“You are Needed Now!” “Keep the Wheels Turning!” “Food Will Win the War!” “Books Wanted For Our Men!” These and other slogans are showcased in the newly processed Wartime Posters Collection (Coll 467), available for use in Special Collections and University Archives (Knight Library, 2nd floor North).
Spanning over four decades, the 550 posters in the collection represent ephemeral propaganda from 13 countries, illustrating the uses to which print media was put in the war effort. Often designed by leading artists of the time, the language and imagery in each poster combine to create persuasive emotional responses, and suggest the appropriate action or remedy. Moreover, the posters in this collection document the changes, both social and economic, that resulted from these conflicts (e.g. the changing roles of women, the introduction and influence of new technologies, etc.).
The Wartime Posters Collection was processed by one of SCUA’s diligent and hard-working Student Processors, Tom Beech, a 5th year architecture student who was recently featured in a SCUA Student Spotlight. As part of his work processing the collection, Tom explained that he spent several months “determining how to better preserve the posters, researching the origin of each poster, and then creating an inventory of the collection. Hopefully once I finish anyone will be able to easily access the collection and learn more about the propaganda efforts made during various wars!”
Other recently-processed, wartime-related collections include: the German Prisoners of War photograph collection (Coll 469), the Jack Crain World War II letters (Coll 438), the Cameron Rogers papers (Ax 362), and the Arthur R. Wilson papers (Ax 406). Also see our research guide on military conflicts materials in special collections.
No appointment is necessary to view these collections, but checking our calendar of current hours is always a good idea.
By Rachel Lilley, Assistant Processing and Public Services Archivist