An Exhibition of Selected
Post Depression-Era Regional Literature
from the Collection of Carol Fitzgerald:
October 25, 2007-January 8, 2008
Through the years of the Great Depression and continuing into the decades that followed, American regionalism and regional writing became increasingly popular. It is generally agreed that while the American Guide Series produced by the WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project created the first credible national self-portrait, the popular and successful Rivers of America series, planned by Constance Lindsay Skinner in the mid-1930s, established a promising pattern for the many series that followed.
Later in the decade, the Depression notwithstanding, Series Americana, non-fiction books in series with American themes and settings were being planned by established publishers such as Bobbs-Merrill and Doubleday, Doran and by such newly-formed houses as Duell, Sloan and Pearce and Hastings House.
The 12 series represented in the exhibition are:
American Customs Series
American Folkways Series
American Forts Series
The American Lakes Series
American Mountain Series
American Procession Series
American Seaport Series
American Trails Series
The Mainstream of America Series
Regional Murder Series
Regions of America Series
Society in America Series
They were published during the years 1940-1980 and contain 153 separate titles (78 on exhibit), thus providing an honest representation of the Series Americana published in the post-Depression era and the decades that followed. Taken together, they provide a compelling portrait of America, a unique self-portrait that encompasses the American people, their history and culture, and the nation’s natural treasures – its mountains, plains, lakes, and trails – over a broad sweep of time measured in centuries.
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