Our exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it? To find out more,
The two World Wars (1914-18 and 1939-45) created huge orders for Connecticut-made military material, munitions, and supplies. In peacetime, even during the Depression (1929-1939), factory owners repurposed equipment and workers’ expertise to churn out new necessities like electrical appliances or aviation products, which were advertised nationally and internationally. Wars, immigration quotas, and global economic depression reduced European immigration, so many Connecticut women went to work in factories for the first time, and factory owners recruited black men and women from the South to fill labor shortages in Connecticut and other northern states.
This five-color poster is a beautiful example of the Art Deco style posters created by the Works Progress Administration. With swooping contour lines and bright colors, each woman symbolizes the facets of the work that was needed—farm, office, and factory—by using the tools and wearing the uniforms that were typically worn by the workers of each industry.
Mike Messina is the Interpretive Projects Associate at the Connecticut Historical Society.