The HISTORICAL RECORDS SURVEY in Cleveland began operation in 1936 as a WPA relief project for white-collar workers. The program operated through the WPA's Women's and Professional Service Division. It was a cooperative effort of the WPA, the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY, and the county recorder, DONALD F. LYBARGER. The project was originally supervised by Miss Lillian Fuchs, and Dr. ROBERT C. BINKLEY of Western Reserve Univ. served as technical advisor.
The survey first began with a 2-volume inventory of archives in Cuyahoga County. This work was said to be the first of its kind for a large county. The next major project was an abstract of historic local newspaper articles known as the ANNALS OF CLEVELAND. With this project Cleveland became a pioneer in the use of workers to abstract articles from historic instead of contemporary newspapers. There were several other projects, including abstracts from Foreign Language newspapers. Each of the volumes employed clerks, lawyers, auditors, and typists. The finished works were distributed to institutions including libraries, schools, and county and city offices. The Historical Records Survey in Cleveland became a model for similar projects in other communities. Nationally, the Cleveland unit was the only such project expanded, not cut back, during 1939-40. The project came to an abrupt end in 1942 when funding was not provided. The unfinished manuscripts were sent to the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY and the Ohio Historical Society.
Morgenstern, Michael. "The Social Utility of Cultural Democracy in New Deal Cleveland." (Master's thesis, CWRU, 1994).