Poster of a Coal Miner, Pennsylvania, 1937


This poster featuring the head and shoulders of a coal miner was made in 1937 for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) Federal Art Program in Pennsylvania. One of the New Deal programs launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat Depression-era unemployment, in 1936–43 the WPA supported the creation of more than 2,000 posters by well-known artists. Posters such as this one by Isadore Posoff were used to promote local tourism and to publicize a variety of programs from art to safety. Coal mining in Pennsylvania began in the late 18th century at bituminous mines in the western part of the state and anthracite mines in the northeast. Production peaked in 1918, during World War I, when 330,000 miners were employed and produced 277 million tons of coal. The industry declined after the war and reached a low point during the Depression, when much of American industry stood idle. In 2010, Pennsylvania was still the fourth largest coal-producing state in the United States, with an annual output of just over 58 million tons.

Last updated: April 13, 2012