Historical

Nebraska’s Post Office Murals Explores New Deal Legacy in Nebraska Communities

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Public art is among the most enduring visual legacies of the New Deal that offered hope during the Great Depression. “Nebraska’s Post Office Murals: Born of the Depression, Fostered by the New Deal” is a new book from Nebraska State Historical Society Books. Richly illustrated with photographs and never-before- published artists’ sketches and working drawings the book reveals the personalities, conflicts, and spirit of the times from which the art emerged.

Color foldouts of each painting tell the story of the U.S. Treasury Department’s post office mural program in Nebraska. Albion, Auburn, Crawford, Geneva, Hebron, Minden, Ogallala, O’Neill, Pawnee City, Red Cloud, Schuyler, and Valentine all received murals through the Department of the Treasury’s program.

L. Robert Puschendorf,  Nebraska State Historical Society associate director and the deputy state historic preservation officer spent more than five years researching the book. With James E. Potter he is the co-author of the Nebraska Book Award-winning “Spans in Time: A History of Nebraska Bridges,” and  has published numerous historical articles.

Nebraska’s Post Office Murals: Born of the Depression, Fostered by the New Deal, by L. Robert Puschendorf. Hardcover (10″ x 8″), 120 pages, illustrated, index, bibliography, $29.95 / NSHS Members $26.95 (plus tax & shipping on all orders). To order visit nebraskahistory.org/murals or call 402-471-3447.

What readers say: “Across Nebraska, small town post offices still house gems of regional art. This book brings these murals to a larger audience. This is a fascinating and enlightening exploration of a beauty in the midst of hard times.” -Bill Ganzel, author of Dust Bowl Descent

 L.Robert Puschendorf digs deeply into the layers of this nation’s first government art patronage program, exploring its origins and its evolution during the Great Depression. Through the political and bureaucratic morass, he diligently uncovers within the state’s WPA-built post offices, a rich Nebraska legacy of regional art murals.” -Sharon Kennedy, Curator of Cultural and Civic Engagement, Sheldon Museum of Art