James Montgomery Flagg's Call To Arms

After two and a half years of neutrality, the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. James Montgomery Flagg, who created some of the war’s most indelible images, sounded the alarm for all citizens in this poster which was featured in “Wake Up, America” Day in New York City just thirteen days later on April 19th. Actress Mary Arthur was Flagg’s model for Columbia who is a personification of America and Liberty. She is shown asleep, wearing patriotic stars and stripes and a Phrygian cap—a symbol of freedom since Roman times. While she dozes against a fluted column, another visual reference to Western classical antiquity and civilization, sinister storm clouds gather in the background.

James Montgomery Flagg (1877–1960). Wake Up, America! 1917. New York: The Hegman Print, 1917. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.00.00)

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Frances Adams Halsted (designer) and Vincente Aderente (painter) Create Columbia Calls

Convinced that war with Germany was inevitable, Frances Adams Halsted wrote her poem, Columbia Calls, in 1916. After America entered the war on April 6, 1917, Halsted donated both her poem and accompanying image design to the U.S. War Department. Three months later, the New York Times announced plans to print 500,000 copies as a poster, intending to use the proceeds to establish a home for orphaned children of American soldiers and sailors. Painter Vincent Aderente, who executed Halsted’s design, had emigrated from Italy at age six, studied at the Art Students League in New York City, and served as an assistant to muralist Edwin Howland Blashfield.

Vincent Aderente (1880–1941), after Frances Adams Halsted (1873–19__?). Columbia Calls, ca. 1916–17. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (001.01.00)

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William Allen Rogers Comments on American Neutrality

Responding to President Wilson’s proclamation of strict neutrality on August 4, 1914, editorial cartoonist William Allen Rogers portrayed Uncle Sam trapped and unable to move by the chevaux de frise of bayonets. While Wilson believed his leadership called for neutrality during the Great War, his policies paralyzed government officials who needed to control shipping, troop movements, and the rescue of Americans from Europe. On July 28, 1914, days before this cartoon was published, the Austro-Hungarian government declared war on Serbia and the European continent quickly became embroiled in war.

William Allen Rogers (1854–1931). Watch Your Step, 1914. Published in the New York Herald, August 9, 1914. India ink over graphite underdrawing. Cabinet of American Illustration, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.00.00)
LC-DIG-ds-00872

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Charles Dana Gibson Advocates for Intervention

By posing his title as a question, Charles Dana Gibson expresses his frustration with Uncle Sam’s lack of action as he watches a German soldier harass a mother and child in mourning. While President Woodrow Wilson pondered the nation’s entry into the war, Gibson published this cartoon advocating U.S. intervention as a double page spread in Life magazine three months before the U.S. Congress formally declared war against Germany. Gibson drew attention to German mistreatment of civilians in powerful political cartoons created before and during the time he led the Division of Pictorial Publicity, a government body that recruited top illustrators to contribute to the nation’s war effort.

Charles Dana Gibson (1866–1944). Is It Really Getting on His Nerves? 1917. Published in Life, January 11, 1917. Ink over graphite underdrawing. Gift of Charles D. Gibson, 1990. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (002.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-33521

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James Montgomery Flagg's Iconic Uncle Sam

Drawing on the quintessential American symbol of Uncle Sam that first became popular in the mid-nineteenth century, James Montgomery Flagg introduced his iconic version of the elderly gentleman on the July 6, 1916, cover of Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper. Flagg used the image again on a 1917 I Want You for U.S. Army recruitment poster. It became one of the most famous posters ever printed, and Flagg’s popular image was again employed for recruiting purposes during World War II. The Library preserves original, full-size posters from both world wars. This alternative version, aimed at potential U.S. Navy recruits, was designed for display on street cars, buses, and subway cars.

