poster from the New Deal Stage
Puchasing tickets to FTP's Circus in New York City, photo from George Mason Univ. SC&A
poster from the New Deal Stage

The Federal Theatre Project was funded by the gigantic $4 billion works program appropriation by Congress in April 1935. This program provided $1.1 billion to the Works Progress Administration (later called the Work Projects Admininstration, or WPA), $1 billion to the Fderal Emergency Relief Administration (the FERA and the WPA were both administered by Harry Hopkins), and $.5 billion each to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Public Works Administration (PWA), and the Bureau of Public Roads (BPA in the Department of Agriculture). The WPA 1935-1940 would employ 7.8 million different individuals on a wide variety of works projects in partnership with states and cities: constructed 500,000 miles of roads, 4000 schools and improved 30,000 other schools, 132 hospitals and improved 1670 others, 39 electric power plants and improved 144 others, 1800 stadiums, 18,000 miles of sewers, sealed 211,000 abandoned mine openings, canned 42 million quarts of food, sewed 222 million garmets, renovated 67 million books, operated thousands of hot lunch programs and adult education classes. The WPA included the National Youth Administration run by Aubrey Williams to employ urban youth as a countrepart to the CCC that employed youth on rural projects. The WPA also included Federal Project Number 1 announced in September 1935 to employ professionals in 4 fields: music, theater, arts, literature (the 5th field of the historical records survey was added later). Each field was adminstered by a director headquartered in Washington DC.
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History Department | Filmnotes | revised 1/22/2000 by Schoenherr