New Deal for Lawrence: 75th Anniversary of WPA (Works Progress Administration)

LHC's Summer 2010 Exhibit: A New Deal for Lawrence

The President's re-employment proposal was the high point of his first message to the Seventy-fourth Congress delivered in a crowded House Chamber. It was in part, in fact, part of the program which he laid before Congress...which he asked now to be carried forward by establishing security in jobs, security against the major hazards of life and security of decent homes. New York Times, 1935.

Our New Deal for Lawrence exhibit is a historic snapshot of a time and a place,looking back at Lawrence 75 years ago through the lens of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs, especially the Works Progress Administration(WPA.)

Based on the original documents in the LHC collection, all projects funded through WPA are identified with location and budget - from ball parks and cultural events to public health issues, job training and major infrastructure projects. This is a rare snapshot of the projects that took place in a particular 12 month period in Lawrence history, identifying federal government aid and the immediate needs of the city.

In addition we presented a mirror image of the economic events of today - capturing the current demographics, President Obama's Stimulus Package and its effect on Lawrence.

NY Times - What Would Roosevelt Do?

A smaller exhibit was also on display at the LHC, 6 Essex Street - identifying the cultural themes of the day - editorial cartoons, newspaper advertising, styles, books, films, news headlines - what was the day to day life like in Lawrence in 1934-35.

The exhibit was previewed at the Dengler Award Dinner while the physical exhibit was at the Lawrence Heritage State Park through the summer. A virtual exhibit will be available on our website. The exhibit is curated by Emily Levine, LHC volunteer and NPS employee.

More about The New Deal in Lawrence and WPA

Funded in part by the Lawrence Cultural Council, the Rosman Family Fund (ECCF), and the Lawrence Heritage State Park.


Tue–Fri: 9am-4pm
Sat: By appt
Sun-Mon: Closed

Address & Phone

6 Essex Street
Lawrence, MA 01840

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Founded in 1978 as the Immigrant City Archives, the mission of the Lawrence History Center is to collect, preserve, share, and animate the history and heritage of Lawrence and its people.