Doug Leen with National Park poster. Leen will visit the Jesup Memorial Library on May 25. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE JESUP

Meet ranger of the lost art at the Jesup



BAR HARBOR — Learn about the National Park posters made by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) between 1938 and 1941, which were subsequently lost to history and only recently rediscovered, at the Jesup Memorial Library on Wednesday, May 25, at 6:30 p.m. Also see four of the original posters, only 42 of which are known to be in existence.

In 1973, a young park ranger named Doug Leen rescued a Grand Teton poster destined for a park burn pile. That poster was one of 14 National Park posters designed by the WPA. When Leen found the poster, it set him on a 20-year search to find about more about the posters. His research led him to discover the remnants of this unique poster art in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. Leen, also called “Ranger Doug,” found 13 black-and-white negatives and one poster from the original printing. Using these as a starting point, Leen worked to recreate and reissue the posters. Of the 14 designs, originals of only 12 have ever been found.

After recreating the original posters, other parks approached Leen and co-artist Brian Maebius to create other posters in the same style. He has now made posters for around 50 National Parks. His posters have been featured in galleries and museums around the country, including a recent 14-month exhibit at the Department of the Interior Museum in Washington, D.C. Leen is travelling the country as part of the National Park Service’s centennial to educate people about the WPA posters and to give people a glimpse into this lost art. Visit rangerdoug.com.

Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or [email protected].

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