This interest in things American took many forms: muralists painted scenes depicting local history and color; folklorists recorded traditional stories; playwrights created plays about American heroes; photographers documented daily life; and writers produced state and regional histories. New Deal administrators encouraged this preoccupation with what one Writers' Project publication called "American Stuff." Celebrating the country's past and its character promoted a sense of national identity during difficult times and yielded art that people could easily understand and appreciate. But New Deal art could also move beyond mere celebration and probe deeper into issues of the American character and identity.

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