James Montgomery Flagg (1877–1960). First Call—I Need You in the Navy this Minute! Our Country Will Always Be Proudest of Those Who Answered the First Call, 1917. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (003.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40035

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Charles Buckles Falls Promotes Literacy

U.S. military officials, concerned by low literacy rates, even among native-born American soldiers, promoted reading and writing. The American Library Association maintained libraries for servicemen both at home and overseas through its Library War Service—directed by Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam. Artist Charles Buckles Falls, who signed this poster with only an “F,” designed a number of World War I recruitment posters, as well as those encouraging Americans to donate books and soldiers to use camp libraries. Between 1917 and 1920, some seven to ten million books and magazines were distributed.

Charles Buckles Falls (1874–1960). The Camp Library Is Yours—Read to Win the War, 1917. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40831

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John E. Sheridan Promotes Literacy

The United War Work Campaign set out to raise $170 million in the final week of the war from November 11–18, 1918. Of the seven participating service organizations that collected money for war work at home and abroad, the American Library Association focused its fundraising on supplying books and magazines to the soldiers. This spirited poster was created by John E. Sheridan who attended Georgetown College and designed a number of posters promoting athletic events at his own, as well as other colleges and universities before the war.

John E. Sheridan (1880–1948). Hey Fellows! Your Money Brings the Book We Need When We Want It, 1918. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (004.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40830

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Joseph Pennell's Machinery of War

Joseph Pennell’s wartime drawings and prints continued his lifelong fascination with industrial subjects—a theme he called the “Wonder of Work.” Pennell was granted special access to such sensitive sites as shipyards and munitions factories and the backs of his drawings often bear censor clearance stamps. As a Quaker who was opposed to war, Pennell’s ambivalence comes through in his comment: “. . . it is the working of the great machinery in the great mills which I find so inspiring—so impressive. . . . And if only the engines turned out were engines of peace—how much better would the world be.”

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Eugenie De Land's Design for Liberty Bond Poster

One of the few female artists designing posters during the war, Eugenie De Land drew this original watercolor design for her second Liberty Loan poster. Its message suggests that the viewer’s actions determine whether the sun rises or sets as the evening sky transforms into an American flag over the Statue of Liberty. De Land studied under illustrator Howard Pyle at Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry before beginning her thirty-five-year career as an art teacher. She taught in Washington, D.C., at the Corcoran School of Art and McKinley High School before retiring in 1942.

Eugenie De Land (1872–1961). Sunrise or Sunset. Own a Liberty Bond, 1917. Watercolor. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.00.00)

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John Norton's Liberty Bond Poster

While Liberty Bond posters often stressed such positive incentives as fulfilling one’s patriotic duty, keeping the world safe for democracy, and backing “our boys”—others sought to motivate through fear and loathing of the enemy. Here, John Norton deployed a simple, effective composition. Seen at ground level, blood-drenched boots bearing the German Reichsadler (Imperial Eagle) fuse with the title message to suggest the threat of invasion. While the war never reached American soil, this and other Fourth Liberty Loan campaign posters were instrumental in raising some seven billion dollars.

John Norton (1876–1934) Keep These Off the U.S.A.—Buy More Liberty Bonds, 1918. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (006.01.00)

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Edward Penfield's Doughboys in Action

Setting the active, outlined soldiers against a colorfully streaked sky, Penfield glorifies the bravery and skill of the “doughboys” or infantrymen of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. By August 1918, when this cover design for Collier’s magazine appeared, U.S. forces had already helped halt the German advance on Paris and other Allied actions had checked the German offensives by late June. Penfield, here employing his signature style inspired by Japanese prints and French poster design, influenced illustrators of his time and later through his poster and cover art.

