Art & Social Issues in American Culture
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Labor Disputes

Company Town

by Lynd Ward

The term company town came into currency in Europe and North America during the Industrial Age.  These towns were usually associated with single industries such as coal or textiles where a company held a monopoly on most of the real estate, utilities, and community resources such as hospitals and necessities such as grocery stores.  If the economy or the particular industry or company collapsed, so did the company town. The term has come to be associated with corporate exploitation of workers and their families.

In this wood engraving, a lone figure strolls down a deserted street of boarded-up houses.  Ward popularized a book format in which a story is told in images not words. The title of Ward’s 1974 monograph, Storyteller without Words, can be applied to him. 

What story do you think Company Town tells?

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Artist Biography

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Lynd Ward, Company Town

Lynd Ward, Company Town, 1936.  Wood engraving, 5 x 4 ½ in. 

Museum Purchase, Derby Fund, from the Philip J. and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art 1930-1970

Within Labor Disputes...
Paul Cadmus Hugo Gellert Thomas Hart Benton Lynd Ward

Rural Poverty Urban Poverty Anti-Poverty Efforts Fall Short Labor Disputes
Ida Abelman
Thomas Hart Benton
Lucienne Bloch
Harry Brodsky
Paul Cadmus
Francis Chapin
Jack Delano
Phillip Evergood
George Gilbert
Hugo Gellert
Joseph Hirsch
Irwan Hoffman
Morris Huberland
Meritt Mauzey
Elizabeth Olds
Walter Quirt
Moses Soyer
Raphael Soyer
Lynd Ward

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