By David Stone Martin, Treasury Section of Fine Arts, 1940
Tempera on cardboard
Fine Arts Collection, General Services Administration
In the early 1930s, 9 out of 10 American farms had no electricity. One of
the New Deal's major achievements was bringing electrical power to rural
parts of the country, and this success was most vividly demonstrated in
the Tennessee River Valley. Through the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA),
the federal government built a series of huge hydroelectric dams to
provide power to the countryside. Artist David Stone Martin memorialized
this accomplishment in his mural for the post office in Lenoir, TN.
"Rural Electrification Administration co-op office. Lafayette,
By Peter Sakaer, Rural Electrification Administration
National Archives, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture
When power companies refused to run lines into rural America, claiming it
was too expensive, the New Deal's Rural Electrification Administration
sponsored cooperatives that received low-cost government loans for
developing electric power. Photographer Peter Sakaer artfully documented
one co-op in Louisiana bathed in the light it had brought to the region.
Deal Main Page] to see more at the national
archives on 'new deal'
||The Rural Electrification
Administration, a division of the Department of Agriculture, was
developed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to improve the
nationís rural areas as well as to revive the post-Depression
economy by providing jobs. As one of the first graphic designers
to work on this project, Lester Beall created a series of posters
for the administration from 1937 to 1941. Because the audience for
these posters had limited reading skills, these simple but
visually dramatic posters express their messages in primarily
graphic terms. The vivid design also reflects the influence of
Russian Constructivists on Beallís style. The success of the
poster series boosted Beallís career and became a benchmark in
the history of graphic design.
Posters American Style
Smithsonian American Art Museum See It!
Beall's graphically arresting poster suggests that the
benefits of electricity can provide rural Americans with a
wholesome, comfortable, and efficient lifestyle.
Better Home poster
For Rural Electrification Administration, U.S. Department
Designer: Lester Beall (American, 1909-1969)
USA, c. 1937-1941
Offset lithograph and screenprint
SRCAPF, GAE, Friends of Drawings and Prints, Sarah
Cooper Hewitt Fund, and through the gift of Mrs. Edward C.
Arts and Industrial Design Department
object is part of Design for Life online only. It
is not currently on display at the National Design Museum)
Copyright 1997 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Archives and Special Collections, RIT Library, Rochester Institute of
[Boy and Girl on Fence]
40" x 30"
||Click Picture for larger view!
This is from a 1949 IBEW Union Labor Magazine. This
was the cover for the "Labor Day Issue"
(George Mann Collection At SMECC)