Little Miss Muffet Sat on a Tuffet 1940 poster Beer Stein
"Little Miss Muffet / Sat on a tuffet / Reading a picture book / There came a spider / And sat down beside her / And said, 'May I have a look?'" "Little Miss Muffet" is a nursery rhyme, one of the most commonly printed in the mid-twentieth century. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 20605. Little Miss Muffet Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey; Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her And frightened Miss Muffet away. The rhyme first appeared in print in 1805, in a book titled Songs for the Nursery. Like many such rhymes, its origins are unclear. Some claim it was written by Dr. Thomas Muffet (d.1604), a sixteenth-century English entomologist, for his stepdaughters; others claim it refers to Mary, Queen of Scots (1543-87), who was said to have been frightened by religious reformer John Knox (1510-72). The former explanation is speculative and the latter is doubted by most literary scholars, who note that stories linking folk tales or songs to political events are often urban legends. The Works Progress Administration (renamed during 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest New Deal agency, employing millions to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, which especially benefited rural and Western populations. Expenditures from 1936 to 1939 totaled nearly $7 billion. Created by order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the WPA was funded by Congress with passage of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 on April 8, 1935. The legislation had passed in the House of Representatives by a margin of 329 to 78, but was delayed by the Senate The WPA continued and extended relief programs similar to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which was established by Congress in 1932 during the administration of Roosevelt's predecessor Herbert Hoover. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the WPA provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression in the United States. Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs. Until ended by Congress and war employment during 1943, the WPA was the largest employer in the country. Most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its jobs. Hourly wages were the prevailing wages in each area; the rules said workers could not work more than 30 hours a week, but many projects included months in the field, with workers eating and sleeping on worksites. Before 1940, there was some training involved to teach new skills and the project's original legislation had a strong emphasis on training. Literacy is typically described as the ability to read and write. It is a concept claimed and defined by a range of different theoretical fields. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provides a useful and reasonably non-controversial definition of literacy--albeit one that emphasizes print texts (and doesn't include images, video, etc.); for UNESCO, literacy is the "ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.