WWI poster: They call them devil-hounds, but they are simply hounding the devil. Our Marines.

World War I Posters

May 2017

The year 2017 marks the centennial of the United States' involvement in World War I: Congress declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, and with that, the U.S. entered the "Great War" that had been raging in Europe since 1914.

In commemoration of that anniversary, and in conjunction with the NYS Museum's new WWI exhibit ("A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War") the NYS Library's seventh floor exhibit for May highlights a selection of the smaller posters and placards from our World War I Poster Collection (SC23360).

The World War I Poster Collection contains over 3,600 propaganda posters and related ephemera. The bulk of the collection (over 2,000 posters) is from the U.S., but there is also an interesting selection from other countries. For a complete list of posters, organized by the country that created them, see the finding aid for the World War I Posters Collection.

Whether from the U.S. or from other countries, WWI posters tend to fall into two categories:

  • military recruitment, and
  • appeals to the public to support the war effort in various ways, e.g., financially (through war bonds and loans) or by conserving food and other resources.

The three large display cases feature a variety of U.S. recruitment posters.

U.S. Marines

Left diplay case, with recruitment posters for the US Marines.
  1. Spirit of 1917 – U.S. Marines
  2. First to Fight in France/Join the U.S. Marines for a Real Test of Courage
  3. First To Fight/Join the U.S. Marines
  4. U.S. Marines/Serve Where You See the Red Star
  5. They Call Them Devil-Hounds ... Our Marines
  6. A Man from This House Is Serving in the/United States Marine Corps
  7. Go Over with U.S. Marines

 

U.S. Army

Center display case, with US Army recruitment posters.
  1. The U.S. Army Wants Real Men: Join the "University in Khaki" ...
  2. The New Education "There's the World before you, young man!"
  3. No More Men Are Needed for the Watch on the Rhine...
  4. Treat 'Em Rough! Join the Tanks
  5. See Panama and the Philippines/Join the U.S. Army Today
  6. To Panama ... Enlist To-day
  7. Service in the Army Will Do the Same for You/Enlist in the Army and Get This Training

 

U.S. Navy, National Guard, and Nurses

Right display case, with recruitment posters for the US Navy, for the National and American Guard, and for nurses.
  1. Out of Work? Join the Navy
  2. Will You Supply Eyes for the Navy? Navy Ships Need Binoculars and Spy-glasses...
  3. The Greatest School on Earth/Travel with the United States Navy
  4. Join the Navy/The Forearm of the Nation
  5. American Guard ... For Boys – 14 to 18 yrs
  6. Some Backing! Join the State Guard!
  7. The College Woman's Plattsburgh ... Training Camp for Nurses/at Vassar College
  8. Wanted/25000 Student/Nurses

For preservation reasons (to reduce fading from exposure to strong lights) the posters in the smaller cases around the elevators will only be displayed for two weeks, and then will be replaced with different items. Currently these cases contain posters from other countries. The examples below are from Canada, Germany, Italy and England.

Canadian WWI poster: Stick It Canada! Buy More Vistory Bonds   German WWI war loan poster, with image of a pilot   Italian WWI poster: national loan   English WWI recruiting poster, with image of four soldiers in kilts marching in line

Exhibit curated by Diane Madrigal and Marta Kelly

Last Updated: May 9, 2017