-489

1,001

1,81-4 !/
357

817

SepteaiNr 11, 1936.

25

signed to projects which were already in operation or to new projects initiated with the
twofold purpose of providing additional employment in drought areas and of carrying on
work that would alleviate the effects of
Fann-to-market road projects, bedrought.
cause of their widespread distribut i on in rural areas and the fact that relatively unskilled labor could be used, offered a ready
means ot employing the largest proportion of
Thousands o f f ~
drnught-stricken fannera.
erG are being employed with their teams and
tractor s on f arm-to-market roads and conservation pro j ects.
EMERGENCY DROUGHT EMPLOYMENT
ON WPA PROJECTS

.... -

WNldy IIIWYllls,

JulJ 18, -

lept•1 .... 12, 1936

-

-

,, V

IN

V

-IN

V

v~
,/

100

.
•

~

.

1111.Y

!..-- i.---

-

.

19341

-

a

I

la

•

Approximately 70 percent of the certified drought relief oases empl oyed in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin during the half month ending Augu st 31,
1936 , were working on farm-to-market roads.
About 15 percent were working on other high•
way, road, and street projects and 8 peroent
This distribution
on c onservation projects.
of workers varied somewhat among the differFor example, in South Dakota as
ent States.
many as 12.6 percent of the certified and employed drought relief caaea were wor king on
conservation projects.
Special emphasis, both in the operation
of previously approved projects and in the
init iation of new projects, has been placed
on water conservation work of all types. WPA
workers are busy building dams along streams,
constructing reservoirs, digging oammunity
wells, and carrying out other water conservation projects which were planned f or the
drought area following surveys made i n these
States.
When forest fires broke out in Wyoming
and other drought states , the WPA relie f laborer played a significant part in helping to

save both lives and property.
Besides prosecuting previously approved
pro j ects the WPA program was expanded by the
institution .o f new and useful water conservaFrom June 30, 1936, through
tion projects.
September 4, 1936, applications for 585 projects totaling $25,280,250 in Federal f'unda
were received by the WPA for the construction
of small oonorete dams, reservoirs, irrigation ditches, and other water conservation
undertakings in the emergency drought counOf the projects sul:mitted, 463 carrytie s.
ing a total Federal oost of $19,143,029 bad
been approved through September 4 , 1936.
These projects are part of a long-range water
conservation program which will dot the
drought area with small lakes and r eservoirs,
thus preventing water run-offs leading to
flood conditions, and stabilizing the water
supply in the dry seasons of' the year. Numerous weU. a.re also being dug to a i d in proOne himdred and
vidi ng an adequate supply.
five water conservation projects have been
submitted from North Dakota and mve been approved by the President since June 30, 193~
and 77 such projects have been approved for
operation in Oklahoma •

In addition to these water conservation
projects, 788 other applications have been
received for projects -suitable to the employment of farm labor in the drought counties.
The cost in Federal funds for these projects
Approval by the President
is $30,106,146.
has been given to 419 of these applications,
The
having a Federal cost of $13,899,501.
fact that approval has been given to less
than 60 peroent of these applications as compared with approval of more than 76 percent
of the water conservation projeots is indicative of the empha&is placed on water conservation in the drought area.
The first consideration of this program,
as in other emergency activities, has been
the preservation of health and the protection
of life and property. Food and clothing have
been furnished through the surplus commodity
projects of the WPA. Water has been supplied
by wells dug under WPA auspices and somet:imes
by truck into the
has even been carried
strioken area ■ •
Through September 16 the Resettlement
Administration had designated a total oftl4,296,436 for making loans and grants to farmer, who oould beat be aided in this manner.
By this date s.742 loans totaling $1,638,660

had been made for livestook, feed or for
quiol!Mliaturing forage crop seeds, and 96,216
grants for subsistence needs amounting to
$1,406,924 had been arranged.
The Resettle•
ment Administration he.s also provided for a
year's moratorium on all previous rehabilitation loans to individuals in the offioially
designated drought oounties, on evidenoe furnished by the borrower of a laok of oash resources.
Finally, the long-range land-use
adjustment program of the Resettlement Administration has been amplified in the drought
areas by projeots involving the purchase of
about four million acres of land at a cost of
almost $14,000,000.
The Agricultural Adjustment Administra•
tion cooperated in the drought areas by modifying the agricultural oonservation
program
so as to increase the production of food and
forage crops and to enable farmers in the
drought area to take advantage of the crop
income insurance features of the agricultural
conservation program.
This Administration was allotted $5,000,•
000 for the purchase of cattle at market
prices.
Purchases were restricted to cattle
originating in the drought area.
The cattle
were to be processed by private packing concerns under contract, and the meat was to be
turned over to the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation for distribution to families
on relief rolls.
In contrast to the 1934
drought progr8lll special benefit payments were
not made to livestock growers.
This year's
program was designed to prevent demoraliza-

tion of cattle prices by the forced liquidation of livestock holdings in the emergency
drought area.

In cooperation with the Interstate Commerce CoDU11ission the AAA secured reductions
on freight rates for livestock shipped from
the drought areas to good pastures.
On an
outgoing shipment the rate was set at 85 percent of the normal rate and on the return
shipment at 15 percent of the normal rate.
This permits cattlemen to ship their cattle
to good pastures during the drought emergency
and have them returned with a 50 percent reduction in transportation costs.
Since early June the Federal Surplus
Commodities Corporation has purchased from
growers approximately 1,600 carloads of surplus food and feed for distribution to the
needy in the drought-stricken States.
The
Corporation also underwrote and supervised
the purchase of 7 to 9 million bushels of
small grains for seed purposes. This was accomplished with an advance to the Farmers National Grain Corporation of $10,000,000 by
the Farm Credit Administration.
A number of other Federal agencies operating projects under the Works Program in
the emergency drought areas expanded their
programs in these regions in order to employ
certified drought cases.
The Federal agencies employing the greatest number of drought
oases include the Soil Conservation Service,
the Forest Service, and the Btn"eau of Public
Roads.

J'OLY 29, 1936

IN THE DROUGHT AREA

26

WPA

Park

and Other

Recreation al

In order to improve recreational facilities of local
and State governments, the
WPA has entered upon an extensive program of developing
public parks, playgrounds,and
athletic fields and providing
swimming pools, bandshells, and similar physApproximately 11 percent of
ical equipment.
the total work done on all WPA programs has
been on projects of this kind. In some measure the recreational facility program represents an extension of work previously carried
on under the Civil Works Administration and
the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
Projects initiated under these antecedent
agencies have, in certain instances, been
completed under WPA.

Kinds

of Projccb

Projects for the landscaping of parks end
the development of play areas are pertioularly
suited to WPA operation because of the low
Some
expenditures for materials required.
dethe
involve
which
projects
recreational
a
accomplish
areas
velopment of lakes in dry
twofold result since in addition to their recreational value they also are of importance
in the preservat1on of migratory bird life.
Besides projects of this kind, the heavier

•

26

CounliN In wtaldl operation of one or
more PARK pro)eeh
llu bMn undertak.n

Facility Projects

swimming
providing
construction projects
pools. bathhouses, stadia, and auditoriums
have been initiated when sponsors furnished a
substantial part of the materials necessary
to ·c onstruction.
A be.ndshell and outdoor amphitheatre
have recently been completed by the Works
Progress Administration in Toledo, Ohio, as
part of a general development program of the
Toledo Zoological Park which was started under the CWA and continued under the State
The bandshell was constructed entirely
ERA.
Among the other
of salvaged materials.
natural history
the
is
phases of this project
In
Park.
Zoological
the
work being done in
SooieZoological
Toledo
cooperation with the
ty, the VIPA assigned a staff of artists and
naturalists to construct 50 habitat groups of
natural' history subjects with appropriate
photographic or painted backgrounds and accessories. Each exhibit, the size of a small
traveling bag, will be complete with a glass
Infront for display and a table support.
teriors will be arranged to duplicate exactly
It will be
the environment of the subject.
possible to transport the entire display to
schools and museums for exhibitions.

