Award Date

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History

Department

History

Advisor 1

David Wrobel, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Elizabeth White Nelson

Second Committee Member

Marcia M. Gallo

Third Committee Member

Peter La Chapelle

Graduate Faculty Representative

Cheryl Taranto

Number of Pages

454

Abstract

The Federal Music Project and subsequent WPA Music Programs served as components of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" efforts to combat the economic devastation precipitated by the Great Depression. Operating during the years 1936 to 1943, these programs that engaged unemployed musicians mirrored similar efforts of the Federal Theatre, Art and Writers' Projects. Though the Federal Music Project proved to be the largest of the cultural programs in terms of both employment and attendance, to date it has received the least attention from scholars. This dissertation demonstrates that, given the societal landscape of 1930s America, a regional perspective is imperative to an analysis of the music programs. And, contrary to earlier histories, the Federal Music Projects and WPA Music Programs of the West were successful in expressing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the region, thus achieving a primary goal of the Roosevelt administration.

Keywords

Cultural programs; Federal Music Project (FMP); Great depression; Music programs; New Deal; Politics; Regional music; Unemployed musicians; Western United States; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Disciplines

Music | Political History | Social History | United States History

Language

English


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