Portraits in Horse History

WPA Packhorse Librarians of the 1930s

Established in 1935, as part of the Works Progress Administration, the Pack Horse Library Project provided books and magazines to rural Eastern Kentucky to broaden literacy in homes and schools. Horse history notes the librarians, mainly women who traversed rocky, remote, and muddy terrain fifty to eighty miles each week. In many cases, a visit from a packhorse librarian was a family’s only access to library service. Deep in an area where the only means of learning about cultures far beyond Appalachia, the Packhorse Librarians Project fostered much more than education and curiosity, the program gave birth to a mind’s flight.