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Prints and Photographs Division



Graphic Journalism and Illustration
Photojournalism Collections
Documentary Surveys
Advertising and Propaganda
Artist Posters

Performing Arts Posters

Circus Posters

Motion Picture Posters

WPA Posters

arrow graphicWorld War I and World War II Posters

Yanker Posters
Graphic Ephemera
Pictures: Business and Art
Design Collections
Organizations' Records
Personal Papers



World War I and World War II Posters
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Woman your country needs you! 1917. Prints and Photographs Division.
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Posters were put into service during both World War I and World War II to gain women's participation in bond drives, conservation efforts, war work, and the military itself. Images of women were also used to enjoin men to strive for victory. The division's World War I Posters (300 posters, ca. 1914-18) and World War II Posters (1,000 posters, ca. 1940-45) include posters made by the U.S. government and by private industry.

Images and text both offer insight on ideals that were held up to the American public and how women figured into them. Sometimes the acknowledgment of women's capabilities under the exigencies of war is backhanded, at best, as in the poster that declares, “Good Work, Sister: We Never Figured You Could Do a Man-Sized Job!” [picture].

Searching the Collection

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The More Women at Work, the Sooner We Win! Alfred Palmer, photographer. 1943. World War II Posters. Prints and Photographs Division.

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  • Catalog records for most World War I posters produced in the U.S. can be found in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog where the collection has its own listing (Posters: World War I). Digitized images accompany the records.
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    “This girl in a glass house. . . .” Alfred Palmer. October 1942. Office of War Information Collection. Prints and Photographs Division.

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  • Many posters produced in the U.S. during World War II for which copying negatives or transparencies exist can be searched in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. The collection does not have its own listing in the online catalog but items can be retrieved by searching the term world war 1939-1945 posters. Digitized images generally accompany the records.

For posters not represented online, onsite researchers can consult:

  • microfilm that reproduces the posters from each war, arranged by promotional goal
  • the Artist Posters card catalog and other finding tools, as some World War II posters whose designers were well-known are filed with the Artist Posters

Go to the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

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