Beulah Bettersworth, 1894-1964
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Bettersworth was an Eastern establishment artist active in New York City, where she had studied at the Art Students League as well as in Europe, and under various teachers such as Charles Hawthorne, a popular American Impressionist painter.
Employed by The United States Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts during the Great Depression, Bettersworth was appointed to create murals for new federal buildings with “regionalist” art, which portrays a realistic view of life in America focusing on the people in their environment.
One of her murals is located on the lobby wall of the Main Street Branch of the Columbus, Mississippi Post Office. Entitled “Out of the Soil,” it was painted in oil on canvas between 1939 and 1940, and depicts a southern cotton field being harvested by black field workers, plowed by a white farmer and surrounded by historical buildings.
After visiting Columbus to familiarize herself with the town, its people and heritage, Bettersworth returned to her New York studio to paint her mural. She shipped it to Columbus where it was installed in 1940, the same year the post office opened.
This information is taken from an article, “How The South Was Painted,” written by Paul Grootkerk, Ph.D. in the magazine “Discover Columbus, Mississippi” on pages 22-24, a publication of “Kudzu Magazine,” and is located in the Local History room with the call # CL 976.209 Lowndes Dis.