Books in the American Guide Series
Arranged alphabetically by title.



Some Background Information on The American Guide Series

One of the best known, and perhaps least understood, series titles is The American Guide Series which was produced under the direction of the Federal Writer's Project, an agency of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  The impact of this program sent some 6,000 Depression-era authors out across the country to record anything of interest.  Referring to this effort the poet, W. H. Auden, called it "one of the noblest and most absurd undertakings ever attempted by a [government]."  Many collectors choose to limit the meaning of "American Guide Series" to just those tour guides which were published on the 48 contiguous states plus Alaska, Puerto Rico, New York City and Washington, D.C.  However, the Federal Writer's Project used the term to apply to many more titles in the series.  Indeed a huge collection of articles, monographs and books were published on many facets of American life.  This diversity included topics of history, folklore, nature, national parks, communities, highways, rivers, islands and growing vegetables.  In most cases in exchange for the fees and stipends received by the authors they had to remain anonymous allowing the WPA and the Federal Writer's Project to take authorial credit.  The list that follows represents only a small sampling of the books in the series.

Copyright 2001, Town's End Books, All Rights Reserved.


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    WPA:  San Francisco The Bay and Its Cities.  New York: Hastings House, 1940. First Edition. Very good+ in heavy, light blue-gray cloth covered boards with dark blue text on the spine and front board. An octavo of 8 by 5 3/8 inches. Without its issued dust jacket. This volume was written and compiled by the Federal Writers' Project of the WPA in Northern California and is one of the volumes in the American Guide Series. 531 pages with index,text and photographs through-out.
    TB31156  $80.00



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    WPA:  Arizona A State Guide.  New York: Hastings House, 1940. First Edition. Very good+ in tan buckram with brown text stampings on the spine and front board and map end papers with a neatly written gift inscription written at the upper edge of the second free end page. A small octavo of 8 by 5 3/8 inches with foxing to the front gutter and foxing to the hinge areas front and back due to a reaction with the glue used in binding. In only a good, price clipped dust jacket with heavy chipping to the upper 1/3rd of the spine area and a three inch chip from the upper rear corner of the front panel. 530 pages including an index, appedices, and photographs in eight sections. The 27th volume in the American state Guide Series.
    TB30886  $50.00



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    WPA:  Arkansas A Guide to the State.  New York: Hastings House Publishers, 1941. First Edition. Fine in black cloth covered boards with gilt text on the spine and on the front board with map end papers. The end sheets show faint foxing near the hinges due to a reaction with the glue used in binding. In a very good+, unclipped dust jacket with very shallow chipping at the upper edge of the spine area and with light rubbing and wear at the fore corners of the panels. One of the volumes in the American Guide Series which was originally scheduled to be released in January of 1938 but was delayed until September, 1941. (Schoyer- 41) The book was not issued with a fold-out map. Instead there are sectional maps at the end of the text of the book with transportation maps on the front and rear end papers. 447 pages including an index, maps as stated above, a list of consultants, bibliography, chronology, text and 8 sections of black and white photographs. A very scarce volume in jacket.
    TB30888  $160.00



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    WPA:  The Berkshire Hills.  New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1939. First Edition. Very good in light green cloth covered boards with dark green text stamping on the spine and on the front board. A small octavo measuring 8 1/4 by 5 1/2 inches with the cloth on the spine tanned as well as the cloth on the upper edge of the boards. The front and rear end sheets are well tanned. Without its issued dust jacket. One of the more uncommon volumes in the American Guide Series. 368 pages including an index, text and illustrated with black and white photographs through-out and with a fold-out map of the area tipped-in at the rear of the book.
    TB28895  $75.00



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    WPA:  California A Guide to the Golden State.  New York: Hastings House, c1939,1942. Second Printing of 1942. Very good in light-green buckram covered boards with the cloth over the spine tanned and with foxing to the end papers due to a reaction with the glue employed in binding. There is a prior owner's name and date at the lower edge of the front free end page. The original dust jacket is laid-in in pieces within this copy. 713 pages with index, text, black and white photographs in eight sections and a pocket on the rear end paper with the multi-colored fold-out map of the state which is in excellent condition.
    TB30889  $65.00



