U.S. World War II Posters, 1939-1947

Collection number: MC 386 [Mapcase A-7]
Size: (61 items) (1.00 cu.ft.)

About the U.S. World War II Posters

“The function of the war poster is to make coherent and acceptable a basically incoherent and irrational ordeal of killing, suffering, and destruction that violates every accepted principle of morality and decent living,” comments O.W. Riegel in the introduction to Posters of World War I and World War II in the George C. Marshall Research Foundation (1979). To achieve this requires propaganda methods, and war posters of all countries and times thus bear a remarkable similarity. Every nation portrays its warriors as noble, its women as compassionate and virtuous, and its war aims as righteous. The enemy, on the other hand, is portrayed as misguided, evil, and fighting for an ignoble cause.

World War I marked the first large-scale use of the poster for political purposes and saw a democratized art employed in a new kind of “democratized” war, that is, a war that involved entire populations. World War II posters were generally less fervent, emotional, and compelling than those of World War I. One of the reasons was a new sophistication regarding the poster and propaganda in general engendered by postwar disillusionment and the exposure of the frauds of atrocity propaganda. It was felt that propaganda was most effective when it was least propagandistic. Another reason was the appearance by World War II of a number of other new propaganda weapons and strategies. Radio, film, newspapers, public loudspeakers, airborne leaflets and newspapers all combined to subordinate and reduce the importance of the poster.

Posters were important, however, as simple announcements or publicity – for such things as appeals for production, the conservation of fats, the availability of war bonds for purchase, and exhortations to stop careless talk. They also created a sense of involvement in a national mission by providing constant reminders through one image or another that “this is my war, and I am a part of it.”

The collection consists of a total of 61 posters, 57 of which date from World War II. Two posters, undated, were produced by the New York State W.P.A. Art Project, probably from the 1930s, and two posters date from after the end of the war and were produced by the United Nations Department of Public Information to support their cause. The collection includes six posters designed by Walt Disney and four by Norman Rockwell.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], U.S. World War II Posters, 1939-1947, MC 386, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation: Virginia Fitzgerald, Framingham, MA, June 27, 1995 (Accession number: 95.022)

Collection Contents

Series 1: New York State W.P.A. Project

Strengthen Good Neighbor Policy – Understand Our Southern Neighbors. Your Lot in a Totalitarian State

Series 2: Office of Education

The Four Freedoms (1941-O-406668)

Series 3: Office of Price Administration

Cost of Living. “I Pay No More Than Ceiling Prices…I Pay My Ration Points In Full” (1944-0-580381)

Series 4: Office of War Information

…Because Somebody Talked (1944-O-579038). Signed and dated in the plate lower right
We Caught Hell! – Someone Must Have Talked (1944-O-567525). Signed indistinctly lower right
We’ll Take Care Of The Rising Sun. You Take Care Of Rising Prices n.d.
I’m Out To Lick Runaway Prices. Let’s All Follow The 7-Key Plan To Hold Prices Down n.d. Signed in the plate “James Montgomery Flagg” lower right
You Can Lick Runaway Prices. You Hold The 7 Keys To Hold Down Prices n.d. Artist: James Montgomery Flagg
Careless Talk…Got There First Artist: Herbert Morton Stoops. (1944-0-593271)
Americans Suffer When Careless Talk Kills! Artist: Harry Anderson. (1943-0-558552). Signed in the plate “Harry Anderson” lower right

Series 5: Norman Rockwell Designs

Save Freedom of Worship: Buy War Bonds OWI Poster No. 43 (1943-0-510256)
Save Freedom of Speech: Buy War Bonds OWI Poster No. 44 (1943-0-510257)
Ours…to fight for: Freedom From Want OWI Poster No. 45 (1943-O-511886)
Ours…to fight for: Freedom From Fear OWI Poster No. 46 (1943-O-511887)

Series 6: Solid Fuels Administration

Your Government Warns Prepare For Winter Now! Fuel Is Scarce… Conserve It! (1944-0-594484)
Up Your Bond Paying Through Payroll Savings. An Official War Message (1943-0-539069)

