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Print Collection 12: The Posters

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On ne passe pas!, Maurice Neumont

Once hostilities between Germany and the Allies had begun, an especially important development in the poster's history was able to take place. Bavarian limestone that had previously been used in the lithographic drafting process came to be behind enemy lines for the Allies. It was the lack of this material, argues historian Maurice Rickards, that triggered the introduction of lithographic zinc and aluminum in much of Western Europe, making printing faster and easier. The poster had the added benefit of being accessible to the majority of the population. With its simplicity and emotional impact, it ensured easy comprehension, while its history of popularity in the late nineteenth century legitimized it as an art-form among the elites. Since the First World War, the poster's use as a vehicle for mass communication by government has never been equaled.

Rickards divides the publication of wartime propaganda posters into four stages, starting with the appeal for enlistment. In Britain and Canada, where a draft was not in place until 1916, government agencies produced the largest volume of recruitment posters. Also beginning in the earliest phases of the war and lasting throughout, all nations produced posters with an appeal for monetary contributions in the form of war loans. The second phase of poster production called for relief for soldiers, for example through injunctions to save wine and tobacco. Next arrived posters calling for help for the wounded, orphans and refugees and enjoining further sacrifice from civilians. Finally, as a shortage of munitions and workers set in, posters called for women to work in factories, for factories to increase production and for vital materials to be conserved.

Charities, banks and other organizations functioned as unofficial branches of the government during the war, producing many of their own posters, intermingling patriotic imagery with calls for donations, volunteers and loan subscriptions. Given their close relationship with advertising and their persuasive intent, propaganda posters could not be expected to realistically depict the war. The posters tended to emphasize optimism, heroism and national pride over the realities of trench warfare. Posters for the Red Cross and other aid organizations, however, did use depictions of the wounded and refugees in their appeals for help.

The Collection's posters are mainly French, German and American, though some British, Italian and Canadian posters are also included. See more about the posters in the Collection.