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    WPA:  Connecticut A Guide to its Roads, Lore and People.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1938. First Edition. Very good+ in red cloth covered boards with light foxing to the end sheets near the hinges due to a reaction with the glue used in binding and with dust staining to the top edge of the text block. In a good+, price clipped dust jacket with numerous creases and short closed tears to the ends of the spine area and with rubbing and light wear around the edges of the panels. This is an interesting binding variant I have not seen before. The majority of first editions of this title have a simulated leather like cloth covering to the boards. This copy is in a bright red cloth without any effort to simulate leather. The rear end paper of the book has a pocket within which is the multi-color map of the state which is in near fine condition. 593 pages including an index, chronology and illustrated with eight sections of black and white photographs.
    TB30070  $100.00



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    Heermance (Compiler) , Edgar L.:  The Connecticut Guide What To See And Where To Find It.  Hartford: Emergency Relief Commission, 1935. Second Printing of June, 1935. Very good in heavy blue-green printed paper wraps over an adhesive binding with map front end papers. The spine area is well tanned and worn at its ends and the front and rear panels are moderately soiled. There is a prior owner's name neatly written on the second free end paper. A small octavo measuring 8 7/16" tall by 5 1/4" deep containing 320 pages including an index. Without a dust jacket as issued. As recognized in Jerre Mangione's study of the WPA's Federal Writer's Project on page 46, The Connecticut Guide What to See And Where To Find It "helped to clinch the plan of preparing a series of state guides that could employ the services of researchers and all kinds of writers." "Although The Connecticut Guide fell short of the standards that were later" to be established for "the American Guide Series, it did provide the model for WPA's series. This guide is also recognized in the American Guide Series volume for Connecticut as the "predecessor and inspiration" for the series.
    TB19014  $40.00



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    WPA:  Delaware A Guide to the First State.  New York: The Viking Press, 1938. First Edition. Near fine in light gray cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine and front board. A small octavo measuring 8 by 5 1/4 inches with minor foxing to the end sheets due to a reaction with the glues used in binding. In a very good dust jacket with the original price intact on the front flap. There is 1/4 deep chips across the upper edge of the spine area, one minor shallow chip at the base of the spine area and a 2 inch closed tear at the fold to the front panel. Reportedly the first printing of the book was restricted to only 10,000 copies. 549 pages with index, bibliography, chronology, text, maps and photographs throughout with the fold-out map of the state in a rear pocket of the book. A very tight and handsome copy with no prior ownership markings of any kind.
    TB31054  $75.00



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    Colby, Merle:  A Guide to Alaska Last American Frontier.  New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942, c.1939. Reprint of February, 1942. Good in dark blue cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine and front board and with illustrated end sheets. A small octavo measuring 8" by 5 1/4" with rubbing and fading to the cloth and with an over-tight front hinge. Although there is no definitive evidence, this may be an ex-library copy. Without its issued dust jacket. 427 pages including an index, text, maps, photographs and without the fold-out map in the pocket attached to the recto of the last free end page. One of the few volumes in the American Guide Series to carry a specific author's name.
    TB27101  $25.00




  • WPA:  Here's New England.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1939. First Edition. Near fine in decorated bright red cloth covered boards with black text on the spine and front board. A small octavo measuring 8" by 5 1/2" with a prior owner's book plate on the first free end page and with mild dust staining to the top edge of the text block. In a very good+, unclipped dust jacket, but with a Christmas sticker over the upper corner of the front flap hiding the printed price. The ends of the spine area have very shallow chipping. 122 pages including an index and illustrated with maps and two sections of black and white photographs and with a multi-colored, fold-out map in the rear pocket. A handsome, tight, clean and collectible copy.
    TB28151  $60.00



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    WPA : Idaho A Guide in Word and Picture.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1950. Second Edition Revised 1950. Very good+ in blue-green cloth covered boards with black text on the spine and on the front board with map end sheets. A small octavo of 8 by 5 1/4 inches with the top edge of the text block dust stained and with light soiling and foxing to the end sheets. In a very good+, unclipped dust jacket with the spine tanned and lightly soiled which tanning extends onto half of the front panel and with a crease to the front flap. 300 pages including an index, bibliography, text and illustrated from black and white photographs in two sections.
    TB30208  $75.00



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    WPA:  Kentucky A Guide to the Bluegrass State.  New York: Hastings House, 1947, c.1939. Fourth Printing of 1947. Good in dark green cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine and front board with map front end papers. The cloth is rubbed at the head and heel of the spine, at the lower edges of the boards and at the tips of the same. Without its issued dust jacket. 489 pages including an index, chronology, bibliography, photographs with the map laid-in at the rear pocket.
    TB27123  $35.00



