WPA Mural Studies
History Detectives searches for connections between a collection of unusual paintings and the largest job creation program in America's history.
FDR’s New Deal work programs will put more than 8 million back to work. And not everyone is laying roads and mixing cement – the program also employs over 40,000 in various arts projects. This unprecedented harnessing of artistic talent will create thousands of paintings, sculptures and murals for public buildings across the country. But today, nearly a third of this artwork is missing. What happened to these important pieces of our nation’s history?
Evelyn Cook of Molalla, Oregon, has inherited some paintings that may be part of this lost work. Created by her aunt, Thelma Johnson Streat, she believes they were mural studies commissioned by the WPA in the 1930’s or 1940’s. The color illustrations depict contributions of African Americans in the fields of medicine, transportation and industry.
Did any of these studies become murals and do any of Streat's murals still exist?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 Superman Sketch Is this a WWII sketch from the early days of this comic icon?
- Also with Elyse Luray Space Boot What does this odd-looking boot have to do with America's first steps in space?
- Also with Elyse Luray Suffrage Pennant What can this pennant tell us about one woman's role at a crucial point in Women's Suffrage movement?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 WWII Landing Craft Did this vessel land tanks on the beaches of France during World War II?
- Also with Elyse Luray Andrew Jackson's Mouth How was this wood fragment connected to one of the most celebrated political protests of the 19th century?
- Related Investigation Camp David Letter Could a box found in a dumpster hold information about the founding of a top-secret Presidential retreat?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.