A Series of Five Public Programs
Telling the Story of the Federal and Kansas Writer's Projects
during the Great Depression of the 1930's

May 12 - June 28, 2009

Sponsored by Wichita State University Libraries and their partners,
 Wichita Public Library and the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Society

The Wichita State University Libraries and community partners are pleased to bring A Soul of a People: Writing America's Story to Wichita and Kansas.

Family in front of shack home,
Oklahoma City, 1939.
Courtesy of Library of Congress

We will be sponsoring a series of programs through May and June to highlight the New Deal Federal Writers' Project, an important but often overlooked program designed to put Depression era individuals to work by noting down the stories and experiences of everyday Americans.

With these programs, we will join the American library Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and libraries across the country to explore what the Writers' Project can tell us about life in the 1930s, as well as what came before.  The national project will culminate in the broadcasting of a documentary called Soul of a People, produced by Spark Media and airing in the fall of 2009 on the Smithsonian Channel HD.

The Program Series

Wichita State University Libraries has been selected as one of 30 libraries nationwide to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the Soul of a People documentary. 

All programs are free and open to the public. 
Please see the Events section for program dates, locations and descriptions.

In addition, Special Collections & University Archives at the WSU Libraries has created an  online exhibition titled: "Kansas as a Work in Progress during the Great Depression,"      which can be found at: http://specialcollections.wichita.edu/exhibits/soulofapeople.html.

This digital exhibit shows images of how Kansans responded to the demands and hardships of life during the 1930's.  This website contains both a photo gallery and excerpts from the research summaries submitted by the staff writers who worked on the Kansas Writers' Project for the Works Progress Administration.

Soul of a People: Writing America's Story is a major documentary television program about the Federal Writers' Project produced by Spark Media, Washington D.C., scheduled for broadcast in Fall 2009 on the Smithsonian Channel HD.  Soul of a People programs in libraries are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.

If you have any questions concerning the series please Contact Us.


              New York City,                 American Guide Series

Courtesy of Library of Congress