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Jerrold Hirsch
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Ph.D. History, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina
M.A. History, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina

Jerrold Hirsch, Professor Emeritus of History at Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, is co-editor with Tom Terrill of Such as Us: Southern Voices of the Thirties (1978), a collection of previously unpublished FWP southern life histories, author of Portrait of America:  A Cultural History of the Federal Writers’ Project (2003), and co-editor with Larry Rogers, of America’s Folklorist:  B. A. Botkin and American Culture (2010).  He has published numerous articles on the FWP, the history of American folklore studies, oral history, and disability history in journals, chapters in edited books, and as introductions to books.  He is currently working on a study of the creative folklore and writing projects of the FWP and on a biography of B. A. Botkin. New directions in his work are reflected in his recent essays, “Federal Writers’ Project,” in Ichiro Takayoshi ed., American Literature in Transition, 1930-1940 and “B. A. Botkin,”

. . . raises issues that the New Deal’s Federal Writers’ Project addressed seventy years ago and that we still need to address: How well do we know our country? Whom do we include when we use the word “American”? These are not just contemporary issues but recurring and seemingly permanent questions Americans have asked themselves throughout their history--and questions that were addressed when, in 1935, the Roosevelt administration created the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration. Therefore, I would be delighted to participate in your current efforts to deal with “writing democracy.”