United Methodist Historical Society of Ohio
Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Established in 1839


Do you have a copy of this Women's Home Missionary Society Project Picture
in your attic, closet or church archives?
If so, please contact Sharon Monigold
at the Archives of Ohio United Methodism, aoum@owu.edu
                                                                                             Photo by Nick Connavino
The "Project Picture" shown above was created for the 50th anniversary of the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This version, once owned by the now closed Cleveland Broadway UMC, has been deposited at the Archives of Ohio United Methodism, located at Ohio Wesleyan University, Beeghly Library, Delaware, Ohio. The size of the unframed poster is 64" wide by 26" high.
The poster is described in Stella Wyatt Brummitt's book Looking Backward Thinking Forward: The Jubilee History of The Woman's Home Missionary Society of The Methodist Episcopal Church (1930):
"The nature of the celebration made the slogan "Looking Backward: Thinking Forward" most beautiful and appropriate. Around this rallying cry grew the Project Picture, which is merely the visualizing of the five-years' program. Two subjects or projects were given the loyal constituency each year, one an existing form of work which was to receive study, the other the Jubilee Project for special gifts and emphasis during the year. Since the Jubilee celebration was to be stressed for five years, it became possible to let each year's program represent not only a Jubilee program, but a decade of history making. Since the desire not in any way to interfere with the regular working of the Society was uppermost, the financial asking was made small. Each adult member who admitted to being twenty-five years old was asked to celebrate her own birthday each year by giving a gift of fifty cents to the Mother Society which had enriched her life; the younger member from the tiny tots of Mothers' Jewels to the girls of the Queen Esther Circle was asked to give glad gifts to Mother Society of a penny for each year they had lived. The giving received cumulative value from the use of gold certificates, which were given to the individual, or organization, which gave during the five years, $100, $500, or $1,000 in special gifts.
Therefore the Project Picture was dreamed into being with eleven arches, the central one representing the Woman's Home Missionary Society. On the right of this arch is the subject for study or the Looking Backward project; on the left the special Jubilee undertaking , or the Thinking Forward project. In the central arch is the symbolic figure of The Woman's Home Missionary Society. Standing in an attitude of retrospect and anticipation, Mother Society looks backward through the vista of the years with appreciation of deeds done; at the same time she is very conscious of another time as she is thinking forward, not only to the Jubilee, but to the next fifty years on the threshold of which we now stand." [p.261-262]


In searching the magazine Woman’s Home Missions from 1926-1930 we have discovered that many copies of the Project Picture were distributed to local church WHMS (Woman's Home Missionary Society, Methodist Episcopal Church) auxiliaries. It was known as “the picture that stayed alive for five years” and the artist was renowned graphic artist Ervine Metzl. The original poster was mailed out in 1926. There was a new project each year of the Jubilee celebration (1926-1930). Each year a new panel representing the year’s new project was unveiled and distributed to auxiliaries for placement on the original poster.

“There will be five Projects, one for each year until 1930. Before the month is over, your auxiliary will receive a wall poster of artistic design and beautiful coloring. With it will come printed instructions for mounting and displaying. It is called “Looking Backward, Thinking Forward.” The small poster for the first “look backward” which is Youth, and the first “thought forward” which is Finance, will be in their proper places when the wall poster reaches you. The poster becomes the special care of the birthday secretary, who will place the other project posters in their proper places as the years pass. This material is issued at great cost by the Society, and is sent as a gift to all auxiliaries.” [Woman's Home Missions, June 1926, p.12]



 "1. The poster should be mounted on wall-board—and a plain flat frame be tacked along the white margin. This will give flatness and firmness to the picture, which can be hung in some room in your church is used by all organizations of The Woman’s Home Missionary Society, since but one poster will be sent to each church.
  "2. Small panels will be issued each year to be placed in the arches which now contain the Scripture texts. You will notice that midway between the black base on which the quotations are printed, and the gray background of the figure, there is a decorative scroll border.  This will help you to place new panel in its proper place
 "3.   Use liquid paste for all pasting
 "4.  The paper is so heavy that you need not place glass over it. In fact, we urge you not to do so, since the other panels can be placed in position without even removing the poster from the wall, if the glass is omitted
 "5.   Your birthday secretary becomes custodian of the poster. May the beauty of the coloring, the symbolism of the figures, the history suggested in the panels, cause us all to give, to work, to love, to serve, as never before.”  [Woman's Home Missions, October 1926, p.10]

 "You are now ready for the placing of the second set of panels in the poster. Notice the lines, the beading in the arches, and place the panels carefully. The immigrant figure goes to the left of the central figure; the text, which is covered by so doing, appears in the bottom of the insert. Sacrifice goes in on the right of the central figure. You now begin to see the decades of our fifty years unroll and tell their story.”  [Woman's Home Missions, November 1926, p.13]


“The Project Picture! The new panels for the new project are in the hands of your Conference Corresponding Secretary. If you have not had yours write her. Place the panels carefully; the lines, the colors all match perfectly. The new Looking Backward picture is a colorful picture of The Southern Highlander. The Looking Forward picture is a symbolic figure of Membership, who holds in her hands the lovely white satin Honor Roll, which can be the property of your conference if you win and hold the highest conference gain in membership until 1930. By the way, the Project Picture is being framed as never before. I rarely see one pasted or tacked up any more and the women are loving them and appreciating them as the days pass.” [Woman's Home Missions, January 1928, p.14]

“Many new auxiliaries are wanting project pictures. Ask your conference corresponding secretary to write for these. Mrs. G.W. Keen, at 420 Plum Street, Cincinnati, will then know the order is authoritative and will fill the request immediately.” [Woman's Home Missions, February 1928, p.14]


“We are sure you are enjoying the Project picture as it unfolds its meaning and purpose in such a wonderful way, “Looking Backward, Thinking Forward.” We hope every Project Picture in your conference is framed, hanging on the wall, and has its panels filled up to date. Please give attention to this important matter, and if you have not received yours, write to headquarters.” [Woman's Home Missions, April 1928, p.14]

“The artist of our Project Picture and most of our pictorial material, Mr. Ervine Metzl, was married to the lovely little lady who posed for “Youth,” our first Looking Backward panel, Miss Isabel Carpenter.”
[Woman's Home Missions, August 1928, p.15]

“The Project Picture. The new panels will not be distributed at the National Meeting this year, but will be sent to the conference corresponding secretary by the last of September. She can send them to every auxiliary birthday secretary before starting to Wichita—then everybody will be ready for the instructions at the district meetings. In my travels this summer I found women asking what was meant by the project picture. That is because some auxiliary corresponding secretary (surely no conference or district corresponding secretary is remiss) did not bring this free literature to the monthly meeting and give it into the keeping of the birthday secretary. Please, dear member, frame and use your project picture.” [Woman's Home Missions, October 1928, p.13]


“The stage clears and slowly, deliberately, the whole project picture comes into being. The central figure, our symbolic figure of The Woman’s Home Missionary Society, with a lovely Wichita girl in beautiful pose. Youth and Building are revealed, followed quickly by Immigration and Sacrifice. The audience is quiet. It seems to be viewing anew the old familiar picture. Now come the Mountaineer and Subscriptions and last the very newest projects. How the women cheer as again the Deaconess appears in the fourth arch, followed quickly by the symbolic figure of Subscription! Two arches are left unlit. Only one more year of work for the Jubilee.” [Woman's Home Missions, November 1928, p.14]