Federal Music Project (U.S.)

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The prime objective of the Federal Music Project (1935-1939) and the subsequent WPA Music Program (1939-1943) was "...to give employment to professional musicians registered on the relief rolls." The project employed these musicians as instrumentalists, singers, concert performers and teachers of music. The general purpose of the Music Project was to establish high standards of musicianship, to rehabilitate musicians by assisting them to become self-supporting, to retrain musicians and to educate the public in the appreciation of musical opportunities.

From the description of Federal Music Project collection, 1935-1948 (bulk 1936-1941). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71128266

The Federal Music Project was formed in 1935 under Federal Project No. One of the Works Progress Administration to employ, train, and rehablitate unemployed musicians.

From the description of Federal Music Project records, 1939-1942. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122515171

Agency History

The Work Projects Administration (known as the Works Progress Administration until July 1, 1939) was established May 6, 1935. On July 1, 1939 it was made part of the Federal Works Agency with responsibility for the Government's work-relief program. It succeeded the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and the Civil Works Administration (CWA), both established in 1933. The Work Projects Administration (WPA) was officially abolished June 30, 1943 but the Division for Liquidation of the WPA was set up in the Federal Works Agency and functioned until June 30, 1944.

The WPA operated at four organizational levels—the central administration in Washington, D.C., the regional offices, the state administrations and the district offices. Except for certain federally-sponsored projects, state and local governments helped finance and supervise WPA work projects. The Federal Arts program was approved as the WPA-sponsored Federal Project No. 1 on Sept. 12, 1935 to provide employment for qualified artists, musicians, actors, and authors on local relief rolls. It superceded all arts projects operating under FERA or WPA state administrations and consisted of the Federal Art Project (FAP), the Federal Music Project (FMP), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) and the Federal Writers' Projects (FWP). The Writers Project included the Historical Records Survey (HRS) until Oct. 1936, when the Survey was made an independent unit. All the arts projects known as Federal Project No. 1 were terminated June 30, 1939. With the exception of the FTP, which was abolished in July 1939, the arts programs continued as state projects. The National Archives is the repository of the records of the WPA Federal Project No. 1, 1935-1940 and consists of 792 linear feet. Within these records are records of the Federal Music Project (FMP) which include correspondence, narrative, statistical and miscellaneous reports on the general program and its sponsorship, and newspaper clippings.

When all projects sponsored by the WPA were terminated on Aug. 31, 1939, a new organizational structure emerged as art projects within state WPA programs, and the FMP became known as the WPA Music Program. The prime objective of the Federal Music Project (1935-1939) and the subsequent WPA Music Program (1939-1943) was "designed to give employment to professional musicians registered on the relief rolls. The project employed these musicians as instrumentalists, singers, concert performers, and teachers of music. The general purpose of the Music Project was to establish high standards of musicianship, to rehabilitate musicians by assisting them to become self-supporting, to retrain musicians and to educate the public in the appreciation of musical opportunities. Component activities of the FMP were symphony orchestras, small orchestral ensembles, string quartets, chamber ensembles, dance orchestras, bands, theatre orchestras, music teaching, music copying, maintenance of music libraries, piano tuning, vocal ensembles, vocal soloists, operatic and light opera ensembles, vocal quartets, grand opera, opera comique and chamber opera." Dr. Nikolai Sokoloff, former conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, was appointed director of the FMP. In addition to the appointment of five administrative staff, Dr. Sokoloff appointed five regional directors and approximately 23 state directors. It was not necessary to establish new organizations in each state because large music programs had already operated under the CWA and the Emergency Relief Administration (ERA).

The Historical Records Survey (HRS) initially was part of the Federal Writers' Project; later, it became a separate project of the WPA on equal footing with the four other projects. Its basic purpose was the preparation of inventories and other bibliographical guides which would render more accessible to the public unpublished official documents of the states, counties, cities and other units of local government throughout the country, and also of significant non-public historical materials. One individual project proposed in 1936 under the HRS, in close cooperation with the FMP, was a Guide to the Study of Music in America. This project was envisioned as a three-part guide; only the first part, an alphabetical list of approximately 14,000 people, was completed and published in June, 1941, as the Bio-Bibliographical Index of Musicians in the United States of America from Colonial Times .

