Thursday, October 1, 2015
New Deal Art: "Oyster Shuckers." And, a New Deal for oysters.
Above: "Oyster Shuckers," an oil painting by Catherine M. Howell (1892-1975), created while she participated in the New Deal's Public Works of Art Project, ca. 1934. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Above: Oyster shuckers at work at Rock Point, Maryland, 1936. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Above: This 1941 photo shows piles of oyster shells outside a group of processing buildings at Rock Point, Maryland. The oyster business provided lots of jobs and food for America, but could also deplete resources. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Above: Between 1935 and 1943, WPA workers planted 8.2 million bushels of oysters. This type of work supported the oyster industry and also helped clean the bay (oysters are excellent water filters). The WPA workers in this photo are on the Chesapeake Bay, off Crisfield, Maryland, 1936. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.
Above: In this short video from 2012, we see that the job of oyster shucking is not necessarily much different than it was in the 1930s (and earlier). Original YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYClxs6nQ9k.