DuPage County Centennial Flower Show Poster - A WPA Federal Art Project - December 2021

We made a stop at the Potbelly's in Willowbrook right off of Route 83 for lunch recently and sat underneath this poster that you see below.  It advertises the DuPage County Centennial Flower Show in Hinsdale on June 9,10, 11.  At the bottom it reads: "Presented by the Home Gardeners of DuPage County".    It is in a lovely vintage frame.

And, if you look even closer at the bottom, you'll see this copy that speaks to how the poster was created:  "Made by WPA Federal Art Project, Chicago, Illinois".  See below for a closeup of that section: 


Pretty cool, right?  I mean...what could be better than a vintage poster that is both LOCAL and about something that I'm into (gardening).  

A quick spin around the Web and it wasn't hard to figure out the provenance of this poster. The Library of Congress has a listing for it and even dates it: Jun 22 1939. I'm guessing that's the day it was added to the collection, so my hunch is that it was sent to DC right after it was printed. If you look around, you'll find that DuPage county split from Cook County in 1839, so 1939 is, indeed, the Centennial.

That means this poster is (or would be) 80+ years old.  Looks incredibly good for a 80-year old poster doesn't it?  That lead me to dig around even more.  Turns out, you can buy reproductions of this poster pretty easily on the Web.  This size is about fifty bucks.   The LoC listing includes an artist's name:  Charles Raymond Long.  He lived from 1909 to 1976.  And, it turns out, he did more local (to us) posters including this Panda one for the Brookfield Zoo.  

Seems that the WPA sponsored the creation of these posters.  I've posted about similar New Deal(ish) projects that I've encountered including the waterfalls at Waterfall Glen that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps - which was the predecessor of the WPA. I also have a chair in my office that has its roots to the Farm Security Administration which also was a New Deal organization.  The FSA was tasked with creating propaganda through photography.  Neat to see these three things together in the archives here on the blog.  

As for this poster....kudos to the decorators of the Potbelly's there in Willowbrook.  Nice reproduction that sure is of interest to all of us in DuPage County.  If I wasn't thinking of my collecting mantra, it sure feels like something I'd buy RIGHT NOW.

What was it again?  Oh, that's right: "It is enough to enjoy the existence of things without possessing all of them."

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