Improvements are under way in Des Moines,
Iowa, for the elimination of the city dump
which covered a 26-acre tract and for the diversion of sewage
PROJECTS
PARK
WPA
which has been empBy Counties June 30, 1936
tying into the Des
Moines River within
limits.
the city
conditions
1'he se
have been a serious ·
public
menace to
Under the
health.
dumping
the
WPA
being
is
ground
transformed into a
with lawns,
park
flower gardens,bridle paths, a baseball diamond, tenboat
nis courts,
landing, and many
other recreational
facilities. Retaining walls are being
along
constructed

the river, and a dam will form a lake adjoining the park.
A tract of 90 acres located one mile
from Greenville, Illinois, at the intersection of two importan"t; highways, is being made
into a municipal park.
About 40 acres will
be lert in its present wild state except for
footpaths leading to picnic areas. Trees ~d
shrubs will be set along the shore line of a
lake, and driveways, parking spaces, tennis
courts, and an athletic field are to be added.

playground will include a girls' play area
containing two tennis courts, a basketball
court, a volleyball court, and roller skating
spac·e. For the boys there will be eight handball courts, three tennis courts, and areas
for basketball, volleyball, horseshoe pitching, and roller skating.
An enclosed area
for smaller children will be provided with a
wading pool, sand boxes, and play equipment.
A novel project was completed recently
by the WPA at the Indiana State School for
the Blind at Indianapolis. This is a rollerskating rink for the blind with an oval track
about one-firth of a mile in length and about
one-sixteenth of a mile wide.
The skating
surface is of concrete and is .about six feet
wide. Banked curves make it possible for the
skaters to detect the direction of the skating lane.
A majority of the students take
advantage of this recreational facility.
BOORS JJID ~ 01' 111'.1 P.&RI: JJID C7!BER
RJX:RD.TIOHAL 1 ~ PROJECTS

l:IDllllling .&aainietrat1Te Jmployee1
October

m, 1;o

~

1936

(SubJeot to Rm1ion)

Houn

Earnbg,

('?hou1an4; (Thoupmda}
TOUT,

292,572

$1-48,746

50.8

7,235

!51.9

193!5

STADIUM CONSTRUCTIONREINFORCEMENTS FOR SUPPORTING BE~

~
li>Tmtber
Deomtber

21,939
36,24'5

i!1rr
J'•brual'1

36,723
34,862

13,949

Maroh
.A.pr.1.1

34,551.
31,006

May

29,874
27,31A
26,109

J\me
~

11,083

50.!S

17,229

47-5

17,8&4
17,209
17,397
1!5,782

.WA
50.4

l!S,726

14,417
14,784

48.7
50.9
52.6
52.8
56e6

Employment end E•nin31
A swimming pool

36 feet by 81 feet has
been completed at the grammar school
in
Bowie, Arizona, by the WPA.
Two adobe briok
dressing rooms have been finished and a 700foot well has been dril led to supply water to
the pool as well as to irrigate the school
grounds.
The total cost was approximately
$12,000, of which the Federal allotment constituted slightly more than one half.
On an old reservoir site at Buffalo, New
York, a project for the construction of a
playground has been started by the WPA. The

Since the inception of the WPA program,
projects for recreational facilities
have
supplied over 10 percent of the total WPA employment. In September 1935 about 21 percent
of all WPA workers were employed on this type
of project.
The proportion decreased to 13
percent at the end of the year, and since
March slightly more than 10 percent of all
11PA workers have been employed on recreational projects.
By the

end of October more than 109,000

17

persons were working on recreat ional projects .
This total was more than doubled bt the end
of November and more than tripled when the
peak employment of 352,000 persons was reachBy the end of
ed at the end of the year.
this type of
on
d
April the number employe
mately 281,approxi
to
project had decreas ed
ed through continu
The decline
000 _persons .
16 the
August
by
out subsequ ent weeks until
ional
recreat
on
number of persons working
.
234,000
to
faciliti es had been reduced
During the semimon thly period ending August 15, 1936, New York City' had the largest
program of recreat ion4l project s with 47,510
persons working . Illinoi s was employi ng more
than 25, 000 pers ons and Ohio more than 20,000
Pennsyl vania had
on chis kind of project .
more than 18, 000 people working on its recreational program . New Jersey employe d slightly less t han 13,000 persons , while Louisia na
and Wiscons in were the only other States
which had more than 10,000 persons working on
recreat ional projeot s.
Four areas are outstan ding in their snphasis c~ recrea~ ional work under the WPA.
During the first half of August Louisia na employed 31 percent of all its workers on this
phase of its program ; New York City md more
than 25 percent of its \'lPA employe es workin6
on the recreat ional program ; and Wiscons in
and Nevada both provide d similar employment
Perfor about 21 percent of their workers .
in
ed
present
are
states
all
for
s
centage
B.
x
Appendi
in
7
Table
Average hourly earning s on recreat ion
project s have shown a fairly constan t increase since December 1935. With the exception of two months, Deoember 1935 and January
1936, when workers average d 47.5 and 48.7
cents per hour, average hourly earning s on
recreat ional project s were in excess of 50

28

cents during the entire period from October
1935 to August 1936. Recent increas es may be
explain ed by adjustm ents to prevail ing wage
rates underta ken on all WPA project s in conformity with the requirem ents of the Emergenc;r Approp riation Act of 1936.
The first project s for the constru ction
of recreati onal faciliti es got under way in
the fall of 1935 and by April 15, 1936, 6,722
recreat ional facility project s had been se•
lected for operatio n at a tota l estimat ed
cost of $182,00 0,000. Of this amo\lllt approximately $162,00 0,000 came from Federal funds,
the remaini ng $20,000 ,000 having been pledged
by local sponsor s.

Parlcs & Recreational Facilities
Mnuials Etc.

301.

Wages & S.lariu

701.

end of August purohas ee and contribut i ona of materia ls, suppl ies, and equipment for use on recreat ional project s amotmted to about t2e,ooo .ooo, or 13.3 peroent of
the total value of materia ls , aupplie s, ud
equipme nt prooure d for all WPA project s.
By the

Another importam ; aspeot of recreat ion
work under the Works Program is the reoreational facility work prosecu ted by the Civil•
ian Conserv ation Corps. This agency' s actiTities are describ ed in a followi ng section .

W PA Airports and Airway Projects

Although airport and airway projects operated tmder
the WPA form only a small
proportion of the entire program, they are relatively of
muoh greater importance than
their dollar va lue would i ndicate . In addition to the significant contrib ution which they are making t o the national program of airport and airway deve l opment, these projeots provide an example of

close cooperation between the
interested Federal agencies.

WPA and other

Early in the development of the WPA program the Division of Airways and Airports was
created to cooperate with interested agencies
of the Federal Government as well a s with
State and local governmental bodies in the
planning and administration of a comprehensive national program of airport and airway
development on publioly owned land.
The De-

BEFORE

AF'l'Ell

29

partmenta of Comnerce, War, Navy, Post Offioe
and Treasury were consulted for teohnical advioe and information as to the manner in
which their respective needs could best be
Plans worked out by State organizaserved.
tions were utilized in developing the proAll projects, however, originated in
gram.
the localities and were sponsored by local
communities and organizations.
The Bureau of Air COtmllerce plays an important part in the supervision of the airport program, since the Bureau must give
written approval of technical aeronautioal
features such as suitability of site, size
and arrangement of runways, and design of
buildings before any project is actually selected for operation by a State Administrator.
In addition to its cooperation in the approval of plans and specifications prior to construction, the Bureau gives technical aeronautical advice to sponsors of projects and
to the WPA during construction and is responsible for final inspeotion when projects are
completed, discontinued, or suspended.

Types of Work Under Wey
The WPA airport program which has developed through this system of cooperation embraces a wide variety of work, including airway marking, construction of emergency (intermediate) landing fields, and conditioning
of local airports throughout the cotmtry, as
well as improvements to major metropolitan
It should be borne in mind
air terminals.
that the Federal airway system developed from
the flow of traffic between major centers of
While improvement of landing
population.
fields and airports along these airways benefits the public which uses the airlines for
travel, it likewise benefits and contributes
greatly to the safety of the non-scheduled
and miscellaneous flying which also tends to
Airbe concentrated between such centers.
port development under the WPA has not been
confined to work along the airways, however,
but has followed the requests of local sponsors whenever the projects submitted have
come within the limitations plaoed upon Works
Program activities and have provided landing
fields useful to the Federal network.
Extensive improvements are bein« made at
terminal airports in 10 of the 12 oities
which supply the bulk of passenger traffic.
Newark, the world's busiest air terminal. is
the site of major developments, including the

30

extension of the field and runways and the
construction of a large hangar. Improvements
are likewise being made at Boston, Chicago,
Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh,
Minneapolis, San Francisco, and St. Paul.
Illustrative of the work being done
along the airways between major stations are
severa projects in Pennsylvania, a State
which is crossed by five of the most heavily
traveled air lanes of the country, including
airmail
all four of the transcontinental
at one
facilities
ground
Inadequate
routes.
netairway
•s
State
the
important junction of
discontinuance
the
forced
work (Harrisburg)
Under the WPA
of airline operations there.
Three hardrebuilt.
being
is
this airport
to more
extended
being
are
surfaced runways
and for
length,
than double their previous
of bitypes
different
test purposes several
Construcused.
being
are
ttuninous surfacings
tion of a new airport at Connellsville may
eventual~ make it possible to storten and
straighten the air route between Pittsburgh
Engineers report that the
and Washington.
speed e.nd quality of the work being done on
this project equals that on e.ny similar priConstruction of new runvate undertaking.
ways, extension and grading of old rtmways,
and the installation of lighting systems are
improving facilities of a ntunber of other important airports in the State.
Airport construction in Florida provides
e.n example of what may be done in sections of
the cotmtry where there is only a limited
ntunber of open fields of sufficient size to
The state
permit safe emergency landings.
for a
need
the
Aviation Commission recognized
east
areas
landing spot in the heavily wooded
acquired
The town of Milton
of Pensacola.
the site selected by the Commission and initiated the work of clearing it under a previous work relief program. Under the WPA the
clearing has been completed and two adequate
runways have been sodded. The local plan anticipates the development of an airpark at
-t his site with a combination hangar and recreation building, but this is not included in
However, the provision
the present project.
of an adequate landing field in this locality
is an important contribution to the State
airway system.
At another site (Lakeland,
Florida)
work
earlier
under
commenced
was
where work
paved
been
have
runways
two
relief programs,
under the WPA, leveling and sodding of additional areas has provided two more runways,

