When the United States entered World War I in 1917, a means of communication was needed to encourage the public to support the war. The federal government’s Division of Pictorial Publicity enlisted some of the era’s finest artists, including Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Haskell Coffin, and Joseph Christian Leyendecker, to design bold graphic posters to help spread the word. The goal of propaganda posters during World War I was to convince the public that the United States needed to enter a foreign war. The Library of Virginia’s Prints and Photographs Collection includes among its holdings a collection of 44 original World War I posters. Similar to the Library’s World War II Poster Collection, these items use the graphic arts to portray a message. Topics illustrated in the collection include enlistment in the armed forces, Liberty Loans and Liberty Bonds, and industrial mobilization.
The World War I posters are largely lithographic prints, ranging in size from 13.78″ x 20.9″ to 57″ x 43.3″. The Library’s holdings are comparable in number to other historic institutions in the Richmond area.
The posters have been cataloged and digitized and can be viewed through the Library’s catalog.