Months ago, Amy and I discovered this immense graphical treasure trove — digital archives of posters created during the Works Progress Administration. Hosted by the Library of Congress, more than 900 posters of the 2,000 known to exist are online both as thumbnails and as 50MB TIFFs ready for printing. Because we the people paid for all creations of the WPA, no copyright baggage is attached.
It took a week of evenings to sift through most of the collection to find a pair to have framed for Amy’s birthday. Finally settled on this subterranean “See America” cave scene, plus a less stark wildlife image. (Warning: Many URLs at the library of congress have the string “temp” somewhere in them — these will break after a few days, rendering your bookmarks useless. Amazingly clueless and frustrating when dealing with a collection of that size).
Had them archivally printed with a process called “color span,” then framed in 1930s-style cherry frames. They came out amazing. But I should have known better than to try and select art for an artist. Amy’s eye is so fine; of course she wished she had been part of the selection process. Bumbling husband means well.
7 Replies to “WPA Posters”
Where did you have them printed?
At a place called ScanArt in Richmond, CA (no web site).
That has to be the coolest thing I have ever seen.
Apartment fodder, go!
Cool site, thanks!
Some of my favorite buildings were built in the 1930’s by programs like the WPA. For example, the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone Nat’l Park:
or the Grand Canyon Lodge:
Is it me or does Amy seem ungrateful?
Jeremy, I don’t think any outsider knows our dynamic well enough to speculate on such a thing. All relationships have their own internal logic.
FYI: David Huff’s comments above are not correct–the Old Faithful Inn was built 100 years ago long before the WPA (1935-1943). The Railroad built that and El Tovar on the Grand Canyon Rim. There are several recent books out on the great lodges of the west. And just republished for the fourth time is “Park and Recreation Structures” with a new title: “Patterns from the Golden Age of Rustic Design. It features most of the WPA buildings; photos and drawings (published by Roberts Rinehart in paperback for about $30). Doug Leen aka Ranger Doug “Ranger of the Lost Art” (www.dougleen.com)