and considerable other grading has been completed to increase the size end make a reote.ngular, all-way field.
A hangar has been
built and a concrete floor and aprons are now
under construct ion.
In addition a seaplane
ramp is to be installed in the lake bordering
on the field.
The combining of airports with recreational facilities is another type of development included under the airport program,
These 11 airparks" provide a double incentiv(
for the adequate maintenance of the land o~
which they are situated and are pe.rticularl;y
well s uited for corranunities where heavy air
traff ic has not yet developed. Recreational
facilities are also being provided where land
is available on active airports.
Illustrative of this tendency is a small project at
Shushan Airport in New Orleans. A large reservoir was necessary for the fire sprinkler
system in the hangars and terminal building
and also as a cooling pond f or the condensers
of the terminal's air-conditioning system.
Both these purposes are being served by a
swimming pool built entirely by WPA labor,
with the city furnishing the materials. The
revenue from the pool will provide for its
maintenance, nnd the waste water is used to
irrigate the park surrounding the airport.
Also included under the ~'PA airport and
airway program of 30 of the States is the
ai:nna.rking of towns and cities. The work
consists largely of painting
directional
signs on highways or roofs. These signs show
the name of the town and indicate the names,
distances, and directions of the nearest _airports.
They are of particular assistance to
privately flown planes and others not carrying radio equipment and therefore unable to
take advantage of the radio directional beams
followed by COllllllercial airliners.
In all t ypes of airport and airway work
efforts are now being directed toward too completion of projects now tmder construction.
This may involve either entire projects as
originally approved or useful tmits of the
projects.
New projects are being started
only where there is specific evidence of the
availability of certi fied relief labor and
adequate funds for the completion of the work.

Employment

Employment

on airport

and airway proj-

ects has been relatively stable since January
1936, when the airport program first attained
full de,relopment af'ter its initiation in September 1935.
More than 40,000 persons have
been engaged in this work since the beginning
of the year, with the maximum of approximately 45,000 workers reached during the last

CONSTRUCTING A RUNWAY
half of March. About 44,000 persons were employed during the first half of August, the
latest period for which data are available.
During the period of operation from September
1935 through August 15, 1936,almost 41,000,000 man-hours of work have been provided on
these projects.
Project workers have received in excess of $18,000,000 in earnings,
which represents compensation at en average
rate of about 44 cents per hour. This average is the same as that applying to all WPA
projects in operation during this period.
Projects being conducted under several
other Federal agencies involve airport improvement~ or constructi on work. The Quartermaster Corps of the War Department has received allocations of over $2 ,000,000 and the
Bureau of Yards and Docks of the Navy Department almost $2.000,000 for the improvement of
runways and grounds and the construction and
repair of buildings at Aney and Navy airports.
About $750,000 has been allocated to the NonFederal Division of the Pi'lA for four similar
projects.
Emergency
Conservation
Work
through the activities of the CCC camps, has
resulted in the construction of 16 complete
landing fields and the maintenance of 17
others.

51

WPA Sanitation and Health

Projects

Through its sanitation
and health program the Works
is
Progress Administration
of
control
the
in
assisting
contribthat
ntmlerous factors
ute to ill health and disease. Projects included in
the sanitation and health classification are
those dealing with the elimination of stream
pollution, mosquito eradication, and a large
miscellaneous group consisting for the most
part of sanitary toilet construction and mine
sealing. These sanitation operations promote
the elimination of, or protection against,
such diseases as malaria, hookworm, and tyMine-sealing projects aid materially
phoid.
in the prevention of stream pollution in coal
mining regions.

food nor shel t er was avai lab l e for wildli f e,
and the pools provided breeding plac e s for
Under a WPA mosqui t o cont ro l
mosquit oes .
project miles o f ditches were cut ac r oss this
As a
area i n order to drain the low spots .
result the section is now dry, t he mosquitobreeding pools no longer exist, and the removal of t he salt water has permitted t he
growth of beach grass, provid ing a suitab le
In addition t o proj habitat f or wild f owl .
ects for t he drainage of swrunp areas , such as
the one ju st described, the mosquito control
work inc l udes the killing of mosquito larvae
by spraying oil on the s ur face of sta gnant
pools.

A proj ect in Winston-Sal em, North Caroline., f ot t he elimination of stream pollution
is typica l of this phase of the WPA program.
through
A nwnber of creek channels running
waste
of
dtmlping
the
the c ity were choked by
Kinds of Projects
unnumerous
and
Stagnant pools
materials.
desir able deposits all along the creek beds
Drainage of the Masury Marsh, a stretch
presented a constant menace. These pools now
of several hundred acres of salt marsh on the
are being drained by WPA employees, who are
north shore of Great South Bay, Long Island,
als o shaping the creek channels and banks to
is an example of the mosquito elimination
prevent f uture obWPA SANITATION AND HEALTH PROJECTS
st ruction.
June 30, 1936
By Counties
Less familiar
to the general public as a source of
stream pollution is
from
the seepage
coal
abandoned
sulThe
mines.
phuric acid formed
by the combination
seepage water
of
with the sulphide
such
compound in
frequently
mines
finds its way into
streams•
nearby
the
contaminating
public water s up.,
plies and causing
.._
SANITATION AND HEALTH prejecta
•
of
deterioration
culverts, bridges,
- - - - ....
The impairment of the
dams, and vessels.
work. Prior to the operations of the WPA in
recreat ional value of streams for camping,
this area, large pools of stagnant salt water
swimming, and fishing is no leas seri ous from
deposited by unusually h:Lgh tides ooverodwide
public viewpoint. In 1914 Army offici als
the
Neithtr
uowth.
plant
stretchea, preventing

_
__
_____
___

32

estimated that mine seepage oost the Pittsbw-gh district 9,000,000 a year.
The health and sanitation program of the
WPA is devoting oonsiderable attention to
Numerous projeots are being
this problem.
operated to air-seal abandoned mines, thus
effeotively preventing the formation of suoh
destructive acid solutions. In Weat Virginia
alone 345 abandoned mines have been airsealed and it is estimated that as a consequence $1,000,QOO will be saved annually in
that State.

of sewer systems and drainage facilities, for
the purification of water supplies, and for
flood control.

Funcl,
The amotmt of money being spent on sanitation and health work is SII18.ll in comparison
with the total WPA costs, amounting to about
$44,000,000, or 3 percent of the total cost
operation
of WPA projects selected for
Of this amotmt 36
through April 15, 1936.

OB A

MALARIA
CONTROL
PROJECT

The purpose of the sanitary toilet construction program is to check the spread of
such diseases as typhoid fever, dysentery,
and hookworm by eliminating the sources of
infection. WPA projects are replacing thousands of unsanitary toilets with fly-proof
structures approved by the United States PubThis type of project is
lic Health Service.
one of the few involving improvement of private property which may be operated under the
Works Program. The exception is ma.de because
the work is essentially for the protection of
public health.

In addition

to projects included under
the sanitation and health classification, the
WPA is conducting operations classified under
other headings which have important, though
inoidental, public health features. Foremost
8lJIOng these are projects for the construotion

percent is being spent for mosquito eradioation and 2 percent on projects for the elimThe remaining
ination of stream pollution.
62 percent is being spent for a miscella.tleous
group, which is composed chiefly of projects
for the construction of sanitary toilets ,and
More than two-thirds
the se~ling of mines.
of the aggregate cost is designated for laOf the total funds 26 percent is being
bor.
provided by sponsors, a figure materially
higher than that reported for the entire WPA
pro gram ( 18 peroent),
Through April 15 New York State had selected for operation 22 sanitation and health
projeots at a total oost of approximately '
$6,400,000, or 14 percent of the cost of all
projects of this type, New York City alone
accounting for more than 85 percent of these
ftmds. For Indiana the cost of 96 sanitation

33

and health projects was estimated at about
t3,200,000.
These t1ro States, together with
Ohio,. Oklahoma, and Illinois,. accounted for
40 peroent of the estimated total cost of
this group of projects in the United States.
The importance of sanitation and health projects to the WPA programs of Delaware,. South

& Health

Sanitation

by the initiation of other types of projects
which had required more planning and the use
of more equipment and materials•
During the
first half of August 1936 the 70,000 persons
employed on sanitation projects constituted
only 3 percent of the total WPA employment.
The employment peak on these projects,. coincident with that of the entire program, oo•
curred in February and March, l'lhen over 110,000 persons were employed.

Wases & Salaries

Materials Ek.
WPA
Funds
SPOl'!sors'

Funds

321.

681.

