Harry Everett Townsend ( 1879 – 1941)
This article profiles a struggling time, 1933 – 34, in the life of artist Harry Everett Townsend. His story is one part of a much larger New Deal narrative that will circle back to the National Archives (NA) and the inadvertent retention and rediscovery of “orphaned” * New Deal “business files”. These financial files were generated during the short lifespan of the first federal art program, the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), they dovetail and compliment other known New Deal collections at the NA and add factoids previously unknown.
There are a wealth of books and articles written about Harry Everett Townsend, but none address this soul crushing and devastating Great Depression period in his life. Suffice to say, Townsend, although well known and established, was an artist desperate for work. He would come to find relief and purpose with the various federal art programs; employment which saved him financially and emotionally.
It wasn’t until he was sent to depict the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that he was once again in his element. As a WWI veteran combat artist he saw his employment with the PWAP as an opportunity to repay a debt to America, fulfilling a commitment he felt was long overdue.
Harry Everett Townsend
1930’s HARD TIMES
” I am in trouble and truly sick at heart . . . one is ashamed to face the world.”