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The Van Ingen Murals at Dewey

While compiling items for our new display on FDR, we decided to find more information about William B. Van Ingen, painter of the murals adorning the walls of the Dewey Library of Hawley Hall. I personally had a chance to talk with Brian Keough, Head of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives here at the University at Albany. Here’s what he found out while researching our archives for display material:

The Hawley Murals were painted and installed in 1935-1938 as a U.S. Works
Projects Administration project by William B. Van Ingen. The WPA's
Federal Project Number One, known as Federal One, was the largest and
most important of Roosevelt's New Deal cultural programs. Prior to the
Hawley murals, Van Ingen was commissioned by the U.S. Government to
paint murals in the Panama Canal Administration Building in completed in
1915. He also received commissions to paint murals in the Library of
Congress, the Pennsylvania State Capitol, the New Jersey State Capitol,
the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, and Federal buildings in Chicago and
Indianapolis.

Brian also mentioned about the items Special Collections houses right in the archives:

We have very few items from the period that the murals were being
created and installed, except for a few articles in the student
newspaper (which reported some incorrect information) and a 1945 letter
from Van Ingen to the Library Director Mary E. Cobb describing his ideas
for the murals. We have considerably more material on the 1974
restoration of the murals including images of the murals and people
restoring them.

To research our archives on this or other topics, visit the Special Collections homepage for more information. Don’t forget to check out their blog as well!

Blog post created by Jill Parsons