Edward Penfield (1866–1925). The Doughboys Make Good, 1918. Published as cover of Collier’s magazine, August 10, 1918. Watercolor. Gift of Mrs. Edward Penfield, 1932. Cabinet of American Illustration, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.00.00)
LC-DIG-cai-2a14156

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Rollin Kirby's Uncle Sam Goes To Battle

As American forces continued to arrive in Europe, the German Army began its spring 1918 offensive, Kaiserschlacht, on four fronts. By depicting Uncle Sam, a symbol of the American people, running toward the Second Battle of Picardy, editorial cartoonist Rollin Kirby encouraged Americans to join the European conflict. The Uncle Sam character had been introduced in the 1830s and was later popularized by cartoonist Thomas Nast. Illustrator James Montgomery Flagg made his grizzled, penetrating visage famous during World War I in his I Want You poster.

Rollin Kirby. “That’s My Fight, too,” 1918. Published in the New York Herald, ca. April 17, 1918. Crayon, opaque white, and India ink over graphite underdrawing. Gift of Rollin Kirby. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.01.00)
LC-DIG-acd-2a09928

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Wladyslaw I. Benda's Poetic Illustration

In this romanticized image of young men fighting their way through barbed wire, Benda illustrates the poem by Mary Carolyn Davies, “God, Be Good to Her!” Davies imagines a gallant young man thrilled by the adventure, the peasants’ cheers, and experiencing the joy “of perilous, wondrous questing” while praying for his worried mother at home. American artist Wladyslaw Benda was born in Poznań, Poland, and studied in Krakow and Vienna before immigrating to the United States. Participating in the Division of Pictorial Publicity, Benda’s art encouraged young men to enlist.

Wladyslaw T. Benda (1873–1948). Soldier and companions advancing through barbed wire, 1918. Published in Cosmopolitan, August 1918. Charcoal drawing. Cabinet of American Illustration, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.00.00)
LC-DIG-cai-2a11702

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George Bellows Imagines German Atrocities

In 1918, George Bellows responded to reported German atrocities in Belgium with a series of hard-hitting drawings, lithographs, and paintings. The title, translated as May God Punish England was a German army slogan attributed to poet Ernst Lissauer (1882–1937). Bellows imagined a horrific scene in which German soldiers—some of whom are shown smiling or laughing—crucify three men. Bellows’ treatment of the subject recalls Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) religious traditions that depict the suffering Christ—suggesting broader human anguish at the hands of a violent throng.

George Bellows (1882–1925). Gott Strafe England, 1918. Lithograph. Pennell Fund Purchase, 1942. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (008.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40032

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Kerr Eby's Shadow of War

Born in Tokyo to Canadian missionary parents, Kerr Eby studied at Pratt Institute and the Art Students League in New York City before volunteering for the U.S. Army in 1917. He served with the 40th Engineers, Artillery Brigade, Camouflage Division in France where he saw battle action at Belleau Wood, Meuse-Argonne, Château-Thierry, and Saint-Mihiel. His warfront drawings became the basis for his prints—a number of which appeared in his 1936 book War with the opening words: “I write in all humility of spirit, in the desperate hope that somehow it may be of use in the forlorn and seemingly hopeless fight against war.”

Kerr Eby (1889–1946). Shadows, 1936. Etching. Pennell Fund purchase, 1939. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-39792

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Kerr Eby's Soldiers Transporting Artillery

During the war and his service with the 40th Engineers Artillery Brigade, Kerr Eby made a series of drawings that he called upon for use in later prints. The title here refers to the seventy-five millimeter field artillery guns, also known as the French 75, which are shown being transported by the soldiers in this image.

Kerr Eby (1889–1946). Dawn, the 75’s Follow Up, 1919. Drypoint. Purchase. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (009.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40034

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Samuel Woolf's Eyewitness Drawing

Samuel J. Woolf worked as a visual war correspondent at the front in Beaumont-Hamel, France, where he made compelling eye-witness drawings. In addition to working as an artist, he worked as a cook, drove an ambulance, and endured some of the same privations as soldiers and personally suffered the horror of a gas attack. This poignant drawing suggests how firsthand experience informed his art. Woolf studied with Kenyon Cox and George de Forest Brush at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design and had a long career with Time magazine.

