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Julius Moessel, WPA Muralist
The Field Museum commissioned artist Julius Moessel through the WPA for a series of murals titled "The Story of Food Plants." The 18 murals were reviewed favorably by one critic as "far and away his most important public work since he came to America." For further reading on Moessel and The Field Museum, please refer to "Rediscovering Julius Moessel: Chicago and The Field Museum's Master Muralist." In the Field v. 70 (May-June 199): p. 2-5.
© The Field Museum, B82084. Julius Moessel, artist commissioned for murals as part of WPA, sitting in front of "Rice Growing in the Philippines" painting for Hall 28.
© The Field Museum, B79599c, Photographer Clarence B. Mitchell. Threshing with flails, Europe. Mural painting by Julius Moessel. One of a series to illustrate man's quest of vegetable food. Read online: "The Story of Food Plants" by B.E. Dahlgren with illustrations by Julius Moessel.
Stephen E. Nash's chapter "The Great Depression Begets a Great Expansion: Field Museum Anthropology, 1929-1941," provides extensive detail and context on WPA activities and the Anthropology Department at the Museum during those years.
For specific questions about our holdings, please contact Museum Archivist Armand Esai via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shovel Ready by
Publication Date: 2013-01-25
Shovel Ready provides a comprehensive lens through which to view the New Deal period, a fascinating and prolific time in American archaeology. In this collection of diverse essays united by a common theme, Bernard K. Means and his contributors deliver a valuable research tool for practicing archaeologists and historians of archaeology, as well as New Deal scholars in general. To rescue Americans from economic misery and the depths of despair during the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created several New Deal jobs programs to put people to work. Men and women labored on a variety of jobs, from building roads to improving zoos. Some ordinary citizens--with no prior experience--were called on to act as archaeologists and excavate sites across the nation, ranging in size from small camps to massive mound complexes, and dating from thousands of years ago to the early Colonial period. Shovel Ready contains essays on projects ranging across the breadth of the United States, including New Deal investigations in California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Some essays engage in historical retrospectives. Others bring the technologies of the twenty-first century, including accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of curated collections and geophysical surveys at New Deal-excavated sites, to bear on decades-old excavations. The volume closes with an investigation into material remnants of the New Deal itself. Contributors John L. Cordell / John F. Doershuk / David H. Dye /Scott W. Hammerstedt / Janet R. Johnson / Kevin Kiernan /Gregory D. Lattanzi /Patrick C. Livingood / Anna R. Lunn / Bernard K. Means / Stephen E. Nash / Amanda L. Regnier / Sissel Schroeder / James R. Wettstaed