Carolina, Tennessee, and Ubah is evidenced by
the fact that in these States such projects
amounted to more than 10 percent of the State
total as compared with 3 percent for the entire country.
Employment and E•nings

Sanitation and health projects got tmder
way more quickly than many other undertaking&
of the WPA program.
During September 19S5
the number of persons working on this type of
project represented 7.5 percent of the total
number employed on all WPA projects.
Subse~
quently this proportion was gradually reduoed

During the semimonthly period ending
August 16,. 1936,. persons employed on sanitation and health projects received $1,.518,000
in payment for 3,.531,000 hours of work, or an
average of 43 cents per hour. This figure is
somewhat higher than averages during earlier
periods due to the recent adjustments in
hourly wage rates and required hours of work,.
to bring WPA earnings into line with the pre•
vailing wage rates as required by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1936.
At
all timea during the operation of the program
the average hourly earnings on sanitation and
health projects have been less than the general average for all types of projects. Tb11
may be explained ohiefly by the tact that
sanitation and health project• typically require 1119.ller proportion.a of laborers and
persona with teohnioal training than other
type• of projects. It is also true that mod
eanitation and health projects operate in rural areas where low 1eourity wage r a t • •
prevail.

WPA Goods Proiects
Sewing,. canning and gar•
dening, and the renovating or
shoes,. clothing, and turnit1119
are the chief activities carried on under the goods projects classification. Work of
this kind is recognized aa
particulm-1y well adapted to the llPA program
since it not only furnishes jobs to unemployed persons but also supplies clothing,. household articles, and foodstuffs for distribution to persona in need of relief.
In addition to projects designed to provide neceasi•
ties for the needy there e.re also a limited
number of projects set up for making me.teri-

ala and equipment,. whioh are in.eluded in the
general goods olaasifioation. Thia equipment
11 used on other WP.A. projeots.
Goods projects, particularly the sewing
projects, haTe proved the most appropriate
and effective means of providing employment
for large ntm1bers of women whose training and
work experience are relatively limited. Deepite the recent development of a more dinraified program of women's work, suoh projects
still constitute the principal medium of proTiding employment to women under the WPA.
Relationahips with

sponsoring and ooop-

erating agencies determine in large part the
aotual service rendered by goods projects to
the communities. A few of these projects are
approved as state-wide projects and adminiaMtMBIR or Mm .ARD lfCldlN IMPUJnl> OB llPA
GOODS PRO~, BY TYPIS or PROJETS

~llllli.ng Aamlm.lt.r&tiff DD:plo,-..a
S-5lllonth~ Perio4 J:n41ng .a.quat 15, 1936

(SUbjeat ~ Rmd.on}
Typeof
ProJeat

Total Persona

NUDber Jeroeni Men

rout

290,777

Sfflllg
Canning

252,201
2,881
35,695

Other!/

y

Women L

Percent
lfamen of Total

35,877 254,900

87.7

7,625 244,576
86.7
2,246
635
1.0
8,078
12.3 27,617

97.0
78.0
22.6

100.0

Includes projects olasa:U1able 'Clllller both of
the hea4iq11 M>O"nle

tered at selected points within the State under supervision of a State director; but by
far the greater number are sponsored by local
relief administrations or by the county or
city governing bodies in the jurisdictions
where the projects are operating.
Upon the initiation of every project an
arrangement is made for (1) a definite system
of securing the materials, (2) a recognized
procedure for determining beneficiaries, and
(3) a method of distributing the products.
Materials for canning, such as fruit and vegetables, which must be secured near the place
of operations because of their perishable nature, are for the most part provided through
the project sponsors.
Cotton textiles for
all sewing projects throughout the -,ountry
are purchased through the Procurement Division of the Treasury. Sponsors make periodic
requisitions for such clothing and similar
goods as are needed by relief clients.
In
moat states the goods are stored and distributed through the commodities
distribution
projects of the Works Progress Administration.
The significance of goods projects is
indicated by their n'.llllber and cost, by the
number of persons employed, the quantity and
quality of production, and by the number of
needy persons benefiting from the distribution of goods.
Of the 90,695 projects selected for operation under the Works Progress Administration through April 15, 1936, more than 6 1 000,
or 7 percent, were goods projects.
They represented 8 percent of the total estimated

cost of all WPA projects. For the semimonthly period ending August 15, 1936, goods projects employed 290,777 persons, or about 13
percent of the total number employed on all
projects operated by the WPA.
As indicated
in the accompanying table, 87 percent were at
work on sewing projects.
Women constituted
88 percent of the number of persons working
on goods projects, and the women so employed
constituted two-thirds of the total number of
women employed on all WPA projects.
Earnings on goods projects amounted to
$6,565,550 in payment for about 16,000,000
man-hours of work durill{; the first half of
August.
These earnings represented 11 percent of the total earnings for all WPA workers.
The amount earned per hour on goods
projects averaged 40.5 cents, as compar5d
with an average of 50.6 cents an hour for all
WPA workers.
Data on hours and earnings for
the various kinds of goods projects, along
with similar information for other types of
projects for the semimonthly period ending
August 15, 1936, are presented in Table 6 in
Appendix B.

G o o d s

Projects

w.,.. &

Materials Etc.

Salaries

WPA
Funds
,

SDOnsor,•
F'unds

301.

101.

Scwin9

The bulk of the goods production program
is carried on in sewing rooms.
A special
analysis of the goods projects in operation
during the semimonthly period ending April
15, 1936, indicated there were 3,873 sewing
projects operating in the United states. The
number ranged from 1 each in the District of
Columbia and Wyoming. 3 in Delaware, and 4 in
New York City to 277 in Massachusetts and 293
in Texas.
In most States county-wide projects were divided into units located in the
towns and villages of the area, with the number of such units varying from 2 to 45.
The
average number of relief workers per sewing
project for the United States was 72; the average number per unit was 31.
Work on sewing projects consists chiefly
in making cotton garments such as infants'

56

wear, boys' and men's shirts, pajamas, underwear, and overalls; women I s and girls I dresses, sleeping garments, slips, aprons, blouses,
and underwear; and simple household articles,
including sheets, pillow oases, towels, quilt
Comforttops, blankets, rugs and curtains.
considerand
ers are made on some projects,
able efficiency bas been attained in a number
of sewing centers in spinning and weaving.
Toys and incidental household articles are
fashioned from lert-over materials.
During the year July 1, 1935, to June 30,
1936, cotton textiles allotted to all sewing

The total
rooms totaled 142,878,304 yards.
cost amounted to about $15,000,000, with an
By purchasaverage of 10.6 cents per yard.
ing in large quantities the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department is able to
.Agencies such as
secure favorable prices.
the United States Bureau of standards) the
Bureau of Home Economics, the Cotton Textile
Institute, and the New York Association of
Cotton Textile Merchants are consulted with
Inspection of maregard to specifications.
Quartermaster
.Army
by
mills
the
at
terials
specificawith
inspectors insures conformity
tions.
In virtually all sewing projects throughout the country, standards have been established cover tng working procedures and conditions, organization of activities, and proIn many States and in the majority
duction.
of tho larger urban sewing tmits using electric machines, uniform work rules have been
adopted. They include qualifications and duties of supervisors, directions for adequate
governing
record-keeping, and regulations
safety, health, sanitation, space, heating,
lighting, ventilation, and equipment.

A large majority of the women on these
projects are assigned to the unskilled wage
class group. Of the 288,328 women working 1n
sewing rooms during the first half of April,
78 percent were classified as unskilled and
the remaining 22 percent as intermediate and
skilled.
WPA SEAMSTRESSES MENDING CLOTHF.S

AT A CHILDREN'S HOME

DISTRIBUTING CLO.rRING FROM
WPA SEWING ROC!m TO RELIEF CLIEN'l'S

S6

Dressmakers have been assigned to the
sewing rooms, as well as a number of persons
formerly employed in textile and clothing industries. Some of the women have had li.nrl.ted
experienc, in sewing in their own homes and a
few have received previous training. Because
of the great diversity among processes in all
the sewing units, however, most of the workpreers are receiving training which they
viously lacked, not only in the use of sewing
machines but also in designing, cutting,
tailoring and finishing.
The number of articles produced on WPA
1936,
sewing projects through April 15,
amounted to more than 27,000 1 000. During the
months of May, June, and July, 1936, exclusive of some distribution through local sponsoring agencies, the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation distributed 10,300 1 000 articles of clothing and 5,600,000 household articles produced by the sewing and supplementThe number of persons
ary repair projects.

served by sewing projects in 14 mid-western
states during June 1936 is est-imated at about
On this basis the country-wide
4 1 000 1 000.
service would reach considerably more than
12,000,000 persons.
Canning and

Other Goods

Projccb

Of the total value of goods projects selected for operation through April 16, 1936,
canning projects represented one percent.
Such projects were reported to have been in
operation since June 1936 in the following

California, Colorado, Idaho1 IlliStates,
nois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas,
other goods
Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.
projects, including gardening, shoe repair,
furniture renovation, equipment construction,
and those projects which combine activities
classifiable under more than one of the above
headings, were operating in 33 States, New
In
York City, and the District of Columbia.
the State of Idaho, in which there is a relatively large canning program, July production
reached a reported total of 18,672 cans of
vegetables, fruits, jellies and jams, and
soups.