Series 7: The Timken Roller Bearing Company, Canton 6, Ohio

Admiral King Needs Your Help – Buy War Bonds! Artist: McClelland Barclay. n.d.
Admiral Stark Says Every Branch Of The Service Needs Your Help – Buy Another War Bond Today! Copyright 1944
Admiral Halsey Needs Your Support–Buy War Bonds! Artist: John Falter USNR. n.d.
Admiral Horne Says: Buy War Bonds – And Keep Them! Copyright 1945
Admiral Nimitz Is Banking On You – Buy War Bonds! Artist: Dean Cornwell. Copyright 1944
Cost of Living. “I Pay No More Than Ceiling Prices…I Pay My Ration Points In Full” (1944-0-580381)
General Chennault Asks Your Support – Buy Another War Bond Today! Copyright 1944
Admiral Kirk Urges You To Buy More War Bonds! Copyright: 1944
General Patton Says: Buy More Bonds! Copyright 1944
Help General Patch Do The Job – Buy War Bonds! Copyright 1945
General Arnold Needs Your Support – Buy War Bonds! Copyright 1945. Artist: Ray Prohaska
Stand By General Marshall! Artist: McClelland Barclay. Copyright 1943
Don’t Let General MacArthur Down – Buy War Bonds! Copyright 1943
Support General Eisenhower – Buy War Bonds! Copyright 1944
An Appeal From General Vandegrift – Buy War Bonds! Copyright 1944
A Vital Message From General Stilwell! Buy More War Bonds Today! Copyright 1944

Series 8: Treasury Department

…Let’s Get This Shield Up! Buy Extra War Bonds Today. We Bought Extra War Bonds 4th War Loan (1943-O-563251)
Buying A Bond Is No Sacrifice. Missing in Action… We Bought Extra War Bonds 4th War Loan (1943-O-563538). Signed in the plate “Bingham” center right
Now…All Together. 7th War Loan Artist: C.C. Beall. Painted from Associated Press Photo of U.S. Marines at Iwo Jima. (1945-0-637980)
Protect His Future. Buy And Keep War Bonds Artist: Ruth Nichols. (1944-0-626443)
To Have And To Hold! War Bonds (1944-0-576074). [2 copies]
CARE Is Costly. Buy And Hold War Bonds Artist: Adolph Treidler. (1945-0-651671)
Back ‘Em Up. Buy Extra Bonds (1944-0-591998). Artist: Boris Chaliapin. [2 copies]
Victory Loan. Buy Your Extra Bonds – Here (1945-0- 665000)
Let ‘Em Have It. Buy Extra War Bonds. We Bought Extra War Bonds 4th War Loan (1943-0-563183)
Buy Your Extra 6th War Loan Bonds Here (1944-0-610771)
The Sky’s The Limit. Keep Buying War Bonds. 6th War Loan Artist: Courtney Allen. (1944-0-609249)
Next! Japan. 6th War Loan Artist: Bingham. (1944-0- 610930) [2 copies]
Calling All Americans. Your Help Is Needed In The Fifth War Loan Printed by Frederick Photogelatine Press, Inc
Cost of Living. “I Pay No More Than Ceiling Prices…I Pay My Ration Points In Full” (1944-0-580381)
Victory – Now You Can Invest In It! Victory Loan (1945- 0-666315). [2 copies]
Buy That Invasion Bond! Artist: R. Moore. (1944-0-597798)
85 Million Americans Hold War Bonds (1945-0-629877)

Series 9: United Nations

United Nations U.N. Department of Public Information, 1947. Artist: Eveleigh. [2 copies]
Vigil For Peace: U.N. Observers U.N. Department of Public Information, n.d.

Series 10: U.S. Army

Wings Over America. Air Corps U.S. Army Artist: Tom B. Woodburn. Copyright 1939
The United States Army. Then-Now-Forever Artist: Tom B. Woodburn. Copyright 1940

Series 11: U.S. Army, Recruiting Publicity Bureau, Women’s Army Corps

Both bear this text: Woman’s Place in War. The Army of the United States has 239 kinds of jobs for women. The Women’s Army Corps. [Recruiting Office address "832 Elm St., Manchester, N.H." written in ink at bottom].

Topographic Draftsman, ARMY GROUND FORCES Artist: Ramus. (PC-86-RPB-1-22-44-50M)
Radio Repairing, ARMY SERVICE FORCES Artist: Ramus. (PC-87-RPB-1-22-44-50M)

Series 12: Walt Disney Designs

Each poster carries the text: “One of Many Official/Army Navy Insignia/ Designed by Walt Disney.” All signed in the plate ” © Walt Disney.”

Mosquito Fleet. American Motor Torpedo Boats. Buy U.S. War Bonds And Stamps
45th Pursuit Squadron. Buy U.S. War Bonds And Stamps
69th Quartermaster Battalion. (LM) Company C. Buy U.S. War Bonds And Stamps
Truck Drivers Battery “B” 202nd Coastal Artillery (AA). Buy U.S. War Bonds And Stamps
Women’s Ambulance & Defense Corps. Buy U.S. War Bonds And Stamps
Alaska Defense Force. Buy U.S. War Bonds And Stamps

Series 13: Unidentified

Win-Or Else! Let’s Show Them n.d.
Finding Aid Image TEMP
  • The Timken Roller Bearing Company, c.1944; Artist: Dean Cornwell