Wednesday, 8 May 2013

VINTAGE: By the People, For the People 1936-1943

When I came across a post on the Knitting on Trains blog showcasing some gorgeous prints uploaded by the Library of Congress, I just knew I'd be spending hours, if not days pouring over the libraries collection of vintage prints, photographs and images. It's only right to share, so over the next coming weeks and months I want to share some of them with you starting with WRP posters as they cover my favourite vintage eras - the 1930's and 1940's. I'm so excited to share these with you.

The Works Projects Administration (WPA) poster collection consists of over 900 of the original 2000 graphic, bold and diverse posters produced between 1936 to 1943 as part of President F. D Roosevelt's New Deal. With a mixture of lithograph, silkscreen and woodcut posters, they were designed to advertise cultural exhibitions, health and safety programs to travel and tourism in an America dealing with the remnants of the Great Depression. These posters were used in seventeen states including California  Illinois, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. While many of the WPA designs were created for the war especially aimed at women, they are worthy of a post just for those, so keep an eye out for the next set of prints.

Click through on any of the images for their source. 

Photographs, second annual exhibition, Sioux City Camera Club.
Iowa, published sometime between 1936 - 39

The Buckingham Fountain on Chicago's lake front - the "world's largest
and most beautiful illuminated fountain", published 1939
Visit the Brookfield Zoo - Illinois, published between 1936 - 38
Children's Drawings, Ohio 1939
Pennsylvania farming landscape by Robert Muchley, 1936 - 41
The United States First Foreign Trade Zone - Staten Island,
New York City, opened in 1937
These are only 6 of 900 prints they have online and I paritculary love the visit the zoo series of print they have within the WPA series. I could have shown you so many more so I encourage you to take the time to explore the prints on the Library of Congress website, there catalogue's are vast and certainly worth a visit. There's even some 1800's British cartoons uploaded too. Next up i'll show you some of the War Time WPA posters.


  1. The Buckingham Fountain poster is fantastic, I think I'd be very happy with a print of it on my wall. What a great thing to share - might busy myself taking a look for a while!

    Jem xXx

  2. I just love vintage posters and pictures! I'll have to check them out!

    Ergo - Blog

  3. Thank you for sharing!!! We studied some of these posters in my History of Graphic Design and I always found this time period fascinating :]

  4. Vintage prints like this make great wall art and are so incredibly rare to find amongst a sea of modern alternatives. I sure would love some in my home! The panda one is my favourite xxx