The major service programs -- within the section known since July, 1942, as the War Services Project -- found to meet most satisfactorily the needs of various communities and to utilize the skills of "white-collar' workers available for assignment were the following:

  1. Recreation (including music).
  2. Adult education (including citizenship education and workers, service).
  3. Graphic Services.
  4. Writers' program.(more information available from Indiana State University's library)
  5. Clerical services
    1. Historical and cultural records, surveys, and inventories (including vital statistics and plat books).
    2. Library services.
    3. Tactical maps for the Army.
    4. Real property inventory (including low income housing survey).
    5. Services to defense organizations.

The above services were of sufficient range to provide employment opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled "white-collar" workers, and to furnish communities throughout the state help in activities for which there was the greatest local need.

Recreation services offered by WPA supplemented existing city recreation programs and promoted the organization of recreation activities in urban and rural communities having insufficient funds to finance their own recreation programs. The services included recreational activities for all age groups in atheletics, dramatics, music, social recreation, special events, handicrafts, hobbies, work shops, game rooms, playgrounds, and recreation centers. As a result of interest created by WPA, more than seventy communities appropriated tax funds for their part of the recreation program.

The music phase of the recreation project was originally operated as a separate project, inaugurated to provide emergency work for unemployed musicians. It provided teachers, community music leaders, and performers in dance bands, concert bands, concert orchestras, and vocal groups to communities in approximately one-third of the counties in Indiana.

Services offered by adult education teachers were aimed primarily toward furnishing educational opportunities to those adults who, for a variety of reasons, had been deprived of such opportunities in youth. The most successful work was done in such practical fields as reading, writing, arithmetic, home and family education, vocational education. first aid, gardening, and workers' education.

Workers' education developed. in January, 1940, into a separate workers' service project, sponsored on a state-wide basis by the Indiana Department of Commerce and Industries, Division of Labor. It furnished a wide range of services to workers' groups in establishing and operating libraries, teaching classes, conducting social science work shops, conferences, forums, recreation and craft activities, and workers' holiday camps. It concentrated its efforts largely in industrial centers throughout the state.

Specialized instruction was also furnished by the national citizenship education project to aliens endeavoring to fulfill their educational requirements for United States citizenship. (video clip, 964k) This phase of educational activity successfully prepared approximately 13,000 aliens in Indiana for the educational examination for American citizenship, 6,000 of these being first taught to read and write.

WPA clerical services, utilizing both skilled and unskilled workers, enabled practically all counties in Indiana to sort, file, index, freshen, and revise public records or records kept in the public interest. Inventories of county and municipal archives, including vital statistics and plat books, were made. Later in the program surveys were made of civilian organizations which could be of assistance in the war effort.

Library services, including the preservation and repair of library materials and indexing and transcribing services, were furnished public and school libraries. In addition, extended services were offered to unequipped libraries and to communities where no regular library services were available, through the circulation of 30,000 project-owned books, some of them being brought to remote defense areas by bookmobile. (video clip, 977k)

Various other clerical services were furnished, some of the more important ones providing for unemployment surveys, the compilation of naturalization records, the making of road and bridge indexes, traffic surveys, and juvenile delinquency studies. Special assistance to army camps, defense councils, and other "war effort" bodies was furnished soon after the declaration of war.

(Source: Final Report of the Indiana Work Projects Administration, John K. Jennings, State Administrator, March, 1943.)

Defense Health & Welfare Project || War Services Project

Service Projects

WPA Exhibit Homepage


Lilly Library Homepage || Lilly Library's History Collections