Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Steven B. Shively


This thesis is a study of the visual rhetoric of Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, and Norman Rockwell. The claim is Hine, Lange, and Rockwell’s artwork is propaganda because it is posed, contrived, and emotionally manipulative. The three artists used their propaganda art to bring awareness to the plight of exploited children, impoverished migrant workers, and racial segregation. The thesis concludes that Hine, Lange, and Rockwell were advocates for social reform, and their art instigated change for various enclaves of the American populace. The initial chapter reviews the theoretical components of propaganda, visual rhetoric, and advocacy, and explains how these overlap to create a framework to examine the photographs of Hine and Lange, and the paintings of Rockwell. Subsequent chapters delve into the individual lives, motives, and art of the artists, placing each artist in an historical context. Selected pieces of art that are exemplary of both propaganda and advocacy are chosen for close reading.