Robert Indiana kept a series of illustrated journals during the late 1950s and 1960s, in which he discusses the development of his work.
Indiana's journal page for March 2–3, 1960, includes a sketch of the painting Agadir, with notes that the work is oil on canvas and measures 72 x 60 inches. To the left of the sketch is a newspaper clipping about the earthquake in Agadir, Morocco (the deadliest and most destructive earthquake in the country's history). To the right of the sketch is a note added by Indiana at a later date, recording that the work was later overpainted to become The American Dream (later retitled The American Dream, I), and had entered the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Indiana documents that the work was charged from the impetus of the second of March, but executed in the early hours of the third, just a few hours before a big snowstorm hit the city, at 6:25 am. He explains "possibly a commemoration of last year’s event of [this] day: [the] madness of [the] two of us sharing a loft: a South Street fiasco for sure, if it had gone through; more probably it will be called for the terrible earthquake in Morrocco [sic] where possibly 5000* people met their death in [the] middle of [the] night: Agadir. [This] fr[om] a [sketch] [that] I made earlier ‘n [the] even’g and incorrectly dated 3•III•60."