Samuel Woolf (1880–1948). Soldier carrying wounded, April 21, 1918. Charcoal drawing. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40030

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McKee Barclay's Personification of Poisonous Gas

Reacting to the illegal use of poisonous gas as a weapon, Baltimore cartoonist Barclay McKee drew this ghastly image of Mars, the god of war, as a skeleton wearing a pith helmet and breathing deadly vapor from a trench. Barclay worked as an editorial cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun from 1908 to 1920.

McKee Barclay (1869–1947). Poisonous gases, between 1914 and 1918. Published in the Baltimore Sun. Crayon and graphite drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40039

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Helen Johns Kirtland Dons Gas Mask at the Front

Most couples would not head into a war zone for their honeymoon, but that is exactly where Helen Johns Kirtland and Lucian Swift Kirtland went in 1917. Already an established photographer, Mrs. Kirtland worked for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly and the YMCA during World War I. While she covered the same topics as her male colleagues, she paid particular attention to the contributions of female war workers. An unknown photographer captured her standing in a trench at the front on a winter day.

Helen Johns Kirtland in trench with gas mask, 1917 or 1918. Gelatin silver photograph. Gift and purchase. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.02.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40040

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Keystone View Company's Commentary on Gas Attacks

This haunting photograph conveys the deadly means by which men methodically killed each other along the front during World War I. Despite the Hague Convention limitations on the use of poisonous gas in 1899 and 1907, both the Germans and the Allies used it. Looking back in 1923, the Keystone View Company comments on the back of this image, “. . . the Allies eventually excelled the Germans in the amounts and deadly quality of the gases used.” Ultimately, the greatest number of soldiers who suffered from gas were Russians on the Eastern Front.

Keystone View Company. Preparing Field Telephone Lines during a Gas Attack at the Front, ca. 1923. Gelatin silver photograph. Purchase, 2009. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (010.03.00)
LC-DIG-stereo-1s04241

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Herbert Paus Goes Behind the Scenes

With his heralded attention to detail, illustrator Herbert Paus captures his officers as if frozen in a moment behind the lines of battle. Shown variously resting, armed, peering at the viewer, talking on a telephone, and sitting before a telegraph machine—his soldiers project both ease and military readiness. Paus trained as an artist in St. Paul, Minnesota, and while still a teenager moved to New York City in 1899 to further his artistic training. Already renowned by the time the U.S. entered World War I, Paus joined Charles Dana Gibson’s Division of Pictorial Publicity.

Herbert Andrew Paus (1880–1946). World War I Soldiers, 1918. Charcoal and graphite drawing. Purchase, 2014. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (011.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40042

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Samuel Woolf's Eyewitness Drawing

Samuel J. Woolf worked as a visual war correspondent at the front in Beaumont-Hamel, France. He made compelling eyewitness drawings in the contested villages of the province of Lorraine, a region sought for decades by both the Germans and the French. The Germans attacked the inexperienced American Expeditionary Forces during the Battle of Seicheprey, flattening surrounding villages—including Rambucourt—and inflicting large numbers of casualties. Woolf had studied at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design, before heading to the front.

Samuel Woolf. Rambucourt, April 22, 1918. Watercolor, graphite, and crayon drawing. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (011.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40031

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John A. Marshall Photographs War at Night

While serving as a sergeant in the Army’s First Division, John A. Marshall captured the explosion of a phosphorous bomb illuminating the night sky and revealing a helmeted soldier in silhouette. Marshall photographed the First Corps School exercises in Gondrecourt, France, and later documented the American Expeditionary Forces. Having realized that his troops were woefully unprepared to fight at the front, General Pershing mandated training. Allied troops trained the First Division at Gondrecourt, France, before sending soldiers to the trenches.

