East Chicago Public Library Mural – East Chicago IN

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A New Deal agency commissioned the artist Ernest Kasas to paint the mural titled “The Gift Of The Book To Mankind” at the the East Chicago Public Library. While sources attribute the work to the Federal Art Project, given the date (1934, which pre-dates the WPA) it is likely that the work was actually commissioned under the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP).

The history and characteristics of the mural are described by the East Chicago Public Library, thus:

“The mural on the back wall over the Reference Desk at the Pastrick Branch was painted by Ernest Kasas of Indiana Harbor (East Chicago), as a WPA (The Works Progress Administration) Arts Project.

It was completed May 1934, was unveiled on January 24, 1935. The Hungarian Consul in Chicago and Frank V. Dudley, noted Dunes artist, were present at the unveiling. The Title: ‘The Gift Of The Book To Mankind.’

The central figure is represented as awarding the public branch, typing success, to those who have made a wise use of books and reading.

The painter and radio announcer in the mural is Ernest Kasas and the man with the beard is his father. Other models were students from high school. The size of the mural is 36 x 64 long.”

Source notes

East Chicago Public Library, Mural History: (http://www.ecpl.org/page1/page50/), accessed August 6, 2018.

Hammond Times, November 1935: (https://newspaperarchive.com/hammond-times-nov-08-1935-p-), accessed August 6, 2018.


Project originally submitted by Gloria McMillan on August 6, 2018.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Location Info

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1008 W. Chicago Ave.
East Chicago, IN 46312

Coordinates: 41.6295098, -87.4841910

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