This collection of slave narratives had its beginning in the second year of the former Federal Writers' Project , 1936, when several state Writers' Projects--notably those of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina--recorded interviews with ex-slaves residing in those states. On April 22, 1937, a standard questionnaire for field workers drawn up by John A. Lomax, then National Advisor on Folklore and Folkways for the Federal Writers' Project, was issued from Washington as "Supplementary Instructions #9-E to The American Guide Manual" . Also associated with the direction and criticism of the work in the Washington office of the Federal Writers' Project were Henry G. Alsberg, Director; George Cronyn, Associate Director; Sterling A. Brown, Editor on Negro Affairs; Mary Lloyd, Editor; and B.A. Botkin, Folklore Editor succeeding Mr. Lomax.