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Living History Project

Examining a Life History

Part I


Begin on the American Memory Home Page.

  1. Choose Culture, Folklife.

  2. Scroll down and select Life Histories, Federal Writers' Project ~ Manuscripts ~ 1936 - 1940.

  3. On the collection home page, choose Select a state.

  4. On the map displayed, select a state. The text about the life histories of the state contains various subjects that could be keywords for searching (the subjects are in capital letters).

  5. Choose Search all WPA Life Histories.

  6. Type a keyword in the search box to locate a list of life histories on that subject and click the Search button.

    NOTE: Typing in the keyword will give a list of all life histories with that keyword, not only those of the state selected. To narrow the search to the state selected, type the keyword first, then the state name.

  7. Skim several of the life histories until you find one that interests you.

Part II


  1. What is the title of the life history that interests you?

  2. What is the state where this life history was recorded?

  3. What is the name of the person who was interviewed?

  4. What is this person's profession?

  5. Who was the interviewer?

  6. What interests you about this person's life history?

  7. Did the interviewer describe the setting where the interview took place?

  8. If yes, briefly describe the setting:

  9. Does the description help you to visualize the place?

  10. If no, where do you think the interview took place?

  11. Describe the place you imagine and why you think it took place in that setting:

  12. How does the description help you to visualize the place?

  13. Did the interviewer:
    (circle one)
    1. quote the person interviewed telling their story
    2. mix his/her words with quotes from the person interviewed
    3. re-tell the story without quoting the person interviewed

Write an example of the writing style used in the life history here:

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Last updated 09/26/2002