WPA White Collar Projects

The problems involved in
providing work for the large
group of persons normally employed in white collar activities have proved considerably more complex than those
involved in employing manual
The need, however, for such work is
labor.
evident from an analysis of previous occupations of persons eligible for Works Program
According to
employment in January 1936.
this inventory white collar workers represented 12 percent of all persons having employment priority as the economic heads of
families.
Employment encl E•nings

Despite the desirability of providing
white collar employment from the very start,
WPA projects designed for white collar workers were comparatively slow in getting under
way. In October 1935 only 6.4 percent of the
persons employed on WPA projects were working
In November, due
on white collar projects.
to the concentrated effort to get large numbers placed on construction projects, the
proportion on white collar projects dropped
Thereaf'ter the relative imto 4.5 percent.
portance of white collar projects in the WPA
program increased steadily until July 16 when
white collar workers constituted 11.6 percent
of all WPA workers. Thia proportion declined

slightly b_y August 31 when 242,000, or 10.5
percent of all persons employed on WPA projects, were white collar workers.
Vihite collar wrk is given particular
emphasis in areas having large urban populaIn New York City 23 percent of the
tions.
WPA workers were employed on this kind of
project during the seoond half of August, and
in California, the District of Columbia, and
Massachusetts, between 16 and 20 pe~cent of
the WPA workers were so employed.
During the semimonthly period ending
August 31, women accounted for 40 percent of
the employment on white collar projects. In
the aggregate, these projects employed 97,000
women, or 26 percent of the total women employed by the WPA, and 145,000 men, or 8 peroent of the total men employed. Earnings on
white collar projects during the half-month
amounted to $9,123,000, or 14. 5 percent or
the $62,897,000 earned on all WPA projects.
Average hourly earnings on white collar projects were 64 8 cents, as compared with an average of 50.7 cents on all WPA projects.
0

The total estimated cost in Federal
funds of those white collar projects selected
for operation by April 16, 1936, amounted to
$117,600,000, or nearly 10 percent of the total estimated WPA expenditure for all projIn addition sponsors had pledged more
ects.
As
than t12,ooo,ooo for these projects.

37

might be expected, direct l abo r costs represent a greater proportion of t he expenditure
on white collar projects than on any other
type of WPA project. Out of every $100 spent
on white collar projects , $88 . 50 i s used f or
t he payment of wages to pro j ect workers, in
compar ison with an aver age of ts6 .90 f or direct labo r cos t s on all WPA proj e ct s.

White Co ll ar Projects
Wages & Salaries

Materials Etc.

WPA
Funds
Sponsors'

~ Funds

121.

881.

Not all white collar workers employ ed
under the Works Program are on white collar
Approximat ely 35,000 architects,
project s .
aooountants, a uditors, draftsmen, engineers ,
stenographer s, typists, payroll clerks, and
timeke epers a r e workin g on other than white
col lar pr oject s o f the Works Progress AdminAnother group of white collar
istration.
workers are employed on projects of Federal
agencies such as the se of the Department of
the Treasury and the Department of Agriculture. On the other hand, more t han 36,000 of
the 242,000 persons employed on white collar
projects, among them maintenance men on re creation projects, charwomen and cleaners on
theatre projects, and janitors and caretakers
on education projects, are unskilled manual
workers rather than white col lar worke rs .

Types of W orlc
White collar projects are of wide variEducational proj ects al one (literacy
ety.
classes, general adult education class es,
nursery schools, vocational instr uction, voeducation,
cational rehabilitation, parent
and worker s ' education) account ed f or 41,100
workers during the second half of Au gust.
About 38,000 persons we re employed on
the Federal art, music, theatre , and writers'
The nature and s cope of these Naprojects.
tion-wide projects are indicated under a fol.Anot her 6,000 pr ofessional
lowing caption.
workers have found j obs on the Nation-wide
surveys of Historic Rec or ds, Feder al Ar chi ve~
Historic American Buildings, and Historic
American Merchant Marine .

38

Planning projects employed 6,000 persons,
a third of whom were furnishi ng professional,
t echnical, and clerical assist ance to State
and regional plann ing boards in their efforts
to collect, compile, and analyze information
re l ative to t he physical, economic, and social develo pment of t he various Stat es.
Nurs ing and public healt h projects, operating in 39 Stat es , New York City, and the
Distri ct of Columbia, f urnished employment to
12,500 per sons, of whom 6 1 000 are trained
Clini cs have been established in
nurse s .
many Stat es f or t he exami nation of children
for communicab le diseas es and opt i cal, denCorrective
t al, and other physical de~ect s.
and
measures are t a ken whenever possib le
children are immuniz ed agains t typho i d, small
pox, whooping cough and dipht heria.
Nearly 46, 000 per son s were at wor k on
research and statistical surveys , making re al
population
property invent or i e s , st udying
shi ft s, wages and income data, surveyi ng
t ra ff ic condi t ions, and doing simi lar reOne of t hese r esearch projects
s earch work.
carried on i n Texas provides f or tracing the
title t o eve ry parc el of l and , card indexing
the inf ormati on, and suppl ying county assessors with the data necessary for making comThe
plete and accurat e assessme nt rolls.
work is r esulting in t he taxation of many
acres of l and which have not pr evi ously been

on the rolls .
Pr ojects i nvolving the renovating and
recopying of publi c records, codifying , indexing, and f iling , prov ided employment f or
26,000 pe r sons of cleri cal t raining .
Housekeeping aid pro j ect s employ 5,000
women t o give a ss i st ance in housework and
child care in homes where the housewife is
ill or otherwise i ncapacitated. This service
has helped to keep many needy families toAnother
gethe r during a diff icult period.
thousand women are at work preparing hot
lunches f or unddrnourished school chi ldren.
Rec r eation projects employed 37,000 workhave been
Twe l ve thousand persons
ers.
working on library projects, preparing loan
reading
exhibits , supervising children's
rooms, and repai ring millions of volumes that
would ot herwise have been withdrawn from cirThrough t he Braille transcription
culation.
work s and textbooks are
technical
projects,
College
being made availab l e to the blind.
t extbooks are in partic ular demand among the

~ 01'

MEN AND lfCMm n.!PLOYID Am> AVJ:RA.Gt: HOURLY r.ARNINGS

ON lVPA WHITE COLLAR JROJrorS, BY TYPES OJ' ffl.OJEC'l'S

Emluding Adm1n111trat1 ve Jmployeo11
Semimonthly Period Ending Auguat 31, 1936
(Subject to Revision)

Type

of Project

TOTAL
Profess! onal and Technical

Medical and dental
Library

Museum

Planning
Other!/
.lrt, Literary, and Recreat ional
.1rt
writing

Persona DDployed
Total
Humber l;!ex'Q!mt
M!D

A..-erage

Hourly
JllmliDgs

Women (~~n~11l

241,778 100.0

144,649

97,129

15.7

21,~1
3,
3,324
1,127
4,718
8,270

16.492
a;658
8,419
1,oe0
888
1,439
25,058
1,434
3,746
3_.,368
2,395
13,304
811

37.893
0,626
ll,743
2,215
5,606
9,709

376
4.9
0.9
2.3
4.0

33.5

64.8
62.3

~

55.5
65.8

12.1
69.0
69.8

14,777
37,345
2,802

6.1
15.3
1.2

561010
3,777
5,114
8,705
12,382
24,041
1,991

l:duoation&l

41,101

11.0

16,545

24,556

67.6

Research md Statistical

45,689

18.9

31,595

14,094

59.8

Clerical

25,574

10.6

12,499

13,075

58.1

Theater
MUaic
Recreational
Other!/

81,068

5,211 '"T.2"
0.,a60
3.7
s.o
12,073

88.2°
65.3
84.2
92.2

57.3
59.2

the WPA.
Adult
eduoation
classes in such subjects as
history, mathematics.,
economics, sociology, and English
were taught by 15,000 needy
teachers and were attended by
nearly 800.,000 persons.
Enrollment in literacy classes
exceeded 266,000 persons, and
the enrollment for vocational
instruction exceeded 260,000.
A total of 88,000 persons
participated in parent education courses, i.e., courses
dealing with homemaking, child
guide.nee, the purchase and
preparation of food, and related topics.
Workers' education classes benefited almost 61,000 men and women who
had little formal education
but were seriously interested
in social and industrial problems.
Nursery schools for
underprivileged
pre-school
children had an enrollment of
52,500 during the month of
May.

Recreation projects offer splendid
opporttmitiee
for assisting persons back to
!/ Includoa projects ola1sifiable under more t:tan one of the beadings
normal employment. With conabcrve.
tinued reduction in working
hours and increasing amounts of leisure time,
blind students taking graduate courses. Fifty workers on a Boston project have tr!Ulthere is reason to look forward to a steady
soribed books in Lat i n, Fr ench, Italian, and
demand for the trained leisure-time leaders
German, as well as in English. On all these
now employed as WPA instructors in handiprojects blind persons act as proofreaders.
crafts, dramatics, and music as playground
In Tennessee and Kentucky, packhorse library
supervisors, swimming instructors, lifeguards,
pro j ects are f urnishi ng reading material to
and camp counselors.
In New York City, more
the inhabitants of remot e mountain areas.
than 200 of the workers formerly attending
The carriers, after coll ecting their books
and manning reoreational facilities operated
and other literature f rom headquarters, travby the WPA are now pennanently employed by
el into the mountains, appearing regularly at
the New York City Department of Parks.
designated sub-oenters - churches.,
country
stores, or cros sroads - to distribute
and
In Indiana during Jtme 1936, over 1,100,collect books.
As many as 32 mountaineers
000 persons participated actively in 59 rechave been f ound wa i ting at a sub-oenter for
reation proj ects whioh employed 2,000 persons
the packhorse carr ier.
In one county alone
paid from WPA f'unds.
In addition 1,200,000
about 800 families are avai ling themselves of
spectators witnessed the games and competithe packhorse library service .
tions carried on by the participants.
other

101 453

4.3

6,599

Accoaplisluncnts

During May 1936, a typioal month, more
than 1,825,000 persons were enrolled for instruction under t he e ducational program of

3,854

66.0

During the first half of August, 700,000
persons in Minnesota participated in organized athletios , hobby clubs, arts and handicrafts, dramatics, and music, and an equal
number came into contact with the program as
speotators.

