Brain Pickings Icon
Brain Pickings

“In March, Read the Books You’ve Always Meant to Read”: Gorgeous Vintage PSA Posters, 1939-1941

Dickens, Dumas, Austen, Tolstoy, Eliot, Clemens, Hawthorne, Thackeray, Scott.

In 1935, in an effort to elevate the nation from the grip of The Great Depression, President Roosevelt launched the Works Progress Administration — a New Deal agency enlisting millions of ordinary citizens and unskilled workers in carrying out public space and service projects as diverse as art murals, road work, and building construction. With a government investment of nearly $7 billion, the WPA provided some 8 million jobs and soon became the largest employer in the country, in the process producing a wealth of public service announcement posters — a treasure trove of mid-century design.

Among the WPA’s design output were a number of gorgeous vintage posters for various literacy projects:

‘In March read the books you’ve always meant to read’
March 25, 1941, WPA Art Project Chicago
‘The vacation reading club – join now at your public library’
March 25, 1939, WPA Iowa Project
‘A book mark would be better!’
Dated between 1936 and 1940, WPA Art Project Chicago

So, in March, what are you reading? A good place to start:

Published March 1, 2012




Filed Under

View Full Site

Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support Brain Pickings by offsetting a fraction of what it takes to maintain the site, and is very much appreciated