: This photograph is a black-and-white image of a colorful mural titled "Mail—The Connecting Link’," painted in 1938 by artist Sally F. Haley (1908-2007). The mural depicts the significant role that mail (and the postal service) plays in the life of individuals and of the entire nation. Three human figures (a mail carrier, a woman, and a little girl) occupy the center of the image, forming a triangular space that divides the background between urban and rural settings. The mail carrier is delivering a letter to the woman as the little girl watches. Bags of mail travel to distant locations via trains (rural areas and small towns) and boats (large urban areas). On the left side the mural, a railroad signal bears the number “1938,” the year that Haley painted the mural.
The mural, painted in oil on canvas, is located in the McConnelsville, Ohio, post office. It measures 5 feet high by 17 feet wide. The mural was funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Section of Painting and Sculpture, one of the department’s three visual arts programs instituted during the Great Depression. Established in 1934, the Section of Painting and Sculpture commissioned artists to create paintings and sculpture that would decorate new federal buildings. The commissions were awarded competitively. Unlike other cultural programs of the New Deal, the Section’s primary goal was to procure art for public buildings, not to provide work relief.
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Sally Haley was the daughter of Elizabeth Akers Haley and John P. Haley, a portrait photographer. John Haley was a friend of photographers Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Two of Sally’s brothers also became artists.
In 1931, Sally Haley graduated from Yale University with a bachelor of fine arts degree. She taught art in a Bridgeport high school for two years, studied art in Germany for a few months, and then returned to the U.S. to paint full time. In 1935 she married artist Michele Russo, and the couple lived in Connecticut until 1947, when they moved to Portland, Oregon. Haley was very active in the Portland art scene, and her paintings were widely praised. She died in 2007 at age 99.
In 1988 photographer Connie Girard took color and black-and-white images of this mural for an article in "Timeline" magazine (June/July 1989).
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL04495 Subjects
: Mural paintings (visual works); Post office buildings--Ohio; United States. Department of the Treasury. Section of Painting and Sculpture; Great Depression and the New Deal; McConnelsville (Ohio) Places
: McConnelsville (Ohio); Morgan County (Ohio)