During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the U.S. government’s Works Projects Administration undertook a number of efforts to help the unemployed retain their skills. While critics saw it as creating a huge army loyal to President Roosevelt, the WPA did employ some 8.5 million people in a wide variety of areas.
One of those efforts was the Writers’ Project, which, among other projects, produced travel guides to cities and states across the United States. Writers also collected oral histories of still-living Americans who had experienced extraordinary events, like the Civil War.
War and Reconstruction in Mississippi 1861-1875 was one such work. It focused on the town of Holly Springs in Marshall County, in the northern part of the state. Holly Springs was noteworthy for a number of reasons, not least of which was that it had changed hands 57 times during the Civil War.