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WPA Historic Houses Drawings Collection

The WPA Historic Houses Drawings Collection includes 140 drawings in pen-and-ink, pencil, and watercolor of houses, courthouses, churches, mill houses, and taverns, representing 39 Virginia counties. From 1932 to 1937, the Virginia State Commission on Conservation and Development's Division of History and Archaeology received funds from the Works Progress Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project to commission five artists—including Rex M. Allyn, Edward A. Darby, Dorothea A. Farrington, E. Neville Harnsberger, and Elsie J. Mistie—to create drawings for a publication on historic Virginia shrines. Although the drawings were never published, likely due to diminishing funds, the collection presents an important record of Virginia architecture, both traditional and vernacular, and includes images of structures that are no longer standing today. The photographs from which the drawings were based are part of the WPA Photograph and Negative Collection at the Library of Virginia.

Credits

Dale Neighbors, Kathy Jordan, Mark Fagerburg, Sonya Coleman, Ann de Witt