Sgt. John A. Marshall. Night Attack with Phosphorous Bombs in Maneuvers, Gondrecourt, August 15, 1918. Gelatin silver photograph. Army Signal Corps Photographs, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (012.00.00)
LC-USZ62-25123

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Ralph Osborne's Air war Photograph

Award-winning Boston photographer Ralph Osborne manipulated this image of a battle between German and American planes in the air, but with its illuminated clouds, this photograph stands as a work of art. Renowned for his “superposition” in the printing of his images, Osborne participated in group shows of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union Camera Club and the Guild of Photographers of the Society of Arts and Crafts of Boston.

Ralph Osborne. Fight in the Air, 1919. Gelatin silver photograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (012.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40045

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George Bellows Imagines Edith Cavell's Final Moments

During the spring and fall of 1918, Bellows responded to reported German atrocities in Belgium with a series of hard-hitting drawings, lithographs, and paintings. The protagonist of this dream-like image is British Red Cross nurse Edith Cavell who tended to both German and Allied wounded. For her role in helping some 200 Allied prisoners escape via neutral Holland, German authorities accused her of treason and shot her in 1915. Bellows portrays her as an angelic, martyr-like figure who appears to glow as she descends a staircase. At its base, her executioners wait in the shadows.

George Bellows (1882–1925). Murder of Edith Cavell, 1918. Lithograph. Pennell Fund purchase, 1939. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (013.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40019

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Edwin Blashfield's Certificate for a Red Cross Nurse

Though Blashfield’s design shows Columbia “knighting” a kneeling doughboy, this certificate honors the service of Red Cross nurse Anna Cecilia Foldesi. Shortly after arriving at Iowa’s Camp Dodge, Foldesi (name misspelled as Foldese on the certificate) died of influenza and pneumonia on November 8th, days before the war ended. Millions more died from the wartime influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 than from enemy weapons. This family portrait shows, from top to bottom, Anna Cecilia with three of her sisters—Marie, Matilda, and Rose. Both Marie and Matilda were also nurses.

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Women's Branch of the Army's Industrial Service Section

During World War I, millions of women contributed to the war effort, not only through volunteer service but by entering the labor force as nurses, agricultural laborers and factory workers. Here, a woman works in the converted Baldwin Locomotive property in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia. After April 1918, 3,000 women participated in a work force of 15,000 to manufacture Enfield rifles for British and American troops. In the second photograph, a woman manufactures weapons for the Midvale Steel & Ordnance Company in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The factory had a longstanding contract with the U.S. Navy, and by the end of the war, its workforce had increased to 7,300. Without sufficient men to maintain the war effort, women were needed and the U.S. government encouraged them to work.

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Oscar Cesare Supports Women's Suffrage

The women’s suffrage movement was already firmly part of the nation’s consciousness by 1917 when editorial cartoonist Oscar Cesare created this image of a nurse offering comfort to a fallen soldier. Between the Army, Navy, and the American Red Cross, more than 40,000 women served as nurses during World War I. Some of these nurses arrived ahead of American troops to establish expeditionary hospitals near the front. Having trained in Paris as an artist, Swedish-born cartoonist Oscar Cesare immigrated to the United States in 1903. He worked for the New York Evening Post during the war.

Oscar Cesare (1885–1948). Would the Soldier Give Her the Ballot? 1917. Published in the New York Post, [date?]. Pencil, ink, and opaque white drawing. Gift of Valentine Cesare, 1995. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (015.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40021

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William Allen Rogers Pays Tribute to Wartime Nurses

A moving vision of wounded soldiers needing care sustains a Red Cross nurse on her storm-tossed voyage to the war front. William Allen Rogers extols the courage and selfless patriotism of nurses in this and other drawings that also specifically reference the dangers they faced in German attacks on hospital ships. He may have created this image for a poster as notes on the back of the drawing state it was “sent to [the] American Red Cross Second War Fund.” Known primarily for his scenes of the American West, Rogers focused on cartooning after 1900 and created poster designs during World War I.