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    WPA:  Livingston The Story of a Community.  Livingston, NJ: Sponsored by the Township of Livingston, 1939. First Edition. Fine in red-brown cloth covered boards with gilt text on the spine and gilt text and a blind embossed seal on the front board. An octavo of 9 by 6 inches with illustrated end sheets. In a near fine, unclipped (no price) dust jacket with only a hint of wear to the upper edge of the spine area. 166 pages including an index, appendices and text. Illustrated with a section from black and white photographs and a map. Considered "scarce" by Dykes and Scharf/Schoyer. Indeed very uncommon in such nice condition. (Dykes, 197; Powell 992; Brewer, 692; Scharf/Schoyer, 377),
    TB30271  $85.00



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    WPA:  Maine A Guide Down East.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1937. Reprint. Fine in light green paper cloth covered boards with dark green text on the spine and on the front board. An octavo of 8 by 5 1/2 inches. Without its issued dust jacket. One of the early volumes in the American Guide Series. 476 pages with index, text, black and white photographs through-out. No map or map pocket is called for in this reprint.
    TB30694  $30.00



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    WPA:  A Maritime History of New York.  New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1941. First Edition, First printing. Very good+ in light blue cloth covered boards with black and yellow text on the spine and a black sketch of Sandy Hook Lighthouse on the front board and with illustrated end sheets. An octavo measuring 8 1/4" by 5 1/2" with the cloth at the head and heel of the spine crimped, but otherwise undamaged. Without its issued dust jacket. With an introduction by Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia. 341 pages including an index, bibliography, and text. Illustrated with 16 black and white photographic reproductions and reproductions of earlier works of art. Considered "scarce" by Jeff Dykes (item 222) in his catalog and checklist of the American Guide Series.
    TB28600  $95.00



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    WPA:  Massachusetts A Guide to its Places and People.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1937. First Edition. Very good+ in simulated blue leather cloth covered boards with gilt text on the spine and on the front board. The cloth at the head and heel of the spine is lightly rubbed and the text on the spine is slightly faded. faded. In a very good, price clipped dust jacket with heavy wear and rubbing at the ends of the spine area with several shallow chips at the fore corners of the front and rear panels. The spine area is also tanned. 675 pages with index, text, and eight sections of black and white photographs with maps throughout and with the multi-colored map within the pocket at the rear of the book. A clean and handsome copy with no prior ownership markings.
    TB31058  $125.00



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    WPA:  Minnesota A State Guide.  New York: The Viking Press, 1947, c.1938. First Editon. Near fine in dark blue cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine and on the front board with foxing to the end sheets a result of a reaction to the glues used in binding. In a very good, unclipped dust jacket with the spine area slightly tanned, 1/8th inch deep chips across the upper edge of the spine area and 1/16th inch chips across the lower edge of the same, rubbing and wear to the upper edge of the front panel and a one inch closed tear to the rear panel which has been repaired on its verso side with archival tape. 523 pages including an index, bibliography, chronology, text and 53 pages of black and white photographs and with 12 maps within the body of the text. The multi-colored map of the state is contained within the rear pocket. The map is in excellent condition.
    TB31062  $150.00



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    WPA:  Missouri A Guide to The 'Show Me' State.  New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, (1941). First Edition. Very good in gray cloth covered boards with blue text on the spine and front board. A small octavo of 7 7/8 by 5 3/8 inches with the cloth rubbed and worn at the head and heel of the spine. Without its issued dust jacket. 652 pages including an index, chronology, maps of sections of the state and photographs in several sections through-out. A separate map at the rear was not produced with the book. (Scharf & Schoyer 306)
    TB30884  $45.00



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    WPA:  Montana A State Guide Book.  New York: The Viking Press, 1939. First Edition. Near fine in dark blue cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine and on the front board. An octavo measuring 8 by 5 1/4 inches with heavy dust staining to the top edge of the text block, a prior owner's book plate on the fly title page and foxing to the end sheets a result of reactions with the glue used in binding. In a very good-, price clipped dust jacket with the lower 2 inches of the spine area missing, small chips and closed tears to the upper edge of the spine area and light rubbing and wear to the fold to the front flap. One of the early volumes in the American Guide Series which is considered somewhat uncommon. 442 pages containing an index, bibliography, appendices and illustrated with maps and photographs throughout. The rear pocket contains the color, double sided, fold-out map which is in excellent condition. A worthy first edition copy of an uncommon title.
    TB30211  $100.00



