Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2003 Issue

Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II

Febguns

Man the Guns—Join the Navy by McClelland Barclay, 1942. Courtesy of NARA Still Picture Branch.


By Julie Carleton

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) serves as the national repository for all federal records and documents. In addition, NARA provides exhibitions of materials related to its holdings. NARA’s website has several (12) interesting extracts from past exhibits, including Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II, currently available on their web site at: (http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/powers_of_persuasion/powers_of_persuasion_intro.html). This online exhibit is an abridged version of an earlier physical exhibit that was on display in their Washington D.C. branch exhibit halls in 1995. The exhibit comprises a collection of propaganda posters from the World War II era. Although a shortened version of the original display, Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II is certainly comprehensive in its coverage. In it the viewer gets a glimpse of how this media was used to sway various segments of the American public to support the war effort. The materials displayed in Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art from World War II are representative of those images of that era that are pressed into the memories of many Americans.

During World War II, all nations in conflict utilized propaganda to influence their citizens. Propaganda took many forms including radio, film, popular songs, newspapers and posters. Professional artists and filmmakers were specifically employed to create such forms of propaganda. The United States Government even created an agency specifically designed to produce propaganda, the Office of War Information.

Powers of Persuasion… is divided in two main parts. Part One covers World War II propaganda subject matters that are of a lighter nature, designed to inspire and motivate Americans to support the war effort. Part Two delves into the darker side of war. Themes include the threat of Nazi Germany, espionage and Russian totalitarianism. In addition to the poster images, the exhibit uses audio sound bites (such as a Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms Speech to Congress) to provide extra depth to the experience.

The first page of the exhibit shows the famous “I Want You” by James Montgomery Flagg. This poster is perhaps the quintessential wartime propaganda image that has lasted through time. Produced by the United States Army Recruiting Bureau, this poster was used to inspire young men to join the army.

Part One has five separate segments which address various propaganda themes: “Man the Guns”, “It’s a Woman’s War Too”, “United We Win”, “Use it Up, Wear it Out” and “Four Freedoms”. Each of these segments shows how propaganda posters were used to appeal to different segments of the population, such as the potential working woman, the African American military man, and the white male.

Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Zane Grey, Inscribed photograph album depicting Grey and party at Catalina, fishing, and in Arizona. $700 to $1,000
    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Eric Taverner, Salmon Fishing...London: Seeley, Service & Co., 1931. $600 to $900
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    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Ken Robinson, Flyfishers' Progress. [London: The Flyfishers' Club, 2000. $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> G. H. Lacy, North Punjab Fishing Club Angler's Handbook. Calcutta: Newman & Co., 1890. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> J. Harrington Keene, Fly-Fishing and Fly-Making for Trout, etc. New York, 1887. $200 to $300
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    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Arthur Macrate, The History of The Tuna Club, Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, California, 1948. $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Joseph D. Bates Jr. Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing. Harrisburg, PA: The Stackpole Company, 1966. $800 to $1,200
    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Paul Schmookler and Ingrid V. Sils. Rare and Unusual Fly Tying Materials: A Natural History. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, online only Jul 13-24:</b> Herbert Hoover, Fishing For Fun - And To Wash Your Soul. New York: Random House, 1963. $400 to $600
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    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, July. 28:</b> Lot 567: Warhol, Andy. Tate Gallery Exhibition Booklet, Signed on the Cover by Warhol. Tate Gallery, 1971. $700 to $900
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    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, July. 28:</b> Lot 468: Photo Archive Documenting the 1930s—50s Chicago Jazz and Night Club Scene. A significant collection. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, July. 28:</b> Lot 143: Dr. Seuss. <i>Oh Say Can You Say.</i> 1979, First Edition, Signed. $200 to $300
    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, July. 28:</b> Lot 285: [Maps] Thomas G. Bradford. <i>A Comprehensive Atlas, Geographical, Historical & Commercial.</i> Boston: William D. Ticknor, 1835. First Edition. $1,600 to $1,800
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    <b>Potter & Potter Auctions, July. 28:</b> Lot 7: Ray Bradbury. <i>The Martian Chronicles.</i> With a Wine Label Signed by Bradbury. Garden City: Doubleday, 1950. First edition $300 to $500
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  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
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    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
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