William Allen Rogers (1854–1931). Red Cross Nurse Seeing Vision of Wounded Soldiers across Stormy Sea, between 1914 and 1918. India ink with scraping out and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Gift of Mrs. W. W. Buckley, 1932. Cabinet of American Illustration, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (015.01.00)
LC-DIG-cai- 2a14623

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Wladyslaw Benda Encourages Home Front Knitting

Wladyslaw Theodore Benda, a leading magazine illustrator, depicted this serene knitter who joins the ranks of the many beautiful women who populated his illustrative work. During World War I, many Americans on the home front did their part for the war effort by knitting. The American Red Cross coordinated much of this work, providing patterns and requesting sweaters, scarves, wristlets (fingerless gloves), and socks. Warm socks were especially important to the soldiers in the trenches. Benda, a naturalized American, was born in Poland in 1873.

Wladyslaw Theodore Benda (1873–1948). You Can Help—American Red Cross, 1918. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (016.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40832

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Bud Fisher Satirizes Knitting Projects and Comments on Freedom

On a wager that he could not “stick it out,” Bud Fisher trained as an American soldier during World War I. However, the Army prohibited him from producing his profitable comic strip, so he joined the Canadian forces. He served in London, working as a censor while continuing to draw his popular feature, Mutt and Jeff. Wanting to promote the war effort, Fisher had his characters enlist, although the comic strip rarely featured the war front. In the first cartoon shown, he focuses his wartime humor on a hapless knitter. In the second, during a humorous conversation about liberty bonds, Jeff tells Mutt that his divorce decree gave him freedom.

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Roy Hull Still Enlists the Help of Stenographers

In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol building, a soldier shares the stage with a stenographer, both essential cogs in the war effort. The United States needed more than soldiers to fight the war, issuing repeated calls for secretaries and stenographers. Another example in the Library’s World War I poster collection claims a shortage of 5,000 stenographers and offers a yearly salary of $1,100. Nearly sixty years after the war ended, the female stenographers who worked with the American Expeditionary Forces in France were granted veteran status by a 1977 act of Congress.

Roy Hull Still (1888–1976). Stenographers! Washington Needs You! ca. 1918. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (016.01.00)

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Charles Dana Gibson's Femme Fatale

The portly gentleman is a caricatured portrayal of Kaiser William II, Emperor of Germany, in this imaginary tryst with a female friend labeled “War.” He recoils at discovering his “lady fair” is the embodiment of Death, as she beckons him to approach in all her grotesque, bejeweled splendor. Not only did Gibson lead the Division of Pictorial Publicity from 1917–1918, for which he recruited the country’s top illustrators to aid in building support for America’s war effort, he also drew anti-German political cartoons for Life magazine. Gibson’s title closely echoes a line from Rudyard Kipling’s 1897 poem called “The Vampire.”

Charles Dana Gibson (1866–1944). “And the Fool, He Called Her His Lady Fair,” 1917. Published in Life, May 3, 1917. Ink over graphite underdrawing. Gift of Charles D. Gibson and Kay Gibson, 2013. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (018.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40022

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Otakar Valasek Depicts Austro-Hungarian Suffering

Otakar Valasek, a Chicago-based Czech cartoonist, used his experience living under Austro-Hungarian rule to illuminate the plight of those suffering during the war. Here he shows people of various ethnicities who lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire shackled to the oppressive Magyar masters who are themselves under the ultimate control of the giant, looming figure of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. In April 1918, Valasek left the Chicago Herald to join the staff of the Committee on Public Information for the duration of the War.

