war

World War I Poster Collection

C1:183
1914–1919
44 posters

Do your duty join the U.S. Marines : help them defend America on land and sea.

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.

Read the rest

World War II Poster Collection

C1:184
1939–1945
403 unique posters, 568 total

Bits of careless talk are pieced together by the enemy. Stevan Dohanos. 1943

During World War II, the United States government, through the Office of War Information and the U.S. Treasury, mobilized the best advertising men available to create posters that would speak to the nation. The images portrayed played on deep levels of fear, pride, duty, and patriotism in illustrating subjects such as recruitment and enlistment; fund-raising through liberty loans; communications; and the medical, social, economic, and industrial aspects of the war. Some posters also addressed the civilian war effort. Citizens were told through posters that they needed to work hard and sacrifice at home in order to beat the enemy. To that end, the ad men succeeded. People felt as though their efforts at home were truly helping “the boys” overseas. The Library of Virginia’s World War II Poster Collection consists of 403 unique posters, with 568 total posters in the collection.

As with the World War I Poster Collection, this collection uses the graphic arts to portray a message. In contrast to the WWI posters, which are reminiscent of fine art drawings (most notably by Howard Chandler Christy and James Montgomery Flagg), the design of the WWII posters follows the commercial illustration style of the time, popularized by artists such as John Atherton, Adolph Treidler, and J. Walter Wilkinson and his son, Walter G. Wilkinson. … Read the rest