Philadelphia. Old Swedes Church


This poster depicting the Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia was made 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. These posters were used to promote local tourism and to publicize a variety of programs from art to safety. The colony of New Sweden was established in 1637 and came to encompass parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. In 1655 the colony was taken over by the Dutch, who in turn were conquered by the English in 1664. Construction of the Old Swedes Church, also known as the Gloria Dei Church, was begun in 1698 by a congregation of Swedish Lutherans dating back to New Sweden. The use of Swedish gradually died out, and in 1845 the congregation joined the Episcopal Church. The foreground of the poster shows the Gloria Dei Cemetery, one of the oldest burial grounds in Philadelphia and the resting place of sea captains, scientists, Revolutionary War generals, artists, and ministers.

Last updated: April 13, 2012