Otakar Valasek (1884–1954). The Master, 1918. Published in the Chicago Herald between August 1917 and April 1918. India ink, crayon, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Transfer, Council of Defense, 1921. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (018.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40023

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C. F. Chambers Portrays Veteran Empowerment

With the war’s end, the American Red Cross continued to support returning veterans through programs that included psychiatric care and rehabilitation for disabled veterans. Despite a series of legislative acts that stipulated vocational training for honorably discharged veterans, bureaucratic difficulties hampered the provision of services. This optimistic poster accentuates empowerment, with a strong support system behind an amputee veteran standing poised to enter a bright future. The image’s aesthetic language is also forward-looking with suggestions of modernist trends in art—Art Deco, Cubist, and Provincetown white-line woodcut styles.

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Gordon Grant's Jobs for Fighters Poster

The Bureau for Returning Soldiers and Sailors endeavored to match employers with those in need of work after the war, be they former soldiers or war workers. Gordon Grant was a captain in the U.S. Army when he designed this poster. Because of a foot disability, he did not go overseas during the war but served in the Morale Branch of the General Staff in Washington, D.C. Before World War I, Grant worked as a correspondent and illustrator for Harper’s Weekly where he travelled to South Africa to document the Boer War. After World War I, he worked mainly as a marine artist, depicting ships and seafaring scenes.

Gordon Grant (1875–1962). Jobs for Fighters, 1919. Color lithographic poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (019.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-39797

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Maurice Becker, Conscientious Objector

Documenting the treatment he felt firsthand as a conscientious objector imprisoned in Leavenworth, Kansas, during World War I, Becker worked through his trauma in a series of charcoal drawings after his release. Although more than 64,000 men initially registered as conscientious objectors, only 450 of the most recalcitrant—both for religious and political reasons—were incarcerated in the Fort Leavenworth U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. Some were not released until 1919 and 1920. Born in Russia, Becker immigrated to the United States as a child. He dedicated his career to fighting injustice.

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Childe Hassam Celebrates Allies

During World War I, New York’s Fifth Avenue was temporarily rechristened the Avenue of the Allies. Hassam’s lithograph, based on his painting, shows the thoroughfare festooned with flags for the Fourth Liberty Loan Drive. The artist created at least thirty flag paintings, which were often exhibited twenty-two at a time to represent the number of Allied countries. Created about one month before the war’s end on November 11, 1918, this lithograph became the frontispiece for A. E. Gallatin’s 1919 book, Art and the Great War, which observed: “Credit is due to the Library of Congress for their foresight in assembling a large representative collection of posters and cartoons on the war.”

Childe Hassam (1859–1935). Avenue of the Allies, 1918. Lithograph. Gift, Mrs. Childe Hassam, 1940. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (021.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40037

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Kerr Eby's Refugees

While serving on the war front in France for the U.S. Army, Kerr Eby made drawings which became the basis for later prints. Here, displaced refugees trudge past a line of soldiers. Refugees appeared in Eby’s 1936 book War in which he wrote: “I am not a pacifist if it means not to see the necessity of an army and navy in this world as it is and not to thank God for them. . . . There was great beauty in the last war as there is always beauty in human giving, but the beauty was in the giver not in the thing itself.”

Kerr Eby (1889–1946). Refugees, ca. 1935. Etching and aquatint. Pennell Fund Purchase, 1948. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (021.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-40033

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Lewis Hine Photographs African American Veteran

Well-versed in depicting individuals and their challenging circumstances from his work documenting child workers for the National Child Labor Committee, Lewis Hine joined the American Red Cross in 1918 and then did freelance photography for the organization through the 1930s. The caption on the back of this photograph identifies its subject as an African American patient who chose wood carving as an occupational therapy activity at the United States Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts. African Americans volunteered en force during World War I, with more than 350,000 serving in segregated units.

Lewis W. Hine (1874–1940) for the American Red Cross. Wood Carving, ca. June 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (022.00.00)

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Lewis Hine Photographs Veteran Rehabilitation

Lewis Hine, while working for the American Red Cross, created this beautifully-composed photograph that shows a patient making a knotted-cord belt at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts. After the war, the American Red Cross continued to provide support services that included psychiatric care and rehabilitation for disabled veterans.

