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Federal Music Project

Online Materials | Special Collections | Recordings

The prime objective of the Federal Music Project (1935-39) and the subsequent WPA Music Program (1939-43) was to employ professional musicians registered on the relief rolls. The project employed these musicians as instrumentalists, singers, concert performers, and music teachers. The general purpose of the Music Project was to establish high standards of musicianship, to rehabilitate musicians by helping them to become self-supporting, to retrain musicians, and to educate the public in the appreciation of musical opportunities. Dr. Nikolai Sokoloff, former conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, was appointed Director of the Federal Music Project. More...

Online Materials

By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943
This collection consists of 908 boldly colored and graphically diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. The collection contains nearly 40 posters related to Federal Music Project-sponsored productions. To find these posters, select Browse by Creators: Federal Music Project (U.S.), sponsor and select the Gallery View button to view thumbnail images of the search results.

Special Collections

Library of Congress

The Library's U.S. Work Projects Administration Federal Music Project collection materials are not available online. They may be accessed in the Performing Arts Reading Room of the Library's Music Division. Other Federal Music Project materials may be found in the Federal Theatre Project Collection, which is also housed in the Music Division.

For more information, please contact the Division's Ask a Librarian Service.

External Collections


WPA recordings of performances of various musical groups sponsored by the Federal Music Project are housed in the Library's Recorded Sound Reference Center. Please contact the Recorded Sound Reference Center's Ask a Librarian Service directly for further information.

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  July 30, 2010
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