American Guide Series

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Cover of the Illinois state guide

The American Guide Series was a group of books and pamphlets published in 1937–41 under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), a Depression-era works program in the United States. The American Guide Series books were compiled by the FWP, but printed by individual states, and contained detailed histories of each of the then 48 states of the Union with descriptions of every major city and town. In total, the project employed over 6,000 writers. The format was uniform, comprising essays on the state's history and culture, descriptions of its major cities, automobile tours of important attractions, and a portfolio of photographs.

Many books in the project have been updated by private companies or republished without updating. Alaska and Hawaii were not U.S. states during the period and thus were not covered by the project.

Titles[edit]

States[edit]

State Title Google Books HathiTrust Internet Archive
Alabama Alabama; a Guide to the Deep South, New York: Hastings House, 1941  Google Books HathiTrust
Arizona Arizona, the Grand Canyon State (4th ed.). New York: Hastings House. 1956.  1940 ed. via Google Books HathiTrust
Arkansas Arkansas: a Guide to the State, New York, 1941, OCLC 478887  Google Books HathiTrust
California California: Guide to the Golden State, New York: Hastings House, 1939  Internet Archive
Colorado Colorado: a Guide to the Highest State. New York: Hastings House. 1945.  1941 ed. via Google Books Internet Archive
+ 1970 ed. via Internet Archive
Connecticut Connecticut: a Guide to its Roads, Lore, and People. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1938.  Google Books HathiTrust
Delaware Delaware: A Guide to the First State. NY: Viking Press. 1938.  Google Books
Florida Florida; a Guide to the Southernmost State, 1939  Google Books Internet Archive
Georgia Georgia: a Guide to Its Towns and Countryside. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 1940.  Google Books
Idaho Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers. 1937.  Internet Archive
Illinois Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co. 1939.  Google Books Internet Archive
Indiana Indiana: a Guide to the Hoosier State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1941.  Google Books HathiTrust
Iowa Iowa: a Guide to the Hawkeye State, New York: Viking, 1938  Google Books HathiTrust
Kansas A Guide to the Sunflower State, 1939. Google Books
Kentucky Kentucky: a Guide to the Bluegrass State. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. 1939.  Google Books HathiTrust Internet Archive
Louisiana Louisiana: a Guide to the State. NY: Hastings House. 1941.  Google Books HathiTrust
Maine Maine: a Guide 'Down East'. Boston: Houghton Mifllin. 1937.  Google Books HathiTrust
Maryland A Guide to the Old Line State, 1940 Google Books
Massachusetts Massachusetts: a Guide to its Places and People, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1937  Google Books HathiTrust
Michigan A Guide to the Wolverine State, 1941 Google Books
Minnesota A State Guide, 1938 Google Books
Mississippi Mississippi; a Guide to the Magnolia State, New York: Viking, 1949, OCLC 478887  1938 ed. via Google Books Internet Archive
Missouri Missouri: A Guide to the 'Show Me' State, New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941  Google Books Internet Archive
Montana Montana: a State Guide Book. NY: Viking Press. 1939.  HathiTrust Internet Archive
Nebraska A Guide to the Cornhusker State, 1939 Google Books
Nevada Nevada: a Guide to the Silver State, Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1957  1940 ed. via Google Books HathiTrust
New Hampshire New Hampshire: a Guide to the Granite State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1938.  Google Books HathiTrust
New Jersey New Jersey: a Guide to its Present and Past. NY: Hastings House. 1946.  1939 ed. via Google Books HathiTrust
New Mexico New Mexico: a Guide to the Colorful State. NY: Hastings House. 1940.  Google Books HathiTrust
New York New York: a Guide to the Empire State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1940.  HathiTrust
North Carolina North Carolina: a Guide to the Old North State. 1939.  Google Books Internet Archive
North Dakota North Dakota: a Guide to the Northern Prairie State, State Historical Society of North Dakota, 1938  Google Books
Ohio Ohio Guide, New York: Oxford University Press, 1940  Google Books
Oklahoma Oklahoma: a Guide to the Sooner State, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941  Google Books Internet Archive
Oregon Oregon: End of the Trail. Portland: Binfords & Mort. 1951.  1940 ed. via Google Books HathiTrust
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania: a Guide to the Keystone State, New York: Oxford University Press, 1940  Google Books
Rhode Island Rhode Island. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1937. OCLC 691847.  Google Books Internet Archive
South Carolina South Carolina: a Guide to the Palmetto State, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941  HathiTrust Internet Archive
South Dakota South Dakota Guide. 1938.  Google Books Internet Archive
Tennessee Tennessee: a Guide to the State, New York: Viking, 1939  Google Books HathiTrust
Texas Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State, New York: Hastings House, 1940  Google Books HathiTrust Internet Archive
Utah Utah: A Guide to the State, 1941 Google Books
Vermont Vermont: a Guide to the Green Mountain State. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Riverside Press. 1937.  Internet Archive
Virginia Virginia: a Guide to the Old Dominion, Oxford University Press, 1941  via Google Books Internet Archive
Washington Washington: a Guide to the Evergreen State, Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1941  HathiTrust
West Virginia West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State. New York: Oxford University Press. 1941.  Google Books
Wisconsin A Guide to the Badger State, 1941 Google Books
Wyoming Wyoming: a Guide to Its History, Highways and People, 1941  Google Books

