The Golden Age of Navy Poster Art:
(Posters from the Ambassador J. William Middendorf III Collection)
This exhibit ran from November 10, 1988 through May 1989.
From the 1890s posters had successfully advertised entertainment and consumer products. Governments had used some recruiting posters in earlier wars, but World War I was their golden age. Between April 1917 and November 1918, America produced 2,500 different posters, more than all other warring nations combined.
“Place upon every wall, in America the call to, patriotism and to service…” Cass Gilbert, Associate Chairman of Division of Pictorial Publicity.”
World War I was the greatest and most prolific period of poster art in America. Across the country posters aroused the people to aid their nation in its hour of need. Waving their usual fees, Chandler Christy, Henry Reuterdahl, and James Montgomery Flagg produced over 700 posters.
World War I posters appealed to 19th century values and stereotypes – like the image of Columbia – while the women in World War II posters changed into career women.
By World War II, posters were no longer as important a medium as they had been in World War I. Radio, newspapers, magazines and movies now played a great role in reaching the public. The posters’ style differed from that of earlier war reflecting a shift in temperament – the struggle was inescapable not heroic.
U.S. Navy Needs Men – Registered Men May Enlist Now. Raymond Bannister, circa 1917. Accession # 99-064-U.
U.S. Official War Pictures. Louis Fancher, 1917. Accession # 99-064-S.
Over There. Albert E. Sterner, 1917. Accession # 99-64-N.
Together We Win. James Montgomery Flagg, 1918. Accession # 99-064-AB.
He Guards the Road to France. Henry Reuderahl, 1917. Accession # 99-064-AD.
Follow the Flag – Enlist in the Navy – US Navy Recruiting Station. James Daugherty, 1917. Accession, 99-064-Y.
Join the Navy – The Service For Fighting Men. Russell F. Babcock, c 1917. Accession # 99-064-T.
Women Awake: Your Country Needs You – Learn to be of National Service – Join the Navy League – Help the Navy. Roberts. Hazel, 1916. Accession # 65-014-W.
Rivets are Bayonets Drive Them Home – US Shipping board Emergency Fleet Corporation. John E. Sheridan, 1918. Accession # 2003-043-1.
Ours To Fight For Freedom From Want. Norman Rockwell, circa WWII. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 76364-KN.
Every Girl Pulling for Victory. Edward Penfield, 1917. Accession # 99-064-Z.
The Sword is Drawn, the Navy Upholds It! Kenyon Cox, 1917. Accession # 99-064-W.
Fight Or Buy Bonds – Third Liberty Loan. Howard Chandler Christy, 1918. Accession # 81-156-I.
I Want You For The Navy. Howard Chandler Christy, 1918. Accession # 99-064-Q.
On the Job for Victory. Jonas Lie, 1918. Accession # 68-550-AE.
Enlist in the Navy. Milton Bancroft, circa 1917. Accession # 99-064-R.
All Together. Enlist in the Navy. Henry Reuterdahl, 1917. Accession # 69-233-D.
They Kept The Sea Lanes Open. Leon Alaric Shafer, circa 1919. Accession # 99-064-P.
Come Along Learn Something, See Something in the U.S. Navy. James Daugherty, circa 1917. Accession: 99-064-X.
A careless word…a NEEDLESS SINKING. Anton Otto Fischer, 1942. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 76339-KN.
The Navy Needs You – Don’t Read American History, Make it. James Flagg Montgomery, 1917. Accession # 68-084-C.
Cadets for Naval Aviation. McCelland Barclay, circa WWII. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 86480-KN.