2 Replies Latest reply on May 29, 2020 2:52 PM by Cara Moore Lebonick

    Seeking information about WPA artist Herman Meyer


      I am trying to find information on Herman Meyer 1882-1960, a WPA visual artist active during the 1930's. I do see he is listed among the WPA artists of the time, and the National Gallery of Art has in it's collection (not on view) pieces his work; but I can find no biography of this artist. I have included an example of his work "Manhattan Bridge New York City" 1933. Thank you.

        • Re: Seeking information about WPA artist Herman Meyer
          Jason Atkinson Guide

          Dear Mr. Abraham,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          There may be personnel records for him in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Please see NARA’s topic page  WPA Personnel Records for information about ordering these files.


          Also, we searched the National Archives Catalog and located 54 series and 11 file units in the Records of the Work Projects Administration (Record Group 69) that include press clippings and articles maintained by the WPA. Some may be about Herman Meyer and his work. Please email National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at Archives2reference@nara.gov for more information about these records.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL and RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          In addition, you may wish to contact the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, as well as other art institutions with his work in their collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

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          • Re: Seeking information about WPA artist Herman Meyer
            Cara Moore Lebonick Adventurer

            Dear Mr. Abraham,


            Mr. Atkinson is correct! His biographic information may be found in his personnel record, located at the National Archives at St. Louis. I would update his link to this one, though; https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/opf


            WPA personnel records can contain basic biographic information, but they do differ from many typical personnel files. They rarely have applications and are usually comprised of a series of assignment slips and earnings cards. More information can be found in the 2019 Q4 issue of the National Genealogical Society journal: https://www.ngsgenealogy.org/ngsq/ (Full disclosure, I wrote it.)


            Artists, in particular, are difficult to track during their time associated with the WPA. When you fill out the request form for us, please include as much information about the artists' known time in the WPA. Namely, where the work was done, what kind of work it was (P.O. murals, NYC posters, etc.) and that you are looking for an artist. This will help ensure that we conduct as thorough as search as is reasonable. Artists were sometimes paid with the commission city's received for art projects, meaning their personnel files will be filed with that particular city, but sometimes they were part of a national project and were paid from a central fund, meaning their personnel files will be with the central office records.


            I hope this is helpful and that when we return to the office we can help locate some more information for your research!




            Cara Moore Lebonick

            Archives Specialist

            National Archives at St. Louis

            2 people found this helpful