The differences between the WPA

The differences between the WPA Guide and the Encyclopedia of New York State, (or ENYS) is evident in many ways.

It shows a difference in writing styles and seemingly a difference in a perspective on the state itself. It is not just a different perspective or writing style between the late 1930’s and the early 2000s but an entirely different opinion of the state presented by the words they have chosen to use. You can see it even in the early words used to introduce us to the State we are getting a primer on. In the Encyclopedia they begin with a discussion of Rock formations and go back to the oldest possible example of such. In the WPS guide we are given more of a narrative introduction. A discussion of the state and how perilous it was towards the founding of the famous Empire State is shown. But after a certain point it makes note of the accomplishments and reads almost as a travel brochure.

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Treating us to the sites of New York and asking us to consider the time, effort, and applaud the injunuity of the people who created such wonders in the state as it’s Highway system, (still considered noteworthy as this guide was written in the early 20th century) the steamboats ferrying passengers across the Hudson River, and the great skyscrapers. By contrast, the Introduction does not offer glowing praise nor a negative image of the early days, it instead offers only factual accounts and detailed history of politics, the innovations we may find mundane today, and the names of various historical figures. Both of these detail a New York rich in culture, entertainment, and having had a very divided history. An interesting perspective between a glowing guide with a negative view of the state pre-industrialization, and a history guide with many explanations but only a small hint of ideas for it’s use in everyday life. Both however, may be used to enhance one’s perspective on this heavily populated but very divided state.


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