In this question from the April 2012 issue, Dr. Know explains that some design elements of this particular piece of art were merely signs of their times.
I’ve been told that Hitler mustaches were painted on the men in the mural at the old Coca-Cola bottling plant—the place that’s now the Xavier University Alumni house. Fact or fiction?—Startled Alumnus
Carus Alumnus:The Doctor wasted considerable time driving up to the city’s distinguished Jesuit institution to discuss this disagreeable student prank with the Xavier University administrators. He was surprised and disgusted to hear from you that men and women old enough to be seeking post-secondary degrees had enough time on their hands to break into the alumni house to deface the Late Depression Era, John F. Holmer murals by scribbling Hitler mustaches on the faces of the heroic workers commissioned by the heroic Coca-Cola bottlers. Storming and raging, he parked his pre-war, mint condition Horcher in one of those convenient slots with the little drawing of a wheelchair and burst into the alumni office. There it became clear that the Hitler, or more correctly, Hitlerian mustaches, were not the work of present day pranksters. They were the work of the artist himself.
But perhaps you knew that. You will admit, won’t you, that your wording was less than clear? It was.
J. Cromer and William O. Mashburn Jr., the heroic Coca-Cola bottlers who commissioned the murals, are said to have ordered the removal of the mustaches, something Mr. Holmer was unwilling to do, so they were imperfectly painted over. It is said that in certain light the offending hair is still visible.
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