39

Feder•I A rt, Music, Theatre,

•nd W riters• Projects

Nation- wide cultural programs for white
collar workers are being carried on under
recogniz ed experts who head the Federal art,
music, theatre, and writers' projects. These
programs are discussed in some detail in the
following paragraphs due to the interest in
this phase of the white collar program.
The Federal art program employs painters, sculptors, graphic artists, craf'tsmen,
art teachers, art lecturers, museum workers,
and photographers. The objective of the program is to provide employment to persons of
these occupations in need, to educate the
public to a higher appreciation of art and to
encourage activities which lead to a greater
use and enjoyment of the visual arts by the
community at large.
The art work produced
either remains the property of the Federal
Government or is allocated to States and municipalities or institutions supported in
whole or in part by tax funds.
More than 51 000 artists are now employed, half of whom work on murals, sculpture,
easel paintings, and graphics.
A quarter of
the artists are engaged in. making posters,
desi gning stage sets, doing arts and craf'ts
work, or illustrating the Index of American
Design, a source-record showing the rise and
development of American decorative and ap·•
plied art.
others teach art classes. engage
in art research, or work in WPA art oenters
and galleries.
Nearly 200,000 different wrks were produced under the Federal art project between
October 1935 and August 1, 1936. These include more than 3,000 easel paintings, about
300 murals, 600 pieces of sculpture, 50,000
posters, 50,000 photographs, and 3 1 000 maps
and drawings.
The balance are primarily
prints of ori~inal cuts. Attendance at exhibitions and lectures in the 18 art oentars and
experimental galleries opened between December 1935 and August 1, 1936 in seven southern
States totaled nearly 300,000 persons.
The Federal music project employs about
15,000 instrumentalists, singers, music teaoh•
ers, and other workers in the field of music.
Each applicant is examined by audition boards
of established musicians in his COJIDllunity, to
determine whether he should be aided as a musician or given assistance on another type of
project. These tests determine also the kind

40

of project to which the applicant is assigned.
At t he end of June 1936 about 5,700
of the 15,000 WPA mus i cians were enrolled in
141 symphony and conoert orchestras; 2,800
persons in 77 symphonic, military, and ooncert bands ; 2. 000 pe rsons in 81 dance, theatre, end nove lty orche stras (i ncluding Tipica, Gypsy, Hungar ian, Hawai ian, and Cuban
marimba groups ); and the remainder in music
ensembles and chor uses or on teachi ng project s, and proj ect s for copyists, ar rangers ,
librar i a~s . and b i nder s .

WHITE COLLAR WORK

Since last October audiences totaling
well over 20, 000, 000 pers on s have heard the
30, 000 concerts and performances by units of
the Federal mus i c pro j eot.
In addition hundreds of r adi o concerts have been broadcast
and one hundred transcription records have
been produced for di stribution to smaller
stat ions.

A number of t he country' s best known conducto r s and concert artists have given their
servi ces t o t he Fede r al mus i c project. Unanticipated talent has been developed among
some of t he younger unemployed artists and
conductors hithe rto almost unknown in the music wor ld.
The Federal theatre pr oject employs 12,000 actors, playwrights , vaudeville and variety art i st s, circus entertainers, marion•
ette manipulators, stage technicians, and
other workers i n t he pr o f essional theatre and
allied f ields . In additi on to the production

of many kinds of theatrioal entertainment,
projeot workers oonduct research of value to
the .American theatre and give professional
instruction in the produotion and appreciation of drama for educational and reoreational purposes.
Through June 30, 1936, attendance at the 20,000 performances given in 30
states totaled
nearly 8,500,000 persons.
Since June 30, attendance throughout
the
United states has inoreased to an average of
more than 500,000 persons per week.
The type of play seleoted for presentation has varied with local demands, local
traditions , and available personnel. Raoial
and language groups are presenting plays based on their own life and literature. Vaudeville units have played to large audienoes,
chiefly in CCC and work camps, in public
parks, and in State and munioipal institutions.
In New York more than 400,000 children attended the WPA oirous projeot, a
single matinee attracting over 14,000 children.
The Federal writers' projeot has ooncentrated most of ite efforts upon the production of a comprehensive .American Guide which,
in addition to material concerning physical
facilities of interest to the traveler, will
include brief oomment on the historical background, landmarks, historical figures, oustoms, fclklore, scenery, climate, industrial
and agricultural developments, art museums,
sports, educational facilities, and other institutions of the community. The preparation
of the material needed for the Guide has required the services not only of writers, editors~ and historians, but also of &rchitects
to describe architectural landmarks, geologists to describe geological characteristics

of different regions, photographers to ta.ke
pictures of noteworthy montunents, and oartographers and draftsmen to make maps
and
oharts.
Guide writers have received the cooperation of local clubs and of uni.:versitiea
and oolleges, the latter helping particularly
to insure the accuracy of the information
presented in the Guide.
Employment on
the writers' project
reached its peak during Maroh and April 1936,
when more than 6,000 persons were engaged in
covering every county in the United States.
It is expeoted that by late December of the
current year approximately 160 separate books
of various kinds will have been produced by
the writers' project.
The first volume oi'
the American Guide, the section covering the
southeastern region, is at the present time
nearly ready in rough copy form. A number of
district and local guides for various parts
of the · country have already been published.
In Ohio a condensed book of tours is to appear during October and will be followed later by the Cleveland City Guide.
In New York
City 30,000 copies of a small pamphlet entitled "Your New York" have already been distributed.
Somewhat related to the writers' project
are two other Nation-wide projects, the Survey of state and Local Historical Records and
the Survey of Federal Archives.
These projects, which together employ 6,000 persons,
have brought to light many documents long
packed away in attics, vaults, and storage
warehouses.
Some of these forgotten doouments bear the signatures of George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas
Jefferson,
John Jay,
James Madison,
and
Andrew Jackson.

National Youth Administration

The impact of the depres sion was particularly hard
on young people.
During the
period of deolining employment it was natural for employers to release employees
with short work records and
those without dependents. The application of
this polioy on a large scale, together with

the inabi 11 ty of hundreds <:L thousands ot youths
to find steady employment after leaving school.
resulted in wide-spread unemployment among
the younger age groups in the population.
Prior to the establishment of the National Youth Administration, programs for the
benefit of unemployed young persons were undertaken by the Civilian Conservation Corps

,1

Federal E)nergency Relief Administra-

The four major objectives of the National Youth Administration are as follows:

The Emergency Conservation Work program,
initiated in 1933, provided employment in
Civilian Conservation Corps camps fo r unmarried young men whose families were i n need.
Youths enrolled i n the camps were pd.id at the
rate of $30 a month with the provision that
$25 of t his sum be sent to an "allottee" who
was, in most instances, one of the parents or
a dependent .

1. To provide ftmds for the part-time
employment . of needy • school, college, and
graduate students between 16 and 25 years of
age so that they can continue their education.

and the
tion.

In the f all of 1933 t he Federal Emergency Relief Admini stration supplied $60,000
on a dollar for dollar matching basis to the
University of Minnesota, to be used in assistThe suooess of
ing needy college student s.
this experimental program l ed t o its expansion and application on a Nation- wide scale
during the last half of the school year 193334 when 65,000 undergraduate students received aid. During t he academic year 1934-35 assiste.noe was r endered to 95, 000 undergraduate
coll ege students at a total cost of approximate l y $13 ,500,000.
Passage of the Emergency Relief Appropr i ation Act of 1935 made possible an expansion of those activities designed to assist
Under this act the National
young persons.
Youth Administration was established on June
26, 1935, by Executive order, to provide employment and educational opportunities for
The new organization was to
young people.
function as a divisio~ of the Works Progress
Administration.

2. To provide funds fbr the part-time
employment on work projects of young persons
between 18 and 25 years of age, chiefly from
relief famil i es , the projects being designed
not only to give these young people valuable
work experience, but to benefit youth generally and the local communities in which they
live.

s. To ea.tablish and enoourage the es•
tablishment of job training, counseling, and
placement services for youth.
4. To encourage the development and e~
tension·of constructive leisure-time activities.
Student

Aid

During the 1935-36 school year the National Youth Administration, which had taken
oveT the supervision o f student aid developed
under the FERA, extended the program to inolude high-school and graduate college students in addition to college undergraduates.

