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Works Progress Administration

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Works Progress Administration
Accession Number
Date Added
9/3/2020 1:18:20 PM
Gift of
Robert Underhill
Collection Title
Collection Description
Bob Underhill
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Search Engine Type
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) ran from 1935 - 1943 employing  3 million people at its peak in 1938 and a total of 8.5 million over its course.  Most work was on public infrastructure (roads, bridges, parks, the Tennessee Valley Authority etc).  Artists, performers and writers were employed under a WPA project as were educators. Others were employed taking oral histories and documenting historical records.  Clarendon's historical records were documented in 1940 as part of that project (see the 1940 Inventory of Clarendon's Archives entry in the Reference Materials collection). 

We don't know how many Clarendon residents worked under WPA projects but in the 1940 census there were three people in Clarendon noted as working for the WPA. 

Ruth (Squier) Herrick (1907 - 2001)

Ruth was born in Clarendon to George Austin Squier (1868 - 1951) and Anna May Page (1875 - 1966).  In 1930 she married William Torrey Herrick (1903 - 1996) and with him had 6 children. In 1930 as the country slid into the Great Depression Ruth was working as a teacher in Clarendon.  The 1940 census indicated she had 1 year of college at that time.  Her obituary tells us that she subsequently graduated from Castleton in 1956  and went on to a 19 year teaching career in Clarendon & Rutland, including being a principal in Rutland. 

There were seven Rutland Herald articles found 1937 - 1940 noting Ruth working in a WPA program that sounds sort of like adult education programs that modern day University Extension Services do.  Her job had her speaking before various groups with her described as a parent educator, adult education worker, and parent education worker, and in 1940 as adult education supervisor.  She spoke before parent-teacher groups, social clubs, church groups, and librarian associations.

James A. Allan (1903 - 1958)

James was born in Waterbury, CT to Robert Allan (1867 - 1942) and Catherine McNamee (1867 - 1916).  His father had immigrated from Scotland and his mother from Ireland.  In 1935 he married Alice Ethel Skiffington (1907 - 1975).  It does not appear they had children.  At the time of the 1930 census James was still living in Waterbury where he was working in a brass factory.  It is not known what brought him to Clarendon.  At the time of the 1940 census he and Alice were living in Clarendon and he was employed by the WPA as a laborer on road projects. He was living in Rutland at the time of his death. 

Daniel Bartlett Paddock (1905 - 1974)

Daniel was born in Dorset, VT to Martin Paddock (1860 - 1919) and Jennie Dillingham (1869 - 1943).  His 1st marriage to Harriet Dorr ended in divorce and in 1930 in Danby he married Marie Lena Stone (1912 - 1963) with whom he had 11 children.  What brought him to Clarendon is not known but at the time of the 1930 census he was living in Clarendon and working as a farm laborer.  At the time of the 1940 census he was employed by the WPA as a laborer on road projects.  He was buried in Danby. 

Other than speaking engagements that Ruth Herrick might have done we are unaware of specific WPA projects in Clarendon and would be most appreciative of input in that regard.