During the World War I era (1914-18), leading U.S. newspapers took advantage of a new printing technique called rotogravure that produced richly detailed, high quality illustrations. This online collection, Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures, includes Sunday rotogravure sections of the New York Times and the New York Tribune, as well as a portfolio of etchings published by the New York Times at the end of 1919, approximately a year after the armistice and six months after the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty. The latter portfolio, The War of the Nations: Portfolio in Rotogravure Etchings, contains 1,398 images with brief descriptive captions drawn from the “Mid-Week Pictorial” section of the Times.
Rotogravure sections in newspapers were immensely popular. The collages of photographs from the front lines captured the intensity of the fighting. Coverage of casualties and photographs of the destruction of total war helped influence how readers viewed world events and were important tools for promoting U.S. propaganda prior to entry into the conflict in 1917. Events of the war are detailed alongside portraits of noted personalities of the day, society news, and advertisements touting products, some of which are linked to the war.
Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures enhances the study of U.S. history during the World War I era. It is an illustrated history of the Great War and offers insights into the social history of the era on the home front through pictorials of high society, fashion, the arts, celebrations, parades, and memorials. The collection includes a detailed timeline of pivotal events of the Great War and a series of essays on events and statistics of the war; innovative technology; the Lusitania disaster; propaganda; and the rotogravure process. Additionally, the collection chronicles events stemming from the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the subsequent excursion of the American Expeditionary Force into Mexico prior to the U.S. entry into World War I.
The collection can be searched by keyword or be browsed by date and title. For browsing by date and title, it is useful to know that the New York Times collection begins in November 1913 and the New York Tribune begins in January 1916; the War of the Nations was published in December 1919.