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Illinois 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 Illinois – Unless indicated, works of art are located in the US Post Office building.

Location Artist Title Date Medium
Abingdon USPO H. Arnold Newell “The Post Rider” 1941 terra-cotta relief
Berwyn Richard Haines “The Picnic” 1942 oil on canvas
Brookfield Edouard Chassaing “Means of Mail Transportation” 1937 plaster
Bushnell Reva Jackman “Pioneer Home in Bushnell” 1939 oil on canvas
Carlyle Curt Drewes “Farm” 1939 cast stone
Carlyle Curt Drewes “Dairy Farming” 1939 cast stone
Carlyle Curt Drewes “Fish Hatchery” 1939 cast stone
Carmi Davenport Griffin “Service to the Farmer” 1939 oil on canvas
Carthage Karl Kelpe “Pioneers – Tilling the Soil and Building Log Cabin” 1938 mural
Chester Fay E. Davis “Loading the Packet” 1940 tempera
Chicago - Chestnut Street Station Gustaf Dalstrom “Great Indian Council, Chicago – 1833″ 1938 oil on canvas
Chicago - Chestnut Street Station (now in the Canal St. PO) Frances Foy “Advent of ‘The Pioneer’ – 1851″ 1938 oil on canvas
Chicago -
5th Army Headquarters located on the 4th floor, Downtown Branch
Charles Turzak “Abstract Symbols of Army” no date oil on canvas (each
10′ x 64′)
Chicago - Kedzie/Grace Branch Peterpaul Ott “Mercury” 1938 aluminum
Chicago - Lakeview Branch Harry Sternberg “Chicago -
the Epoch of a Great City”
1938 oil on canvas
Chicago -
Logan Square Branch
Hildreth Meiere “The Post” 1937 metal
Chicago - Morgan Park Branch J. Theodore Johnson “Father Marquette – 1674″ 1937 oil on canvas
Chicago -
Uptown Branch
Henry Varnum
“Carl Sandburg and Louis Sullivan” 1943 ceramic tile
Chillicothe Arthur H. Lidov “Rail Roading” 1942 egg tempera on gesso
Clinton Aaron Bohrod “Clinton in Winter” 1939 oil on canvas
Decatur Edward Millman “Early Pioneers” 1938 fresco
Decatur Edward Millman “Social Consciousness” 1938 fresco
Decatur Edward Millman “Growth of Democracy in Illinois” 1938 fresco
Decatur Mitchell Siporin “Fusion of Agriculture & Industry in Illinois” 1938 fresco
Decatur Edgar Britton “Natural Resources of Illinois” 1938 fresco
Decatur Edgar Britton “Development of Illinois” 1938 fresco
Des Plaines James Michael Newell “Father Marquette” 1945 mural
Downers Grove Elizabeth Tracy “Chicago, Railroad Center of the Nation” 1940 oil on canvas
Dwight Carlos Lopez “Stage at Dawn” 1937 fresco
East Alton Frances Foy “The Letter” 1936 oil on canvas
East Moline Edgar Britton “Early Settlers of Moline along the Mississippi” 1936 fresco
Eldorado William Schwartz “Mining in Illinois” 1937 oil on canvas
Elmhurst George Melville Smith “There was Vision” 1938 oil on canvas
Evanston Robert I. Russin “Throwing the Mail” 1941 cast aluminum with gold foil
Evanston Robert I. Russin “Mail Handler” 1941 cast aluminum with gold foil
Evanston Armin A. Scheler “The Message” 1940 carved limestone relief
Evanston Armin A. Scheler “The Answer” 1940 carved limestone relief
Fairfield William Schwartz “Old Settlers” 1936 oil on canvas
Flora Davenport Griffen “Good News and Bad” 1937 oil on canvas
Forest Park Miriam McKinnie (Hofmeier) “The White Fawn” 1940 mural
Galesburg Aaron Bohrod “Breaking the Prairie – Log City – 1837″ 1938 oil on canvas
Geneva Manuel A. Bromberg “Fish Fry in the Park” 1940 tempera
Gibson City Frances Foy “Hiawatha Returning with Minnehaha” 1940 oil on canvas
Gillespie Gustaf Dalstrom “Illinois Farm” 1936 oil on canvas
Glen Ellyn Dan Rhodes “Settlers” 1937 oil on canvas
Hamilton Edmund D. Lewandowski “On the River” 1941 mural
Herrin (missing) Gustaf Dalstrom “George Rogers Clark Conferring with Indians near Herrin” 1940 mural
Homewood Maurine Montgomery (Gibbs) “The Letter” 1942 wood relief
Kankakee Edouard Chassaing “Farming” 1943 wood relief
Lemont Charles Turzak “Canal Boats” 1938 oil on canvas
Lewistown Ida Abelman “Lewistown Milestones” 1941 tempera
McLeansboro Dorothea Mierisch “First Official Air Mail Flight” 1941 oil on canvas
Madison A. Raymond Katz “Assimilation of the Immigrant into the Industrial Life of Madison” 1940 oil on canvas
Marseilles Avery Johnson “Industrial Marseilles” 1938 oil on canvas
Marshall Miriam McKinnie (Hofmeier) “Harvest” 1938 oil on canvas
Melrose Park
Edwin Boyd Johnson “Air Mail” 1937 fresco
Moline Edward Millman “Ploughshare Manufacturing” 1937 egg tempera on gesso
Morton Charles Umlauf “Spirit of Communication” 1939 cast stone relief
Mount Carroll Irene Bianucci “Rural Scenes – Wakarusa Valley” 1941 oil on canvas
Mount Morris Dale Nichols “The Growth of Mount Morris” 1939 oil on canvas
Mount Sterling Henry Bernstein “The Covered Bridge” 1941 tempera
Naperville Rainey Bennett “George Martin’s Home Overlooking Old Naper Hill” 1941 oil on canvas
Nashville Zoltan Sepeshy “Barn Yard” 1942 tempera on wall board
Nokomis Bernard J. (Tony) Rosenthal “Coal Mining” 1947 wood relief
Normal Albert Pels “Development of the State Normal School” 1938 oil on canvas
Oak Park J. Theodore Johnson “History of Chicago” 1939 oil on canvas
O’Fallon (article) Merlin F. Pollock “John Mason Peck, First Postmaster Handing Out Mail – 1830″ 1939 oil on canvas
Oglesby Fay E. Davis “The Illini and Pottawatomies Struggle at Starved Rock” 1942 oil on canvas
Oregon David Cheskin “The Pioneer and Democracy” 1940 tempera
Park Ridge
(in storage)
George Melville Smith “Indians Cede the Land” 1940 mural
Post Office and Courthouse
Freeman Schoolcraft “Agriculture,” “Industry,” “Native Indian,” and “Postal Service” 1939 limestone
Petersburg John Winters “Lincoln at New Salem, Illlinois” 1938 oil on canvas
Pittsfield William Schwartz “Champ Clark Bridge” 1938 oil on canvas
Plano Peterpaul Ott “Harvest” 1941 wood relief
Rock Falls Curt Drewes “Farming by Hand” 1939 plaster relief
Rock Falls Curt Drewes “The Manufacture of Farm Implements” 1939 plaster relief
Rushville Rainey Bennett “Hart Fellows, Builder of Rushville” 1939 oil on canvas
Salem Vladimir Rousseff “Lincoln as Postmaster in New Salem” 1938 oil on canvas
Sandwich Marshall M. Fredericks “The Family” 1941 terra cotta relief
Shelbyville Sister Lucia Wiley “Shelby County Fair – 1900″ 1941 fresco
Staunton Ralph Henricksen “Going to Work” 1941 oil on canvas
Tuscola Edwin Boyd Johnson “The Old Days” 1941 oil on canvas
Vandalia Aaron Bohrod “Old State Capitol in Vandalia, Illinois” 1936 oil on canvas
Virden James Daugherty “Illinois Pastoral” 1939 tempera and oil
White Hall Felix Schlag “Potter and His Burro” 1939 plaster relief
Wilmette Raymond Breinin “In the Soil Is Our Wealth” 1938 oil on canvas
Wood River Archibald Motley, Jr. “Stagecoach and Mail” 1937 oil on canvas

