Around the World with the WPA: Books and Artifacts from Government-Funded Projects during the FDR Era is on exhibition at the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book, located at the Broward County Main Library, 6th Floor, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. The exhibition showcases published works, architectural and transportation models, mannequins, costume plates and posters with a national and international flavor. All artifacts and books were created by artists, writers and craftsmen for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, which provided relief and employment for many during the Great Depression.

One of the WPA’s special programs, the Federal Writers' Project, published a set of state guides known as the American Guide Series. These colorful books celebrated the state’s history and culture and promoted its major cities and attractions as well as including numerous automobile tours. The WPA also sponsored early multicultural projects that recognized indigenous and ethnic traditions. Along with the books and materials focused on the United States, Around the World with the WPA features unique artifacts focusing on international cultures and countries.

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Almost all of the exhibited printed pieces were donated to Broward County Library in 1986 by Jean Fitzgerald, a former officer of the U.S. Navy, a bibliophile, a former Broward County Library Advisory Board member and founder of the Broward Public Library Foundation. His original gift of books, pamphlets and ephemera form the nucleus of the WPA collection that encompasses all aspects of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal (1933 – 1945). Moreover, Jean and Carol Fitzgerald were also the catalysts behind the Bienes Museum’s 1998 acquisition of its first WPA Museum Extension Project artifacts. Broward County Library is profoundly grateful to Jean and Carol Fitzgerald for their support and generous contributions.

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