Formally entitled “Florida, A Guide to the Southernmost State”, the book we’ll examine here is just one of American Guide book series. This series is a group of books and pamphlets published from 1937 to 1941 under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), a Depression-era works program in the United States. The American Guide Series books were compiled by the FWP, but printed by individual states, and contained detailed histories of each of the then 48 states of the Union with descriptions of every major city and town. In total, the project employed over 6,000 writers. The format was uniform, comprising essays on the state's history and culture, descriptions of its major cities, automobile tours of important attractions, and a portfolio of photographs.
The Florida guidebook in this series offers a broad range of interesting insights and perspectives of life, wildlife culture, events, transportation and more in the late 1920 and early thirties. Included are descriptives of a number of roadtrips.
It’s a lengthy tome, so without further adieu – here’s the foreword and preface that starts it all.
FLORIDA, the southernmost State, is frequently referred to as the last American frontier. Four centuries of varying culture under five flags may be noted as one is guided, through the pages of this book, from quaint old St.Augustine to metropolitan Miami, or from the exclusiveness of ante bellum Tallahassee to the exclusiveness of modern Palm Beach. For the many Floridians who may wish to read a comprehensive story of their land, as well as the million or more visitors who come to us each year, the Florida Guide will be a source of pleasurable information.
JOHN J. TIGERT, President University of Florida
So many individuals and agencies have contributed to this State guide for Florida that it may properly be described as a co-operative product. The Federal Writers' Project acted both as a clearing-house for information and as a creative group. After extensive and adequate files of Floridiana had been accumulated, our work became that of selecting, compiling, writing, and editing the book.
More than 400 experts on special topics served as consultants. Statistical and factual data came from many sources, particularly from historical societies, civic groups, newspaper files, the State and local chambers of commerce; rail, auto, and air transportation companies; governmental and private agencies, colleges, libraries, and churches. All branches of the Florida WPA lent their assistance. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the work has been the general awakening of interest in many phases of Florida life heretofore treated only in technical publications. This common interest promises rich educational returns.
The Federal Writers' Project wishes to thank. the many specialists listed in the bibliography for their valuable additions to the guide material. As indicated in the list of illustrations the Florida Federal Art Project supplied all sketches and the American Philosophical Society granted permission for use of certain archeological material. Our thanks are also due Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for permission to reprint the lines from Wallace Steven's H a1'monium, found in the essay on literature.
CARITA DOGGETT CORSE, State Director