All mural images depicted on this site are used with permission of the United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.

Visit the Illinois Post Office art slide show!

Bloom Township High School(article on the Edgar Britton frescoes from Historic Illinois, October 1988)

Cairo Public Library

CCC Camp in Illinois

Champaign - Champaign Junior High School (now Neil Middle School)


Jane Addams HomesChicago Department of WaterChicago Mural Restoration ProjectChicago ParksCook County HospitalLakeview Post Office South Side Community Art Center

College-in-the-Hills, Saline County – Mildred B. McCormick has written two very interesting articles about this early effort by WPA artists to establish a college for urban youths. - Part 1Part 2 - published by Springhouse Magazine.

Deerfield - article about the WPA tile mosaic mural that was in the Deerfield Grammar School – “Students Revive Mural for Kipling’s 50th” by Lena Rayes Ichkhan, Deerfield Review, June 1, 2000 (pdf)





Glen Ellyn - Forest Glen Elementary School

Lake Forest - Gorton Community Center

Lockport, IL – The Illinois State Museum, Lockport Gallery, has an extensive collection of WPA art plus is an excellent source of information on Illinois artists.

Macomb – the Missing Sculpture of Macomb! According to John Graham, Curator of Exhibits, Western Illinois University Art Gallery, Boris Gilbertson was commissioned to create a relief sculpture of a cow and calf for the Macomb Post Office, which he completed. However the Postmaster refused to accept the work, due to the impending war effort; he couldn’t accept art, a lower priority for the community, when the economic need was greater for the military. Consequently, the work was never installed and is presently located in Washington, presumably in mothballs.


Oak Park - a list of various WPA works plus photographs of the Andrene Kauffman wood carvings at Lincoln School

Peoria - “Peace” and “Harvest” by Mary Anderson Clark

Rochelle - The Public Library

Rock Island

St. Charles - Public Library

Shawneetown Courthouse murals - #1#2, and #3


Wilmette - Laurel School mural


Walter Burt Adams
Norman MacLeish
Marvin Martin - Establishing the Sculpture Program at the University of Illinois“ with biographical information about Marvin Martin (1907-1963) FAP/WPA artist (by Glen Martin, June 2001)
Frederick Nichols
Mrs. Increase Robinson
Carl Scheffler
Ethel Spears
List of Artists registered in Illinois Federal Art Projects
Illinois Artists -
The John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, 9625 S. Longwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60643 (773-779-0007) – A source of local history and artist biographies as well as a gallery of artist works from this period. Open Tuesday and Thursday 1-4pm, Saturday 10am-12:30pm (please call about visiting outside of posted hours).