Memorial Day, World War I Posters, and Civil War Updates

Monday is Memorial Day – a day set aside to honor and remember those who have served in our military. While the Search Room is closed on Memorial Day, my co-worker Aaron has worked very hard over the last few weeks to add posters from our collections to the World War I collection in the North Carolina Digital Collections. As you probably know, the NC Digital Collections is a joint project between we in the State Archives and our cohorts in the State Library of North Carolina.

Poster, They Are Giving All -- Will You Send Them Wheat?

World War I poster “They Are Giving All — Will You Send Them Wheat? ” Click on the image to see a larger view.

Given the upcoming holiday, I thought that now would be good time to give you a small taste of what we are currently adding online. To give you some background, I’m going to quote from one of our finding aids to the poster collection:

Poster, Back Our Girls Over There

World War I poster “Back Our Girls Over There.” Click on the image to see a larger view.

“The United States’ entry into World War I generated the creation and publication of thousands of colorful posters, both at the national and the local level. Over 350 World War I posters are preserved in the State Archives of North Carolina collection. They include recruitment posters from all branches of the armed forces and posters by service organizations such as the American Red Cross and the YWCA, urging monetary donations to support their work at home and abroad.

Other posters helped the government raise millions of dollars through the sale of Liberty Bonds. Posters by the U.S. Fuel Administration and the Food Administration called for additional civilian participation in the common war effort. Posters issued by the U.S. Labor Department, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and the Emergency Fleet Corporation urged increased production and efficiency, so that equipment and war material could reach American soldiers on the front lines in Europe.

Poster, Your Place Is By His Side

World War I poster “Your Place Is By His Side” by Fred V. Owens. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Many artists used their considerable talents in the creation of posters. A few, such as Howard Chandler Christy, had already achieved commercial fame; others were of local note. This collection includes original posters created in North Carolina by Fred V. Owen and T. S. Davidson, whose hand-drawn and hand-painted works were apparently created for the U.S. Army Recruiting Offices in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Asheville, N.C.”

As those who follow me on Twitter know, we’ve recently added a lot of other materials to the World War I collection in the NC Digital Collections. I’ve tried to write as many blog posts about those materials as I can, in part because I think they’re fascinating; but also because, at least for me, World War I is a part of our country’s history that I grew up not knowing much about. One of the fun parts of being an archivist is being able to share new, exciting things as you find them; but if our blog ever seems slightly World War I-centric, that is perhaps why.

Poster, Knowledge Wins

World War I poster “Knowledge Wins.” Click on the image for a larger view.

We’ve also added quite a few Civil War materials since I last gave you an update. Here are a few of the highlights from our Civil War blog:

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