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Tracy, CA New Deal Art

Post Office New Deal Artwork

Most of the Post Office works of art were funded through commissions under the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later known as The Section of Fine Arts) and not the WPA.

“Often mistaken for WPA art, post office murals were actually executed by artists working for the Section of Fine Arts. Commonly known as “the Section,” it was established in 1934 and administered by the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department. Headed by Edward Bruce, a former lawyer, businessman, and artist, the Section’s main function was to select art of high quality to decorate public buildings if the funding was available. By providing decoration in public buildings, the art was made accessible to all people.” from “Articles from EnRoute : Off The Wall: New Deal Post Office Murals” by Patricia Raynor

New Deal/WPA Art in Tracy, California

Tracy, CA Post Office
“Days of First Railroad” – oil on canvas
by Edith Hamlin (1938)

Tracy, CA Post Office
“Spaniards” – oil on canvas
by Edith Hamlin (1938)

Tracy, CA Post Office
“Overland Pioneers” (the missing mural) – oil on canvas
by Edith Hamlin (1938)

The Post Office Building now houses the Tracy Historical Society. Until recently, all three Hamlin murals were missings. At this time, only the “Overland Pioneers” mural is still missing.

Color photographs taken by Sam Matthews.

Democratic Vistas: Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal
by Marlene Park & Gerald E. Markowitz

Thanks to Jimmy Emerson who contributed the photographs.

Check out the Post Mark Collectors Club (PMCC) Photo page at:

For additional information about the recovery of the Tracy murals, contact the Tracy Historical Museum, 2302 N. Bessie Ave., Tracy, CA, Phone: 209-832-7278. Museum Hours: Sunday, 1 pm to 4 pm; Monday, 10 am to 2 pm.