Ken Middleton at Women’s History Sources posted some great links on Works Progress Administration posters from the 1930s that are too good not to share.
The Library of Congress’ American Memory project is a great place to start with their exhibit By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA 1936-1943. I’ve linked to some of these before but they’re completely re-post worthy.
Happy Christmas! “The Works Progress Administration in Ohio presents the Federal Theatre for youth in ‘A Christmas Carol’.”
Next, check out the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Murals in California from San Diego State University.
Want to check out more New Deal art? Search the New Deal Art Registry! Here’s a neat one from a D.C. library in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood – “Animal Circus,” 1934.
Finally, check out “Women Artists in the WPA Collection.”
Women played a significant role in the creation and composition of the art that was produced. In an exhibit catalog entitled Federal Art in Cleveland 1933-1943, for the Cleveland Public Library exhibit in 1974, 21 women were listed as active artists in the program.
Hot! The following are by Jolan Gross-Bettelheim:
And one from Dorothy Rutka:
For my team’s project on building a website, we were using old WPA posters as a design inspiration. They were freaking fabulous. I’m working on doing a series, but here are some of the posters that originally caught my eye.
All the images are from the Library of Congress’ “By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943” online exhibit.
Syphilis …. six out of ten cured because they did not wait too long. [between 1936 and 1941]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5350.
Free classes – trade and technical : Day and evening classes free to any person over 17 years old : Register now. [between 1936 and 1941]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5294.
See America / Dux. Alexander Dux. [between 1936 and 1939]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-4243.
John is not really dull – he may only need his eyes examined. [1936 or 1937]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5332.
In March read the books you’ve always meant to read. [between 1936 and 1941]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5175.
Visit the zoo – Philadelphia. [between 1936 and 1941]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-1885.
National letter writing week, Oct. 1-7 : That letter will be appreciated. [between 1936 and 1940]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-855.
A sparkling musical revue “Gaieties of 1936″. . Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5525.
Keep mum – the world has ears / Grigware. Edward T. Grigware. [between 1941 and 1943]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5554.
Sew for victory / Pistchal. [between 1941 and 1943]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-5382.
Finals and papers are behind me, and a full summer of missed friends, books for pleasure and Jazz in the Garden awaits. This summer is going to be awesome.
I started this blog as an assignment for my Digital History course with the fabulous Jeremy Boggs, but I’ve found I really like having this forum to talk about history, women in history, music, and the interesting projects I got to work on this year.
One of the coolest things I did was to create a museum theater script with some members of my cohort: James Nelson, Jordan Grant and Kelly Gannon. Working with the National Museum of American History, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Innovation and Invention, and the American University departments of Performing Arts, Film and Media Arts, and the Program of Public History , we developed a truly interdisciplinary product in 14 short weeks that, frankly, rocked everyone’s world.
Starting with archival and historiographical research, we interpreted the lives of two women inventors, Marion Donovan and Margaret Knight. There have been thousands of women inventors, but many of them haven’t been recognized due to the financial, legal, and and social limitations that women face, particularly during the 19th and early 20th centuries. So James and I took on Marion Donovan’s experiences inventing the Boater, a diaper cover that prevented leaky diapers from soaking everything in its path. We learned a ton about Donovan, about women inventors, about writing theater for museums, and about collaborating with a HUGE number of people and institutions, each with their own goals, missions, and deadlines.
The final product turned out pretty amazing – especially considering none of us had play writing experience, and best practice literature advises that museums hire professionals to develop these sort of projects. Flying by the seat of our pants and succeeding, we decided we were now experts in creating a grassroots museum theater production. So Jordan, James and I created a website, History On Stage, that gives advice on how to create a similar program for other graduate students, public history institutions, or the general public.
Designing the site was fun, and learning CSS and HTML was super educational. Who knew programming would be so fun for a bunch of right-brained history dorks? We used images from old Works Progress Administration posters as our visual inspiration, particularly this one:
Pretty hot, right?
Producing both the script and the website were great experiences, and we were so fortunate to have amazing partners, advisers, and a kick-ass team. James, Jordan, Kelly and I = team awesome. I hope you all have a similar opportunity to do some interesting, collaborative projects in history, theater, or whatever your fields of interest might be.
Happy summer to everyone!