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Feeling Patriotic?

August 7, 2015

It seems that the fireworks have only just died down in my neighborhood and I must say I like things a bit quieter. But if you, like my neighbors, can’t get enough of Fourth of July celebrations, you should pop in to check out our Patriotic Posters exhibit.

The library has many posters from WWI and WWII online. You can check them out here by searching “war posters.”

Visually, many of these posters are quite beautiful. During wartime, even artists were enlisted to help with the war effort. John T. McCutcheon, an Indiana artist, created the art for the poster on the right, while George Ade, who was born in Indiana, wrote the poem.

Posters for WWI and WWII encouraged Americans to grow victory gardens and preserve food, buy bonds, support the Red Cross and more.

Remember BWhile I love many of these posters for their graphic appeal, take a closer look. How are enemies depicted? In this poster on the left, which I love for its contrast and drama, the enemies are demonized. This makes sense during wartime, but for me, it also serves as a cautionary note. These patriotic posters which encouraged Americans to work together in solidarity, which can be so beautiful, can also have a darker side.

The posters I?ve featured here are available online anytime. If you pop into the library, you can pick out a postcard with one of many images to take home with you. There are other posters which haven?t been put online. You can see some of these, in person in our exhibit which continues until Aug. 12.

Alyssa Boge is a collections assistant in Reference Services. She likes cooking, crafting and biking, and dreams of creating a synchronized library cart dance.

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