The WPA Guide to Illinois
ebook ∣ The Prairie State
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During the 1930s in the United States, the Works Progress Administration developed the Federal Writers' Project to support writers and artists while making a national effort to document the country's shared history and culture. The American Guide series consists of individual guides to each of the states. Little-known authors—many of whom would later become celebrated literary figures—were commissioned to write these important books. John Steinbeck, Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ralph Ellison are among the more than 6,000 writers, editors, historians, and researchers who documented this celebration of local histories. Photographs, drawings, driving tours, detailed descriptions of towns, and rich cultural details exhibit each state's unique flavor.
The Prarie State, nestled in the heart of the Midwest among the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, is finely represented in the WPA Guide to Illinois. The section on Chicago could stand alone as a guidebook in itself, spanning over 100 pages and incorporating the history and tourist attractions of the city. An essay about Abraham Lincoln by then governor Henry Horner, 26 total tours of the state, and a list of 50 books about the state of Illinois are also included in this extensive guide.