Cities[edit]

State City Title Google Books HathiTrust Internet Archive Other
Arkansas North Little Rock Guide to North Little Rock. 1936. OCLC 11575040.  Hathi
California Los Angeles Los Angeles: A Guide to the City and Its Environs. 1941.  Internet Archive
California San Diego San Diego: A California City. 1937.  HathiTrust
California San Francisco San Francisco: the Bay and its Cities. 1940.  1947 ed. via HathiTrust Internet Archive
California Santa Barbara Santa Barbara: A Guide to the Channel City and its Environs. 1941.  Internet Archive
Delaware Newcastle New Castle on the Delaware. 1936. 
District of Columbia Washington Washington, City and Capital. 1937.  HathiTrust
Florida Key West A Guide to Key West. 1941. 
Florida Miami Planning Your Vacation in Florida; Miami and Dade County including Miami Beach and Coral Gables. 1941.  Internet Archive
Florida St Augustine Seeing St. Augustine. 1937.  HathiTrust
Georgia Atlanta Atlanta: Capital of the South. 1949.  Internet Archive
Georgia Augusta Augusta. 1938. OCLC 1411325. 
Georgia Savannah Savannah. 1937.  HathiTrust
Illinois Galena HathiTrust
Illinois Princeton HathiTrust
Iowa Dubuque[1]
Iowa Estherville A Guide to Estherville, Iowa. 1939. 
Iowa McGregor A Guide to McGregor. 1940. 
Kentucky Henderson Henderson: A Guide to Audubon's Home Town in Kentucky. 1941. 
Kentucky Lexington Lexington and the Bluegrass Country. 1938.  HathiTrust
Kentucky Louisville Louisville: A Guide to Falls City. 1940. 
Louisiana New Orleans New Orleans City Guide. 1938.  HathiTrust Internet Archive
Maine Portland Portland City Guide. 1940.  Internet Archive
Nebraska Lincoln Lincoln City Guide. 1937. 
New Jersey Princeton Princeton and its Neighbors. [1]
New York Albany HathiTrust
New York New York City The New York City Guide: A Comprehensive Guide to the Five Boroughs of the Metropolis; Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Richmond. 1939.  HathiTrust Internet Archive
New York Rochester[1]
North Dakota Bismarck[1]
Ohio Cincinnati Cincinnati: A Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors. 1943.  HathiTrust
Oklahoma Tulsa Tulsa: A Guide to the Oil Capital. 1938. 
Pennsylvania Erie Erie: A Guide to the City and County. 1938.  HathiTrust Internet Archive
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia: A Guide to the Nation's Birthplace.  Internet Archive
Texas Beaumont Beaumont: A Guide to the City and Its Environs. 1939. OCLC 1386509. 
Texas Denison[1]
Texas Houston Houston, a history and guide. 1942.  University of North Texas
Texas San Antonio San Antonio: A History and Guide.  HathiTrust
Wisconsin Portage HathiTrust

Regions and territories[edit]

Region Locale Title Google Books HathiTrust Internet Archive Other
Northeast Bergen County Panorama. 1941.  Internet Archive
Northeast Berkshire Hills The Berkshire Hills. 1939.  HathiTrust
Northeast Cape Cod Cape Cod Pilot: A Loquacious Guide. 1937. 
West Death Valley Death Valley: A Guide. 1939. 
West Ghost Towns of Colorado. 1947. 
West Guide to Alaska: Last American Frontier. 1939.  Google Books
Midwest Guide to Cedar Rapids and Northwest Iowa. 1937. 
Northeast New England Here's New England! A Guide to Vacationland. 1939. 
South Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Key West. 1937.  HathiTrust
Midwest Arrowhead Country Minnesota Arrowhead Country. 1941. 
South Mississippi Gulf Coast: Yesterday and Today, 1699-1939. 1939.  HathiTrust
West Monterey Peninsula Monterey Peninsula. 1941. 
Northeast New York Panorama. 1938.  Internet Archive
South Ocean Highway The Ocean Highway: New Brunswick, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida. 1938. 
Midwest; West Oregon Trail, US 30: The Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. 1939.  Google Books
Boriquen, Puerto Rico Puerto Rico: A Guide to the Island of Boriquen. 1940. 
Northeast; South U.S. Route 1 U.S. One: Maine to Florida. 1938.  HathiTrust

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Federal Writers' Project (1938). Catalog: American Guide Series. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Christine Bold (1999), The WPA Guides: Mapping America, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 1578061946 
  • Andrew Kelly, "Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture", University Press of Kentucky, 2015. ISBN 978-0-8131-5567-8

External links[edit]