The NYA has aoted primarily as an administrative agency, supplying f'tmds and supervision where necessary for student aid and
work relief activities that have been initiated by local interests throughout the country . Work relief projects in practically all
ins tances were planned by local agencies and
submitted for approval and subsequent operation by t he National Youth Administration.
The Washington staff of the NYA has been
assisted by an executive committee of six
members and by a national advisory committee
of 35 members, all appointed by t he Pres i dent.
The NYA state Directors have been a ssisted in
their administrative work by State advisory
committees and by more than 1 1 600 local advi sory committees. The msnbers of these state
and local committees are appointed by NYA
state Directors to advise them on the various
aspects of the program.

42

LABORATC!lY WORK

The college student aid program operated
in all cases on a work project bas-i~, that is,
the performance of work was required for all
The selection of
money paid to students.
work to be done was lef't to the administering
officials of the cooperating schools. The
rate of pay for undergrad.ue..te students was
set at an average of $15 a month, with $20 a

month a s the ma.xi.mum for any one student.
For student s i n th~ first year of graduate
work t he same rates applied, with the additional provision thl.t this amount might be
s upplemented by not more than $10 a month
For
from funds all ocated for graduate aid.
advanced graduate students, the rate was set
at an average of $30 a month, with a maximtm1
of $40 a month to any one student.
The work covered a broad range of activity. st udents performed clerical and manual
The college program may
work of all kinds .
be illust r ated by Morton Junior College, Mort on Grove, Illinois, where 42 yount: women and
70 young men we re employed in a wide variety
Half of the \\Omen and about 20 of
of work.
Sixthe men had clerical and office jobs.
teen of t he group worked in the library and
wuseum, and 11 others were laboratory assist ants. others were engaged on researoh work.
Six young women v.o rked as junior counselors
Another
in t he offic e of the dean of girls.
group of g irls operated a lost-and-found department, and a ntm1ber worlred at reconditioning some 4,000 articles of clothing which
Eleven
were distr i buted to needy students.
men working on a shop project constructed approximately 1,000 toys for distribution among
needy chi ld r en.
Evanston,
At Northwestern University,
Illinois , students employed on the NYA pr.Ogram as si sted in an e laborate program of r esearch in t he natura l and social s ciences . At
Amherst College, in Massachusetts, students
catalogued t hree nearby museums, prepared
gr ound and floor plans of the campus and all
buildings b elonging to the school, and r eclaimed and landscaped 10 acres of ground
which were added to the campus.
The work perf ormed by the student s employed in the high-schoo l student aid program
students
embrace s many types of p1·ojects.
of
preparation
the
in
teachers
have as s isted
study courses an d bibliographies, and have
worked as library, gymnasium, and laboratory
aides. Secretarial and st enographic servic es
have been provided fo r t eachers and princiIn addition to work which is closely
pals.
connect ed with the operati on of the school,
students in many instances have perfonned
valuable work in commtmity projects in music,
art, drama, and museum exhibits.
The accompanying table shows the numb er
of the three respect i ve classes of students
who received aid during each month of the

The number under the
1935-36 school year.
program reached a peak in April when 404,000
students were receiving aid.
NtMBlR or STUDtm'S JUX;E1YIN1.> J.ID UNDJ:R THE STIJI>Dff
J.ID PROGRAM OJ' THI NilIONAL YOUTB .&DMINIS~ICI{

September 1935 to .Tune 1936
(Subject to Rnieion)

Total

Month

Mgii School

l!offete

26,163
75,033
118,273
157,766

104,969
111,500
118,415

61
3,592
4,677
5,220

188,216
226,535
256,123
'Z74,677
265,504
125,786

112,541.
118,575
116,970
122,635
125,625
80,507

4,804
5,041.
6,102
6,720
6,300
6,550

Stw!ente

1935
-reptCllllber

34,92'4

October

183,594
234,450
281,G.

HOfflllbe:r
Deoemher

~

.T..-aary
rebrua.ry

March
J.pril
May
.Tune

v

305,561
350,151
379,195
-404,032
397,4129

212,643

Graduate

j,/ Studenta Studnte
8,700

Inol'CIAe• a aa1l n\llllber of el.eaaltazy

eobool nll4nt••

Work Projects

Allocations of funds to the National
Youth Administration fbr work projects were
(1) community developmade fbr four types:
ment and recreational leadership, (2) rural
youth development, (3) public service training, and (4) research projects.
The National Youth Administration work
program was s omewhat delayed in order to enable the administration to center its attention on the initiation of the student aid
program. In December some 10,000 youths were
assigned to work on regular WPA projects at
the NYA wage s cale of approximate~ one-third
The
of the regular WPA hours and earnings.
number of persons employed on NYA work projects increased rapidly from abou.t 16,000 in
January of this year to a maximum number of
The table on the following
182,000 in June.
page shows the trend of employment on NYA
work projects from January through August 1936.
The general regulations governing employAs on
ment on NYA work projects are simple.
WPA projects, at least 90 percent of all persons employed must be members of families
The salacertified as eligible for relief.
ries paid and the hours worked were set at
WPA
approximately one-third tre standard
hours and wages applying in a given community
for a given occupation, with the additional
provision that the wage paid shall in no case

exceed $25
ployment.

per month

for the

part-time em-

NUMBER or PERSONS DIPLOYZD ON 1'U
1'0RX PRO.TmrS, BY SEX

W

Januazoy to J.U4tlllt 1936
(Su,1eot to Rma1on)

Month

Total

Jamiar;y

Male

leaale
6,142
30,137
66,167
75,124
76,479
82,654
83,324
72,323

15,681

9,539

1•~

416,531

Ma.rob
J.prll
May

76,668
165,347
180,353
174,367

June

182,477

Jul)'
J.ug'llst

II
!V

!V

179,936
154,241

99,180
105,229
97,888
99,823
96,612
81,918

Inolu4es adults employed in supenisory
an4 ■killed oapaoitiea
Pre~

Work projects represented such varied
activities as the extension and wider us e
of existing recreational facilities; landscaping of school grounds; roadside beautification; extension of social services to
youth by means of youth community centers;
assistance in the performance of clerical and
stenographic work in the local offices of
welfare agencies o.nd bureaus; historlcftl, municipal, archeological, health, and delinquency studies; sewing and nursery proje cts;
and toy projects involving the conditioning
and distribution of toys to children in needy
families.
A concrete illustration of one type of
project operating under the NYA is the establishment of youth centers in comnuni ties
where no meeting rooms wer e avai lable to the
These youth
young persons of the community.
the
throughout
instituted
been
centers have
alone,
country. In the State of Pennsylvania
for example, 191 youth center s were set up
af'ter surveys of the recreat ional situation
in many communities reve aled the need for
such centers. The youth centers are run on a
cooperative basis, with the building, lighting, and equipment donated by the connnunity .
They are usually in continuous daily operation, with youths employe d as recreational
Gymnasium inattendants and instructors.
struction is given to young persons in the
neighborhood and classes of various kinds ar e
conducted.

In Philadelphia, in a crowded Hegro res idential area entirely lacking in recreation-

44

al facilities for Negro youths, the parish
house was donated by St. Simon's Episcopal
The
Church to be used as a youth center.
project itself employs approximately 30 young
Negro men and women, and approximately 300
Negro youths use the center daily.
Illustrative of the types of projects
operating in smaller communities is one being
where
Colorado,
conducted in Fort Morgan,
52 youths are employed in building an outdoor
swimming pool. The area was first drained of
The
stagnant water and thoroughly cleaned.
new pool is now filled with warm water coming
Sand beaches tofrom the city power plant.
gether with diving boards end towers have
Adjoining the swimming
been constructed.
pool are several acres of picnic grounds
which have been thoroughly cleaned and provided with picnic tables and park equipment
constructed by the youths employed on the
Several acres of recreational faproject.
including
cilities ,have also been provided,
two double cement tennis courts, a soft-ball
diamond with lights for night playing, and
wading pools for children. This recreational
area is in constant use by hundreds of boys
and girls.
Extension of library facilities has been
an NYA activity of Nation-wide importance and
has given employment to the youth of every
The project has involved establishState.
ment of book-rack libraries in rural communities where library facilities are alnost nonexistent; collection, repair, and distribution of books in rural areas where no reading
facilities were available; expansion of in•
adequate staffs in public libraries to keep
libraries open for more hours per day; and
establishment of small circulating libraries.
Thus, in Atlanta, Georgia, through the
cooperation of civic clubs, church clubs, and
and
interested individuals, 14,000 books
Thirty-one
30,000 magazines were collected.
girls were employed under the supervision of
a competent librarian to repair and bind
books and magazines, and to ship them to various sponsors in nearly 100 rural communities as nuclei for small circulating libraIn each of these communities a small
ries.
nwnber of youths were employed by the National Youth Administration to operate the projeab.
Job Placement

To assist young persons

in finding jobs

in industry, registration with the \Jnited
states Employment Service was J11ELde oompulsory
~r persons employed on the program, excluding only those reoeiving student aid.
Many
of the State Youth Directors have appointed
State vocational oouneelora to cooperate with
the vocational counsel services of such private organization s as the YMCA and YWCA.
In
38 oities in 14 States the NYA established
Junior Plaoement Offices by plaoing vocational youth oounselors in the offices of the

STUDENT LIBRA.llY WORKERS
United Stateb Employment "Service and the National Reemployment Service.
The
Junior
Placement Offices had placed 11,652 young
persons in jobs in industry by October 1,
1936, the September total alone amounting to
3,132 persons.
NYA employment
counselors

visited 10,966 private employers
jobs for young people.

to solicit

Apprentice Tr•inin9

The objeotive of preparing youth for
placement in industry has been carried out by
stimulating apprentioe training through the
Federal COlllll.ittee on Apprentioe Training.
This OOlllllittee, which had been established as
part of the National Recovery Administrati on.
by Executive order in June 1934, became a
part of the National Youth Administrati on
and its activities were financed by a grant
of $53,000 from NYA f\mds.
The work of the
committee has been primarily in the field of
coordinating the activities of existing public and private apprentioe-t raining bodies
and in stimulating the fonnation of new organizations devcted to this purpose. A close
working relationship has been maintained with
a number.of craft unions that have sponsored
apprenticesh ip programs.