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    WPA:  New Hampshire A Guide to the Granite State.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1938. First Edition. Very near fine in dark blue, simulated leather, cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine with map end sheets. A small octavo measuring 8 by 5 1/4 inches with faint tape stains to each of the boards where it was applied to keep the dust jacket in place. In a very good-, price clipped dust jacket with 1/2 inch deep chipping across the upper edge of the spine area, several short closed tears at the top edge of the front panel with related creasing and the same to the top and lower edges of the rear panel. 559 pages with index, text, black and illustrated with eight sections of black and white photographs and a pocket on the rear end paper with the multi-color, fold-out map of the state within which is in fine condition. There are no prior ownership markings of any kind within this copy.
    TB31015  $100.00




  • WPA:  New York A Guide to the Empire State.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1940. Second Printing. Very good+ in light blue cloth covered boards with black text and decorations on the spine and front board. The cloth at the corners of the spine are lightly rubbed Without its issued dust jacket. 782 pages including an index, appendices, chronology, text and photographs. The multi-colored, folding map located in a pocket at the rear of the book is present and in fine condition.
    TB29613  $50.00



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    WPA:  New York City Guide.  New York: Random House, 1939. First Edition,, First Printing with the 1939 Worlds Fair section.. Very near fine in dark blue cloth covered boards with gilt text stamping on the spine and on the front board. A small octavo of 8 by 5 3/8 inches with slight fading to the cloth over the spine and with occasional penciled check marks in the margins of the text. Without its issued dust jacket. The subtilte on the title page reads: "A Comprehensive Guide to the Five Boroughs of the Metropolis - Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Richmond - Prepared by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration in New York City." 708 pages including an index, a list of books about New York, text and illustrated with 36 maps and ten sections of black and white photographs. At the rear of the book is a map pocket in which is a double sided fold-out map street of Manhattan and the subways and elevated lines of the city. The map is in excellent condition. (Dykes, 213)
    TB30443  $125.00



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    WPA:  The Ocean Highway New Brunswick, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida.  New York: Modern Age Books, Inc. Sponsored by Charles L. Terry, Jr., 1938. First Edition. Very good+ in decorated light brown cloth covered boards with blue and brown text and decorations on the spine and front board with light rubbing to the cloth at the head and heel of the spine. A small octavo measuring 7 3/4 by 5 1/2 inches. Without its issued dust jacket. One of the more scarce titles in the American Guide Series. This title departs from the WPA's other title of similar content, U.S. One Maine to Florida, by picking up where Routes 17 and 13 leave Route One in northern New Jersey and hug the eastern coast all the way to Jacksonville, Florida. 344 pages with an index, a list of annual events along the Ocean Highway, text, and with eleven sections of black and white photographs with the colored, three-paneled, fold-out map tipped-in at the rear end paper. through-out. Part of the American Guide Series and considered quite scarce especially in dust jacket.
    TB28598  $40.00



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    WPA:  A Picture of Lycoming Copunty.  Williamsport: The Commissioners of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, 1939. First Edition. Very good+ in blue cloth covered boards with little left of the gilt text on the spine and slightly slightly chipped gilt text stamped on the front board. A small octavo measuring 7 3/4 by 5 3/8 inches with light rubbing to the cloth at the head and heel of the spine. Without a dust jacket. 219 pages of text and black and white photographs followed by a one page bibliography. Considered "scarce" by Jeffery Dykes in his bibliography/catalog of the series. Currently there are no other copies presently on the Internet market. (Dykes: American Guide Series, 288)
    TB29147  $125.00



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    WPA:  The Records of the Swedish Lutheran Churches At Raccoon And Penns Neck 1713-1786.  Elizabeth, New Jersey: New Jersey Commission to Commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the Settlement by the Swedes and Finns on the Delaware, 1938. First Edition. Near fine in blue cloth covered boards with gilt text on the spine. A small quarto of 9 1/8 by 6 inches with a prior owner's name on the first free end page. In a good-, unclipped dust jacket with a large four inch deep chip from the lower section of the front panel which extends onto the lower portion of the spin area. 387 pages including an index. Illustrated with a frontispiece from two black and white photographs. Jeff Dykes in his catalog/check list of the American Guide Series refers to this title as "scarce". (Dykes, American Guide Series, 202)
    TB31682  $125.00



