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Discover the Art in Your Local Post Office: Murray J. Roper's "Industry and the Family"

May 10, 2022
Industry and the Family sculpture by Murray J. Roper

Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Why not head down to your local post office and take a look at the art on display!

Many post offices contain artwork that was sponsored during the Great Depression as part of the Treasury Department's Fine Arts section economic stimulus program under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. One such example is the Harrison NJ Post Office, which contains a Plaster Relief entitled "Industry and the Family" sculpted by Murray J. Roper in 1940. The Harrison United States Post Office was constructed as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration's New Deal which provided Federal money to build Post Offices throughout the United States.

"Industry and the Family" sculpted by Murray J. Roper

The Harrison Post Office was completed in 1938. Its cornerstone contains the following information: Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury; James A. Farley, Postmaster General; Louis A. Simon, Supervising Architect; Neal A. Melick, Supervising Engineer, and Alan Balch Mills, Consultant. 

A nice video of the Post Office and the "Industry and the Family" Plaster Relief was done recently by David W. Gates, Jr. (see below)

Public Art was also commissioned for the neighboring Town of Kearny's Midland Avenue Post Office (formerly known as the Arlington Post Office). The Public Art at the Kearny Post Office is in the form of two murals entitled "The Marsh" and "The City" by Albert Kotin. The mural was completed in 1935.  

The Cornerstone to the Kearny Post Office building contains the same names as the Harrison Post Office (see above) except for the last name on the Cornerstone which being "Alan Balch Mills, Consultant" is replaced with Wesley Sherwood Bessell, Architect. 

David W. Gates Jr. also did a YouTube video of the Kearny Post Office including the two murals. 

Your local postmaster or clerk will be more than happy to give you a tour and tell you all about the artwork in their facility. So go out and explore today! And don't forget to drop a letter in the mailbox while you're at it.