The brainchild of co-editor Tom McNamara, The American Guide (2012-2015) — a featured Tumblr project with 200,000 subscribers — is neither an encyclopedia nor an encomium of America. Instead, it's a crowdsourced collection of hundreds of dedicated contributors exploring the unique tensions and allure of existence in these here United States.
The American Guide project as a whole aims to produce a self-portrait of place, inspired by the mission of a 1930s Federal Writers Project series by the same name. The storytellers live where they document. These are not outsiders parachuting in to grab a roll of vacation snapshots. They are careful chroniclers, residents themselves, and their stories frame the manifestations of American existence — a golden Cadillac ensconced in the shade of Florida pines, shot-peppered PBR cans sprouting from a field, a weather-beaten door giving way to late autumn woods.
The American Guide shows the heart of America’s image of itself, but one that is constantly in flux.
:: see The American Guide archive on tumblr at americanguide.tumblr.com ::