WWI

World War I German Postcards

C1:186
547 unique postcards

Wattweiler Strassenansicht [Wattweiler street view], Nr. 2563

The Library of Virginia’s Visual Studies Collection has a collection of German postcards depicting non-combat scenes from World War I’s Western Front. Printed by Schaar & Dathe of Trier, the postcards show the effects of war through images of ruins, life in the camps, and the cleanup efforts of soldiers and civilians.

Guiscard, Nr. 2552

One of the biggest German postcard printers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Schaar & Dathe used letterpress, lithograph, and collotype processes. During WWI, the company had 15 presses and employed 150 workers. The majority of the cards have a four-digit number on the back, a unique identification system set up by Schaar & Dathe. Creating postcards during the war was an easy, affordable way to spread the news visually about the areas most affected by combat.

The collection can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room.  A selection is available on Historypin

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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.

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