!rhe National Youth Administrati on received net allocations
$42,331,268 from
funds of the ERA Aot of 1935 to carry on its
program.
Of this amount $25,106,268 was set
aside for student aid and $17,225,000 was
allooated for youth work projects. By August
31, 1936, the President had allocated more
than $13,500,000 for the NYA from the ERA Act
of 1936.
This sum inc1.ud~d 13,000,000 for
student a.id and tlo, 501,239 for work projeots.

of

Participation of Sponsors in the Works Program

The great bulk of the projects prosecuted under the Works Program a.re cooperative
undertakings in which local and State authorIn particular
ities play an essential role.
the projects of the WPA and the Non-Federal
Division of PWA have been devised and put into operation by combined Federal and looal authorities. These projects have been initiated and supported by public bodies in the localities in which they operate - a procedure
which insures selection of projects in keeping with local needs and preferences. Local
sponsors have provided a considerable portion
of the project costs either in the fonn of
cash, materials and equipment. or supervisory
personnel. Successful operation of the works program would be next to impossible without the oooperation,advice, critici sm,
and material support of
thousands of local sponsors.

:,iSpDa_:,ns ol WPA Proiccts
Any governmental authority, such as a State.
county, city, village, or
township, may act as sponsor for a WPA project.Nongovernmental groups such
as boards of trade, clubs,
societies, churches, orphanages, veterans' organizations or other private,
sectarian, oivic or similar organizations may not serve as sponsors,
though the cooperation of these latter groups
is frequently enlisted in preparing projeot proposals and in advising with sponsors
and WPA officials as the work on a project
progresses.
Ci ties, villages, boroughs and towns
WPA projeota.
sponsor more than half the
State govermnents sponsor about 12 peroent of
all projects, oounties about a fourth, and

46

townships about a tenth. The remaining proj•
ects a.re sponsored by various special bodies,
such as school districts and sanitary disState and local departments of pubtricts .
lic lliOrks, highway commissions, boards of education, boards of health. welfare departments. park boards• and recreation committees
are representative agenoiea whioh frequently
have sponsored projects.
Before any WPA project can be started.
cor.ipl~te plans for its operation must be prepared by the sponsor in cooperation with the
officials of the nearest district WPA office.
It is the responsibility of the sponsor to
supply detailed outlines,
blueprints a n d specifications if these are required for the satisfactory operation of the proI n most
posed project.
cases the sponsors a.re also expected to supply a
substantial she.re of the
material~ supplies, hquipm&n:t, and tools that may
be necessary. If any purchase of land is required,
this must be undertaken by
the sponsor. As the project progresses, the sponsor is expected to provide
whatever technical supervision and advice are required. If travel is necessary from the homes o f
workers to projects located in isolated areas, transportation is usually provided by sponsors'
trucks.
Prior to the final approval <£every project. each ot the following requirements is
The project must be
carefully considered.
to the combenefit
genuine
of
and
useful
funds
Federal
of
she.re
predominant
A
munity.
must go for wages of relief persons. The nature of the work must be suited to the capabilities of available relief workers in the

corranunity.
Projects must be planned with
respect to the number, a ge, sex, and occupational characteristios of relief persons in
the locality where the proposed project is to
be executed.
Such information is available
at the district offices of the Works Progress
Administration.

SPONSORS' P'UHDS JS PmC!N'r OJ' TOUL ESTIMATJ!D COST
OJ' WP.l PROJECTS SELECTED 10R OPJ:RATION,
'J!f T!P&s 01' FROJJL'TS

y

Type of Projeot

.u

Spon10r1 • !\mda
Peroent of Tota1
Eatimat ed Co st

TO'l'.U.

Higblaya, roads, and atreeta
Public builcllng1
Parb and other recreational

faoilltiea

Conaerntion
S•er aystmia and other utill ties
.Airport• and other transportation
lfhite oollar
Good1
Sanitation and health
Miaoell.a.Deoua

y

21.9

22.e

u.1

15.3
23. 7
l4e6
9.4
8.5

zs.s

17 e9

Baaed on data for projeota 1ele0ted for operation
through .lpril 151 1936.

No project can be approved which involves: work for which local funds are normally appropriated; work which is generally
included in the governmental operations of
sponsoring agencies (this does not include
expansion of physical facilities); or work
which would r-esul t in displacing regular employees.
Tabulations of the estimated costs of
WPA projects selected for operation by State
Administrators indicate that sponsors have
pledged over 18 percent of the total costs of
all projects.
The percentage of sponsors•
funds is by no means uniform, however, for
the different types of projects. The highest
proportions of sponsors• funds are for construction projects involving work on highways, roads, and streets, public buildings,
and sewer systems and other public utilities.
More than a fifth of all costs of construction projects are met by sponsors, in contrast with approximately a tenth of all costs
of white collar projects, goods projects, and
others of a non-construction nature. Almost
88 percent of all funds pledged by sponsors
were designated for expenditures on construction projects.
The preceding table indicate, the proportion ot total oosta accounted

for by sponsors' funds for eaoh main type of
project selected for operation.
Construction projects a.re also the kind
upon which large expenditures are re quired
for supplies and materials.
Sponsors have
undertnken to provide a large share of these
non-labor expenses.
Over 47 percent of all
non-labor project costs involved in the entire WPA program will be met from sponsors'
funds.
Federal funds are consequently left
free chiefly for expenditures on direct labor
costs, with the result that about four-fifths
of all Federal funds spent on WPA projects go
for wages.
Through Ju"iy 31, 1936, re ports had been
received for 13,462 projects on which work
had been physically completed or work had
been ended after completion of some useful
pa.rt of the job originally undertaken. Generally speaking, these projects are small
ones which were started and completed quickly
during the early days of the program.
As the following table indicates, sponsors have borne over 21 percent of the total
costs of all projects reported as completed
or discontinued through July 31, 1936.
J:XPERDITtm:s ON 13,462 COMPLl!TED OR mscxn«nrom
WP.l PROJJX:TS, 1!f SOURCI'-' 01' 1'Ull)S

y

Souroe

.b>UJrt

Percent

$66,350,999

100.0

52,273,821

78.8

14,077,178

21.2

Federal tandl
Sponllor1 • tund1

!/ Based

on reports reoehed through J'Uly 31, 1936.
Data for M&11achuett1 and. for Nn York az-e not
inolwled in thi1 tabulation.

Sponsors of

PWA

Projects

The Non-Federal Division of the Public
Works Administration was authorized by the
Emergency Relief Appropriation Acts to make
loans and grants for projects sponsored and
operated by States, counties, cities, Territories and Possessions. Under the provisions
of this program, grants of Federal funds may
be made to oover not more than 45 percentof
the total costs of any project proposed by
a local sponsor and approved by the NonFederal Division of the Public Works Adminis-

47

tration.
The r emaining 66 percent must be
provided by the loo a 1 or State govermnente.l
body sponsoring the project. A loan to aid
in f i nancing the remaining 55 percent, however, may be made by the PWA from funds provided by previous appropriations. Actually,
however, most of such funds have been raised
locally.
PWA non-Federal projects differ
dis t inctly from WPA projects in that prosecution of PWA pro jects is in the hands of the

looal sponsoring bodies - subject
only to
general r egulations and limitations of PWA
intended t o i nsure fair treatment of labor,
sound engineering oonstruction, aad similar
nece s sary elements.
Details in regard to t he financing of
projects operated. by the PWA, && reported
t hrough August 13, 1936, are included in Table
16 in Appendix B.

HIGH SCHOOL BUILT BY WPA

48

Federal Agency Programs

respective roles played by Federal
agencies, other than the Works Progress Administration, that are cooperating in the
prosecution of the Works Program are set
forth in the following pages and the worlc
performed by eaoh of the agencies is discussed in some detail. Although the activities of the Works Progress Adrn1n1gtration are
generally known to be part of the Works Program, it is perhaps not so generally understood that many perm.anent and other emergency
agencies of the Federal Gover?J1Dent a.re also
participating in the Works Program.
The

Kinds

of Activities

The projects appro-ved for prosecution by
the permanent departments have almost invariably involved extension of their normal activities • .As a coneequenoe the work of the
bureaus or departanents has• in many instances•
been advanced several yea.rs. This is particularly true of those agencies llhose work is
connected with conservation and reclamation.
While att