These are the doors of the former Education Building, now the State Library and Archives in Harrisburg.  The doors show various occupations, careers and professions that students could strive for as they studied.  This is one of three sets of such doors on the west side of the building, in the block north of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, and these face a block long park-like space full of mature  and beautiful trees that Pennsylvanians lovingly call The Grove.

This is one of Lawrie’s true masterpieces and is perhaps the quintessential example of his creative, Art Deco Genius.  

Just imagine that Lawrie dreamt up each of these individual humans, each plying their trades or professions. Note also the symbols used for other industries.  Throughout these doors, they are punctuated with the Keystone, which is also the state emblem for Pennsylvania:the Keystone State.

From the top, we see scales and time: perhaps representing finance or commerce. Then we see a globe and a crescent, suggestive of perhaps geography, but also astronomy.

Next we see a group of pine trees, suggesting forestry.  

A musical scale, for, well, music, musicians, songs, symphonies, orchestras and all that springs from music.

Then he shows us a lamp, a time-honored icon of learning and education, followed by the masks of comedy and tragedy–for the world of drama; acting, writing, producing, even movie making could fall under its aegis.

The next row shows us a beehive, which can suggest beekeeping or Lawrie has frequently used the beehive to represent industry, or more precisely, industriousness. Being busy and productive.

After the hive, Lawrie shows and airplane: aviation!  Flying!  (Few things in life are more fun than flying!)

The procession continues with more individual figures, a fireman opening a hydrant, a bishop holding a church (religion,) athletes running and what appears to be a man carrying ingots into a vault.  

Then come more artistic pursuits: glassblowing, pottery, stonecutting, quarrying, or maybe even sculpting, followed by a man running a loom. A weaver making cloth for clothing.

Next-an open book, for literature or perhaps just reading, or study and an artist’s painting palette and brush.

Then comes a steamboat, next to a dynamo for producing electricity.

This set is wrapped up in the lower two rows with amphorae, the ancient clay vessels used to store wine. Become a vintner, if you wish.  

Next we see a foundry ladle used in the steel-making industry, pouring molten steel.

Last but not least, we see a cobbler’s tools, an an anvil, a hammer and the sole of a shoe.  When this building was built, there was still a vital shoemaking industry in the U.S.  The final icons are a square knot and an anchor, representing maritime trades, sailing, shipping, and naval operations.


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Doors to the Forum Building, Harrisburg, PA, by Lee Lawrie.
LeeLawrie.com

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