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    WPA:  Rhode Island A Guide to the Smallest State.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1937. First Edition. Near fine in simulated red leather cloth covered boards with gilt text on the spine and on the front board. A small octavo of 8 by 5 1/2 inches with slight rubbing to the cloth at the head and heel of the spine. In a very good-, unclipped dust jacket with shallow 1/4 inch deep chips at the upper edge of the spine area and heavy rubbing and wear to the folds and a one inch deep chip at the lower edge of the front panel. 500 pages including an index, bibliography, chronology, tour guides, and illustrated with maps and eight sections of black and white photographs. The rear pocket on the rear end paper contains the multi-colored, fold-out map of the state which is in excellent condition.
    TB31683  $125.00



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    WPA and M. Lisle Reese:  South Dakota A Guide To The State.  New York: Hastings House, 1938, 1952. Second Edition of 1952. Near fine in light green cloth covered boards with dark green text on the spine and front board and with illustrated map end papers. A small octavo of 8 by 5 3/8 inches In a very good, unclipped dust jacket with 1/4" deep chips at the upper edge of the spine area, a 1/3" chip from the upper fore corner of the front panel. Signed "Most cordially" by the author of this completely revised edition on the fly title page. Reese was also the editor of the first edition and the director of the Federal Writers' Project in South Dakota. (Scharf/Schoyer) The first edition of this guide is one of the most scarce titles in the series. Only 2,500 copies of the first edition were printing. 441 pages with index, sectional maps to the state the state, census figures for cities and towns from the 1950 Federal Census, tours, bibliography and eight sectionsof black and white photographs. (Scharf/Schoyer, 567)
    TB30446  $225.00



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    Roberts, Verl E.:  Survey Of Workers Separated From WPA Employment In Nine Areas, 1937.  Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1938. First Edition. Near fine in heavy, printed paper wraps over a double stapled binding. A small quarto of 11 by 7 inches with modest, faint creasing at the lower fore corner of the front cover. Without a dust jacket as issued. 9 pages of text followed by pages 11 through 22 of tables. The tables at the rear of this title contain the statistics of employees separated during the April to July, 1937 period.
    TB30836  $25.00



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    WPA:  The Swedes and Finns in New Jersey.  n.p.: Sponsored by The New Jersey Commissionto Commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the Settlement by the Swedes and Finns on the Delaware, 1938. First Edition. Very good+ in royal blue ribbed cloth covered boards with tarnished gilt text stamping on the spine. The cloth at the head and heel of the spine is lightly rubbed and there is a prior owner's name on the upper fore corner of the first free end page. The end sheets are printed with a map of southern New Jersey. Without it issued dust jacket. A small 4to measuring 9 1/8 by 6 inches. One of the more unusual titles in the American Guide Series as noted on the title page.165 pages including an index, bibliography, chronology, text and illustrated with black and white photographs throughout and map end papers.
    TB28672  $85.00



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    WPA:  Tales Of Pioneer Pittsburgh.  n.p.: William Penn Association, c1937. . Very good+ in self wraps over a stapled binding in heavy, printed orange paper covers. An octavo of 8 3/4 by 5 1/2 inches with light soiling to the front cover. without a dust jacket as issued. 28 pages of text followed by a one page bibliography. Illustrated with small vignettes at the bottom margins of the pages.
    TB31068  $40.00



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    WPA:  Washington City and Capital.  Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1937. First Edition. Near fine in heavy black cloth covered boards with faded gilt text on the spine and with illustrated map end sheets. A thick small quarto measuring 9" by 6" with minor soiling to the boards. Without its issued dust jacket. Signed on the fly title pages with: "Compliments of | Ben Ford \ 1937". 1,141 pages including an index, bibliography, chronology, text and illustrated with maps and images from black and white photographs throughout. With both of the two multi-colored maps in the rear pocket (both of which are in near fine condition). This was the second volume published in the American Guide Series and despite its first printing of 5,000 copies collectible copies with the maps are rather uncommon.
    TB30774  $120.00




  • Powell, Evanell K.:  WPA Writers' Publications.  Palm Beach, Fla.: Self-published, n.d.. First Edition. Very good in printed wraps with a stapled binding with a handwritten note in ink on page 53. Without a dust jacket as issued. Signed by the author to Van Allen Bradley. 78 pages of text listing the 1,777 WPA publications known by the author and listed by state. Very uncommon.
    TB31808  $125.00






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