The People's Recorder

The People’s Recorder is an immersive podcast on how history is recorded and the power of being heard.  Inspired by the WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project, this distinctive series takes listeners on a journey that explores the Project’s legacy, what it achieved, where it fell short, and what it means for Americans today.

The Federal Writers’ Project employed thousands of out-of-work writers to document American life during the Great Depression. It produced hundreds of publications, notably a series of state and city guidebooks, oral histories, and ethnic studies. By creating the nation’s first self-portrait, the Project also sparked ongoing discussions about the documentation of history and the power to determine which historical narratives are told.

In premier audio storytelling, we explore stories of American life first recorded by workers on the FWP and contemporary stories that echo with them.

Produced in association with the American Library Association, The People’s Recorder is in development with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Florida Humanities, Virginia Humanities, Wisconsin Humanities, California Humanities and Humanities Nebraska.

Learn more at

"People are hungry for stories. It is a part of our being." Studs Terkel   Oral historian and Writers' Project Member


Produced by:
Andrea Kalin
David Taylor
James Mirabello

Written by:
David Taylor

Edited by:
Ethan Oser

Production Manager:
James Mirabello

Funding Support:  
National Endowment for the Humanities
Florida Humanities
Virginia Humanities
Wisconsin Humanities
California Humanities
Humanities Nebraska

Project Partners:  
American Library Association
Arts Wisconsin
Stetson Kennedy Foundation