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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > By the People, For the People

[Detail] See America. Alexander Dux

Public Service Announcements | Art Criticism | Reading Programs |  Commemorative Weeks | Creative Writing

The materials featured in By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943, provide an opportunity to develop critical thinking and creative writing skills. Advertisements, public service announcements, and posters and calendars that promote literacy can be used to examine artists' intents and techniques. These materials can then be used as the basis for original works. The collection's Creator Index provides the opportunity to assess the collected work of a specific graphic artist. These activities, along with an assessment of the World War II-era posters in this collection, can also work as a catalyst for a number of creative writing projects.

Public Service Announcements

Many of the posters in this collection raise awareness of issues relating to health and public safety. Browse the Subject Index for posters discussing the hazards of drunk driving and jaywalking as well as works promoting literacy campaigns and improved public-housing conditions.

  • What types of images and colors are employed to attract attention?
  • How does the phrasing and style of the text convey the poster's message?
  • How does the composition of the poster--particularly the relationship of images within the piece--convey the intended message?
  • How do the posters that warn against dangerous conditions compare to pieces that promote positive efforts such as literacy? How do these posters compare to other pieces in this collection?
  • Choose a public service message and create a poster that conveys this information.