Call number Title Artist Publisher/Printer Country Size (cm) Notes
XS-002 Help Hoover Feed the Belgian Children Soples (?) Brown Bros. & Co. USA 27.8 x 35.5 American fundraising poster for Belgian relief.
XS-003 Affiche Composée par les Enfants de France Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 36 x 27.6 Announcement about posters M-030 through M-044
XS-007 Prestito Nazionale Mario Borgoni Officine Dell'istituto D'arti Grafiche, Bergamo Italy 23.6 x 33.4 Italian war loan poster
S-005 Der Feind Hört Mit! E. Weber Germany 30.1 x 40.9 German counter-espionage poster
S-080 Pour la Victoire du Droit William Malherbe Société Genérale/Devambez, Paris France 28 x 43.7 French war loan poster
M-020 L'image au service de la Verité Ferdinand Avenarius Germany 44 x 57.6 German counter-propaganda sent over enemy lines
M-021 The War of Munitions Roberts and Leete, Ltd. Lith. London UK 53.6 x 42.2 Poster about British industry during the war
M-022 If You Can't Go Across with a Gun C. W. Love The United States Printing [...] USA 34.4 x 54.8 Red Cross war fund poster
M-023 U.S. Marines Serve America on Land and Sea John Igelstroem Co. Duckwine. Massillon, O. USA 34.4 x 55.3 Marines recruitment poster
M-024 Buy Your Liberty Bond Today USA 35.5 x 53.1 Text-only war loan poster
M-025 Buy Liberty Bonds Today USA 35.7 x 53.1 Text-only war loan poster
M-030 Mangez moins de viande pour ménager notre Cheptel Marthe Picard Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 37.1 x 54.9 Winning entry from Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies poster contest for schoolchildren
M-032 Tout l'Acier et le Charbon pour nos usines M. Héringfeld Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 34.9 x 55.9 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-033 Avec la carte nous en aurons peu mais nous en aurons tous Yvonne Colas Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 34.9 x 54.3 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-034 Economisez le pain en mangeant des pommes de terre Yvonne Vernes Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 37.8 x 55.5 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-035 Semez du blé c'est de l'or pour la France Suzanne Ferrand Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.8 x 55 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-036 Français économisez le Gaz Jeanne Falournoux Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.9 x 55.1 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-037 Fumeurs de l'arrière économisez le Tabac Andrée Ménard Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.8 x 55.1 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-038 Nous Saurons nous en Priver Camille Boutet Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.8 x 54.7 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-039 Economisons le pétrole l'essence Marie Louise Jeanningros Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.9 x 56.1 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-040 Réservez le Vin pour nos Poilus Suzanne Ferrand Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 37.8 x 55.5 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-041 Cultivons notre potager Louisette Jaeger Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 38.1 x 56.6 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-042 Ne pas gaspiller le pain est notre devoir S. Vincent Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.8 x 55 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-043 Laissez Circuler la monnaie d'argent et de billon Béatrix Grognuz Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 36.5 x 54.8 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-044 Prêtez vos Billets de Banque à la France Andrée Ménard Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies France 35.7 x 54.8 From Comité National de Prévoyance et d'Économies contest for schoolchildren
M-098 Where's your "Liberty Bond" Button? USA 53.3 x 27.8 Uncle Sam war loan poster
M-146 Affiche de Georges Scott Georges Scott Banque Nationale de Crédit/Devambez Gr., Paris France 39.2 x 51.7 Marianne war loan poster
M-183 On ne Passe Pas! Maurice Neumont Union des Grandes Associations Françaises contre la propagande ennemie France 39.7 x 58.9 French counter-propaganda
L-003 Hassgesang gegen England Ernst Lissauer, W. Klemm Germany 44 x 63.8 Anti-British propaganda
L-012 Photographie publiée par le "Lokal-Anzeiger" Germany 44.1 x 57.7 German counter-propaganda
XL-001 British Blood Calls British Blood British Recruiting Mission/The Crown Press, Chicago USA 67.8 x 100 Recruitment poster for British residents of the USA
XL-002 Make Your Dollars End the War Government Printing Office, Washington USA 61 x 96.3 Liberty Bond poster, duplicate XL-082
XL-003 You Buy a Liberty Bond, Lest I Perish C. R. Macauley USA 75.7 x 102 Lady Liberty war loan poster
XL-004 Nous Défendrons le Precieux Joyau de la Liberté Gazette Printing Co. Limited, Montréal Canada 62.1 x 92.1 Canadian recruitment poster, French version of XL-006
XL-005 They fight for you; protect them W. G. Sesser Latham USA 70.8 x 102.5 Red Cross fundraising poster
XL-006 We Will Uphold the Priceless Gem of Liberty Gazette Printing Co. Limited, Montréal Canada 62.3 x 92 Canadian recruitment poster, English version of XL-004
XL-007 Heroes of St. Julien and Festubert Gazette Printing Co. Limited, Montréal Canada 61.8 x 92 Canadian recruitment poster. English version of XL-068
XL-008 Lend Your Money to Your Government USA 122.5 x 91.5 American war loan poster
XL-045 Consentons-les librement France 75.7 x 28 French conservation poster
XL-066 Grande Manifestation Nationale Union des Grandes Associations Françaises/ N.R. Money, Paris France 58 x 80.2 Poster for Trocadero Rally
XL-067 Journée de Paris G. Picard Devambez Gr., Paris France 79.9 x 122 Charity benefit poster
XL-068 Les Héros de St. Julien et de Festubert Gazette Printing Co. Limited, Montréal Canada 61.7 x 92 Canadian recruitment poster, French version of XL-007
XL-081 You Buy a Liberty Bond Lest I Perish C. R. Macauley USA 50.8 x 67.3 Liberty loan poster, smaller version of XL-003. Two copies (XL-081 and L-004)
XL-082 Make Your Dollars End the War Government Printing Office, Washington USA 61 x 96 Liberty Loan poster. Duplicate of XL-002
XL-083 Britons and Canadians British Recruiting Mission/The Crown Press, Chicago USA 67 x 105 Recruitment poster for British residents of America
XL-086 Oeuvre des "Vacances Enfantines" Françisque Poulbot, Louise Daubray L'Assurance Mutuelle des Abattoirs et du Marché aux Bestiaux France 59.7 x 79.7 Children's vacation announcement
XL-087 L'Effort et l'Idéal de la Grande-Bretagne M. D. H. Chachoin, Paris France 59.2 x 79.9 Musée du Luxembourg exhibit poster
XL-089 L'Emprunt de la Libération Abel Faivre Champenois, Paris France 114.6 x 79.7 French war loan poster

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