The fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. During war, this, and other patriotic holidays took on added significance. Specifically these important dates were used for all sorts of purposes including recruiting, swaying public opinion, promoting conservation, and selling products.
Our War Posters Collection is a collaborative project between Archives and Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries and the Hennepin County Library from its Kittleson World War II Collection (located in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library). The collection contains posters from government, commercial, and charitable organizations. These artifacts are rich with meaning and artistry.
They are now used in courses from history to graphic design, from public health to rhetoric, from marketing to theater. Faculty and instructors can often include these images in a course site or as part of a course assignment. These collections are multinational in scope and cover:
- war bonds and loans
- military recruitment and moral
- civil defense and transportation
- freedom and loyalty campaigns
- international welfare organizations
- prices, rationing, and food production
- health and safety
- labor organizations and industrial production
- veterans’ benefits
- films, theater, sports, and leisure
- recruiting of women in military and non-combatant organizations
- anti-war movements
- and other topics
- Rawls, W. (1988). Wake up, America! : World War I and the American poster (1st ed.). New York: Abbeville Press.
- Merton, R., Lowenthal, M., & Curtis, A. (1946). Mass persuasion : The social psychology of a war bond drive Columbia University. Bureau of Applied Social Research. New York: Harper.
- United States. War Finance Division. (1943). War Bond Plays, and Other Dramatic Material for Use in Connection with War Finance Promotion.
- *Online video* Alper, L., Earp, J., Killoy, A., Penn, S., Soloman, N., & Media Education Foundation. (2014). War made easy : How presidents & pundits keep spinning us to death. San Francisco, California, USA]: Kanopy Streaming.
- Kimble, J. (2006). Mobilizing the home front : War bonds and domestic propaganda . College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
- Silber, W. (2007). When Washington shut down Wall Street : The great financial crisis of 1914 and the origins of America’s monetary supremacy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
- Bird, W., & Rubenstein, H. (1998). Design for victory : World War II posters on the American home front (1st ed.). New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
Image Credits: World War Poster Collection (Mss 36), Literary Manuscripts Collection, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis, Minnesota.