From the guide to the Federal Music Project Collection, 1935-1948, (bulk 1936-1941), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Works Progress Administration oral histories collection, 1961-1984 George Mason University. Special Collections and Archives.
referencedIn Ryan, Helen Chandler. New Mexico Federal Music Project collection, 1936-1943. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Federal Music Project Collection, 1935-1948, (bulk 1936-1941) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Federal Theatre Project (U.S.). Federal Theatre Project collection, 1935-1939. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Helen Chandler Ryan New Mexico Federal Music Project Collection, 1936-1943 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Solomon, Izler, 1910-1987. Izler Solomon interview, 1964 June 24. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. Franklin D. Roosevelt sound recordings, 1923-1945. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Hewes, Harry. Oral history interview with Harry Hewes and Jay Du Von, 1964 Oct. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn United States. Work Projects Administration. Agency history record. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn F. Charles Adler Papers, 1787-1959, 1936-1955 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Federal Music Project (U.S.). Federal Music Project collection, 1935-1948 (bulk 1936-1941). Library of Congress
referencedIn Federal Arts Committee. Correspondence to Leopold Stokowski, 1938. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn United States. Works Progress Administration. WPA Federal Project records, 1935-1940. Maine Historical Society Library
referencedIn Federal Music Project (La.). W.P.A. collection. Federal Music Project annual report, 1940. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn George Mason University. Institute on the Federal Theatre Project and New Deal Culture. Works Progress Administration oral histories collection, 1961-1984. George Mason University, Fenwick Library
referencedIn Marks, Marvin. The history of the WPA : and "Federal One" in/out of New Jersey / Marvin Marks. Rutgers University
creatorOf Mahler, Fritz. Fritz Mahler papers, 1906-1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993 (bulk 1910-1960) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Concerts clippings 1937-1994. Monterey Public Library
referencedIn United States. Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Agency history record. National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn United States. Work Projects Administration. State series, 1935-1944. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn Composers' Forum Inc. records, 1935-2002 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Hewes, Harry. Harry Hewes interviews, 1936-1939. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Wilkinson, Winston. Manuscript music, 193-?. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Solomon, Izler, 1910-. Oral history interview with Izler Solomon, 1964 June 24 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Wilkinson, Winston. Manuscript folk music [manuscript], 193-? University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Solomon, Izler, 1910-. Oral history interview with Izler Solomon, 1964 June 24. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Hewes, Harry. Harry Hewes and Jay Du Von interviews, 1964 Oct. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Federal Music Project (U.S.). Narrative reports, 1936-1940. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960. Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993, bulk 1910-1960. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Federal Music Project (U.S.). [WPA Southern California Music Project scores]. University of California, Riverside, UCR
creatorOf Federal Music Project (U.S.). Federal Music Project records, 1939-1942. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Fritz Mahler papers, 1906-1973 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Federal Art Project (U.S.). Central files, "States" series, 1935-1944. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn United States. Federal Civil Works Adminstration. Agency History Record. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn Federal Theatre Project (New Orleans, La.). W.P.A. collection. Federal Theatre and Federal Music Projects programs, 1938. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Goldberg, Albert, 1898-. Scrapbooks and concert reviews, 1925-1986. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Collier, Nina Perera. Nina Perera Collier papers, 1934-1950. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Composers' Forum (U.S.). Composers' Forum Inc. Records, 1935-2002. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Affelder, Paul B., 1915-. Paul Affelder papers, 1930-1975. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Corse, Carita Doggett, b. 1892. Osceola opera scenario / Carita Doggett Corse. Jacksonville University, Carl S. Swisher Library
referencedIn Paul Affelder papers, 1930-1975 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Federal Theatre Project Collection, 1935-1939 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special CollectionsRare Book Division
creatorOf Federal Music Project (U.S.). Record of program operation and accomplishment, the Federal Music Project 1935 to 1939, the WPA Music Program 1939 to 1943 [microform] / George Foster, National program director ... Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn United States. Works Progress Administration. Agency history record. Denver Art Museum
referencedIn Van der Voort, Antoni. Antoni Van der Voort papers, 1930s-1952. University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adler, F. Charles, (Frederick Charles), 1889-1959 person
associatedWith Affelder, Paul B., 1915- person
associatedWith Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960. person
associatedWith Collier, Nina Perera. person
associatedWith Composers' Forum (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Corse, Carita Doggett, b. 1892. person
associatedWith Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Art Project (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Arts Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Music Project (La.) corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Music Project (U.S.) George Allen Foster collection. 1935-1948. corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Theatre Project (New Orleans, La.) corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Theatre Project (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Foster, George Allen. person
associatedWith Foster, George Allen. George Allen Foster collection. 1935-1948 person
associatedWith Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. corporateBody
associatedWith George Mason University. Institute on the Federal Theatre Project and New Deal Culture. corporateBody
associatedWith Goldberg, Albert, 1898- person
associatedWith Hewes, Harry. person
associatedWith Kahn, Emily Mason. person
associatedWith Mahler, Fritz. person
associatedWith Marks, Marvin. person
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Music Program (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Ryan, Helen Chandler person
associatedWith Ryan, Helen Chandler. person
associatedWith Seeger, Charles, 1886-1979. person
associatedWith Sokoloff, Nikolai, 1886-1965. person
associatedWith Solomon, Izler, 1910-1987. person
associatedWith United States. Federal Civil Works Adminstration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Emergency Relief Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Works Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Work Projects Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Works Progress Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Van der Voort, Antoni. person
associatedWith Wigglesworth, Frank, 1918-1996 person
associatedWith Wilkinson, Winston. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
United States
Subject
Federal aid to the performing arts
Music--United States
Music and state
Federal aid to public welfare
Music
Music and state--United States
Concerts
Music--Performance
Public service employment
New Deal, 1933-1939
Federal aid to the arts
Occupation
Function
culture
Employment
Public welfare

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