Administratively, the FWP was a nightmare to coordinate. Historians of the FWP chronicle numerous bureaucratic battles between the central (national) office in Washington, D.C., the State Directors' offices, the state WPA supervisors, and local writers and workers.

In Florida, Carita Doggett Corse, a native Floridian from a renowned family and a published author on local history, was appointed State Director (Bordelon Go Gator and Muddy the Water17). She had a fair amount of political support for the position but not very much administrative experience (Bordelon The Federal Writers' Project's Mirror to America41). See Corse's telegram of acceptance to project director Henry Alsberg.

In many ways, Florida was a strong setting for a Writers' Project. As a state very invested in the travel industry (see Gannon, Bernheim), it would benefit greatly from a guide that would stimulate tourism. It also had a large white-collar unemployment problem, particularly with writers; by 1935, hundreds of Florida newspapers, mostly rural weeklies, had suspended publication (Bordelon The Federal Writers' Project's Mirror to America35, 38). Though Florida had no urban centers that rivalled New York, San Francisco or Chicago in sophistication, it had a strong legacy of folk culture, and it had the only trained African-American folklorist in the South, acclaimed (and published!) author Zora Neale Hurston (Bordelon The Federal Writers' Project's Mirror to Americavi).



Juliet Gorman, May 2001