“Benjamin Franklin” statue, National Postal Museum, Washington, DC
William Zorach was commissioned by the New Deal’s Treasury Section of Fine Arts to create the statue “Benjamin Franklin.” The statue was made out of marble, and Zorach was paid $8,000 for the job. This artwork was created for the headquarters of the U.S. Post Office Department—today’s Clinton Federal Building—and now resides in the National Postal Museum (and the museum itself served as the main post office—not to be confused with the headquarters building—for Washington, DC from 1914-1986).
The Treasury Section of Fine Arts existed from 1934 to 1943. It was initially called the “Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture”; then the “Treasury Section of Fine Arts”; and finally just “Section of Fine Arts” when it was moved under the jurisdiction of the newly-created Public Buildings Administration (PBA) in 1939 (the PBA itself was a subdivision of the Federal Works Agency). The Section adorned many post offices and other federal buildings with murals, sculptures, carvings, and reliefs.
Final Report, Section of Fine Arts, Public Buildings Administration, October 16, 1934 to July 15, 1943, p. 6.
“Benjamin Franklin,” General Services Administration (accessed September 27, 2020).
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on October 6, 2020.
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