My officemate, who supports history among other departments, showed me this sweet resource in our reference stacks the other day: we have many books in the American Guide Series! What is the American Guide Series, you ask? It’s a series of books commissioned and published as part of the New Deal – an effort to support writers (over 6000!) in America during the Depression.
I flipped through a few and they are precious, fabulous, and a great primary resource. They have some maps and photographs, cover the history of the state and several key cities, and list a number of “tours” of the state via the state and federal highways. What a lovely set of resources – and we have all the states (with the exception of Hawaii which wasn’t a state at the time), and several cities. Here are some images from the South Dakota book… hey look! Mount Rushmore:
My partner and I went to a wedding at Sylvan Lake a few summers ago – this was the backdrop of the wedding! Many of the guests stayed at Sylvan Lake Lodge! Ahh – so fun!
And on the inside cover, there was a lovely map of SD (on the back there was a pocket with a much larger map you could pull out and really explore):
These books are really interesting to read, too, in the context of another book I’m currently reading – The Warmth of Other Suns (you all should read this!), the story of a vast migration north and west of black Americans in the interwar period. This phenomenon drastically reshaped and influenced in a multitude of ways urban and suburban areas in the north and west. In any case, in the Michigan book in the American Guide Series, one chapter details the general history of different people populating Michigan (with a notable absence of mentions of Native Americans). This chapter discusses the rich history of European influences over the decades – but also references the “Great Migration” (even though this was only published in 1941!) detailed in the Warmth of Other Suns book. As Spock would say… fascinating!