Hallie Flanagan (1890–1969) was sworn in as director of the Federal Theatre Project on August 29, 1935. Harry Hopkins (1890–1946), Flanagan’s former college classmate and special advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, selected Flanagan to head this creative branch of the WPA as a result of her reputation for mounting innovative theater productions. She was the first woman to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, which she used to study theater in Europe and Russia. President Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, and Harry Hopkins had a strong interest in bringing high-quality theater to remote areas of the nation. All three were intensely interested in arts education, also of the utmost importance to Flanagan.