Depression-Era Poster Art Featured on New U.S. Stamps

U.S. 2017 Stamp Program

Striking imagery from Depression-era posters are featured on 10 new U.S. forever stamps formally issued today, March 7, in a first-day ceremony at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. The stamps were produced in double-sided panes of 20 (convertible booklet format).

The posters depicted on the stamps were created by artists employed by the Work Projects Administration’s Federal Art Project’s Poster Division and created to support the civic-minded ideals of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.

WPA Posters
WPA Posters

“It is undeniable that Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood the importance of visual design and how it could communicate powerful messages of optimism, hope and perseverance,” Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan, who dedicated the stamps. “It is also fitting that these WPA posters are being memorialized on postage stamps, because President Roosevelt had a lifelong fascination with stamps as artwork.”

Brennan was joined at the stamp dedication ceremony by Paul Sparrow, director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum; Anthony Musso, author and historian; and David B. Roosevelt, grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

“These stamps commemorate the work of my grandfather’s most ambitious New Deal program and the artwork generated from the WPA artists,” said Roosevelt. “Much of the artwork adorned public buildings built by WPA employees.”

The stamps feature 10 illustrative posters from the Library of Congress collection.

Formed in 1935 as the Works Progress Administration — renamed Work Projects Administration in 1939 — the WPA provided millions of jobs during the Great Depression. Lasting until 1943, the WPA’s Federal Art Program’s Poster Division was absorbed into World War II programs.

Antonio Alcalá served as the art director of the project and designed the stamps with Maribel O. Gray.

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