Lewis W. Hine (1874–1940) for the American Red Cross. Making a Belt, ca. June 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (022.01.00)

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American Red Cross Documents the War's Aftermath

YWCA volunteers established “hostess houses” to provide a haven for women and families both on American bases and abroad. This hostess house—at what later became known as the Somme American Cemetery in Bony, France—offered shelter to families visiting the graves of troops of the 27th and 30th Divisions who had been slaughtered when attacking the Hindenburg Line. Although many families insisted on repatriation of their dead, of the nearly 84,000 American soldiers who died overseas during World War I, more than 30,000 of the deceased were buried near where they had fallen.

American Red Cross. Visitors Are Welcome, ca. May 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (023.00.00)

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American Red Cross Witnesses Recorvery Efforts

The American Red Cross documented the Chinese Labour Corps who were among the approximately 450,000 workers recruited from the Republic of China, Indo-China, Egypt, India, and other developing nations in 1917. The British and French armies sought manpower to dig trenches, fill sandbags, maintain roads, and repair tanks. After the war, some stayed to fill in the trenches, remove unexploded bombs and mines, help in the removal of the dead, and other thankless tasks. By 1921, most workers were repatriated to their countries.

American Red Cross. Facing the Scars of War, ca. October 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (023.01.00)

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American Red Cross Witnesses Civilian Relief Efforts

Established by American women living abroad, the American Fund for French Wounded provided support to French soldiers, civilians, and refugees. The photograph’s caption on the verso tells a fuller story: “Mrs. Taylor of the Civilian Relief Committee of the American Fund for the French Wounded distributing milk to the young and the old of repatriated village of [Blérancourt]. Milk was unknown to these unfortunate people for three years the Germans occupied their village.”

American Red Cross via International Film Service. The First Milk in Three Years. American Relief Work in Repatriated France. . . , undated, ca. 1918. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (024.00.00)

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American Red Cross Documents the Need for Reconstruction

With an estimated one million casualties, the Battle of Verdun from February 21 to December 18, 1916, was the war’s longest and one of its deadliest campaigns. This post-war view of the town offers a glimpse both of the devastation and the efforts to rebuild and recover. American optimism and energy played a role in rebuilding Europe and providing nutrition to war-torn France. Despite the organization’s insistence that hotels were ready for occupation, the buttresses supporting these buildings two years after the war ended, hinted that Europe was still in need of major reconstruction.

American Red Cross, Paris Office. Ready for Sight Seers [sic], July 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (024.01.00)

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American Red Cross Volunteers at Work

At the beginning of the century, Edna M. Walker was an accomplished craftswoman, making Arts and Crafts furniture in the Byrdcliffe artist’s colony in Woodstock, New York. During the war, she joined thousands of other American women who volunteered to work for the American Red Cross. The volunteers’ energy played a role in the European recovery in the immediate aftermath of the war. Here, she stands with two orphaned children before the ruins of the Église Notre-Dame d’Attigny, France.

American Red Cross. The Wedding Arch, ca. April 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (025.00.00)

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American Red Cross Captures the War's Devastation

During French Commander-in-Chief Robert Nivelle’s attempt to push back the German line in April 1917, the Napoleonic-era edifice of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Vaast d’Arras was destroyed. This photo—part of American Red Cross documentation of the war’s aftermath—captures the extent of the damage caused when the roof collapsed, destroying most of the nave and transept. Not everyone decried it as an architectural loss. Arthur Stanley Riggs wrote, “As we stood looking at the cathedral one brilliant morning, and marveling at the unique change shell-fire had made—in this case transforming one of the ugliest Renaissance churches in France into a sublime and inspiring ecclesiastical ruin. . . .”

American Red Cross. Interior of the Cathedral, Arras, ca. 1920. Gelatin silver photograph. American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (025.01.00)

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