While the modern poster was born in the mid 19th century, its role was mostly limited to advertising and entertainment. However, with the start of WWI, the great war, the war to end all wars, the role of posters and their importance changed drastically. If up until then the poster had gone unnoticed by the masses, that was about to change.
Posters were now asking people not only to spend their money, but to act. Enlist, recycle, sacrifice, keep your mouth shut, buy War Savings Stamps and subscribe to the Liberty Loan.
As a majority of Americans remained largely uneducated, posters relied on simple messages. Posters with no text at all were among the most powerful and as they had to be, relying solely on the image to get their point across.
When the siren was sounded, some of the best known magazine and advertising illustrators responded to the call for service. Among them were Charles Dana Gibson, James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy, and Joseph Leyendecker.
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