Beulah R. Bettersworth

born St. Louis, MO 1894-died 1968
Also known as
  • Beulah Ruth Bettersworth
  • Beulah Ruth
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Active in
  • New York, New York, United States
  • Woodstock, New York, United States
  • American

Beulah Bettersworth grew up in St. Louis and studied at the Art Students League in New York. Among her teachers were John Sloan and George Bellows, who encouraged their students to go outside and experience the lively hustle of New York's streets. Beulah married the illustrator Howard Bettersworth, and New York art critics praised her work in a 1933 show featuring the wives of prominent artists. She was asked to participate in subsequent exhibitions at prestigious institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Mural commissions for the New Deal took her from New York to Mississippi, where she made wall paintings of cotton plantations for U.S. post offices.

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.