During the Great Depression, the federal government established several arts programs as part of the New Deal. The Treasury Section of Fine Arts employed artists to primarily produce murals in post offices around the country. One of the most prominent themes in these murals is progress. This project explores three case studies of post offices in Ohio. Chapter one examines the Amherst post office, which features pioneers crossing the Ohio River on a barge and explores the social roles before looking at the frontier thesis as embraced by the section administrator Edward Bruce. The second chapter examines Orrville’s post office mural, which depicts the founding of the town, and then looks at how the artist situated national themes of progress within this local context. The third chapter examines the two murals of Warren, which depict the past and present of the steel industry in the town, focusing on the theme of technological progress between the two murals. Ultimately, the project brings out the theme of progress present in each work and contextualizes it in Turner’s frontier thesis.


Roche, Jeff

Second Advisor

Siewert, John


History; Art and Art History

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Curtis J. Davies