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Treasury Relief Art Project selected administrative and business records, 1935-1939

Treasury Relief Art Project


Collection Information

Size: 25 Microfilm reels

Summary: Selected records of TRAP include the following series: General Administrative and Reference File of the Chief of TRAP, Olin Dows, includes correspondence, reports, planning projects for artists, and memoranda (reel DC14); Correspondence of the New York City Supervisor with the Washington, D.C. office (reels DC14-15); and the bulk of the records, Central Office Correspondence with Field Offices, State Supervisors and Others (reels DC16-38). Each series has been described separately in this database.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP) was established in 1935 under the Department of the Treasury with special funds allocated from the Works Progress Administration (later the Work Projects Administration) to decorate those federal buildings not funded by the Section of Fine Arts and as a relief agency for unemployed, but highly competent artists. The Chief of TRAP was Olin Dows, Forbes Watson was Director, and Cecil H. Jones Assistant Chief, later replacing Dows.


Series microfilmed in 1966 by AAA were selected from the National Archives record group 121, records of the Public Buildings Service. Additional records of TRAP are preserved at the National Archives. Series which were not microfilmed include a card record by artist of art works submitted in competitions, 1936-1939. AAA has filmed and described separately, selected records of the Public Works of Art Project (reels DC1-13 and DC112-115), and the Section of Fine Arts (reels DC38-43), also from record group 121. Researchers may also wish to consult the personal papers of Forbes Watson and Olin Dows.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Originals in the National Archives; record group 121, entries 118-120.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels DC14-DC38 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Patrons must use microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

Treasury Relief Art Project selected administrative and business records, 1935-1939. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.