For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

New Free Library Exhibition Explores the Workers and Artists of the New Deal

PHILADELPHIA, September 1, 2021— The Free Library of Philadelphia welcomes all to explore how people came together in the wake of the Great Depression in a new exhibition, For the Greatest Number: The New Deal Revisited. The exhibition, open today in the third floor gallery of the Parkway Central Library, offers a look at the art and objects funded by the New Deal and asks the questions: What do we owe our neighbors, and what does our country owe us?

The wounds of the Great Depression weren’t healed by politicians but by people working together in community to remake the country. We hope visitors to the exhibition or its programs will be inspired to think about how our current crises demand that we build a better world together,” said Caitlin Goodman, Curator, Rare Book Department, who curated the exhibition along with Laura Stroffolino, Curator, Print and Picture Collection.

The objects on view in the gallery include artwork, books, maps, models, musical instruments, photographs, and more, from across the Parkway Central Library’s vast research departments and special collections. Together they tell the story of how workers made the New Deal real. Prints from New Deal agency artists such as innovative Black artist Dox Thrash, a printmaker who worked with Philadelphia’s own Fine Print Workshop, feature realistic and moving depictions of Black life at the time. Photographs of all of the objects in the exhibition can be seen in the Free Library’s Digital Collections. Find more information on programs and objects at

The exhibition includes many interactive features, including blog posts and programs that will bring the exhibition’s artists, workers, and legacies to life. There is also a Spotify playlist and a podcast for those who want to hear more. The Free Library has also curated reading lists for young readers and adults alike who want to continue to learn more about the New Deal and its impact.

For the Greatest Number and its related programming are made possible by generous support from the Independence Foundation and the IFPDA Foundation, through grants secured by the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. It will be available to visit in person through February 4, 2022 on the Third Floor of the Parkway Central Library, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850