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Grolier Club Exhibitions

World War I Posters

Homer, “They Signal ‘Send Books.’” New York: The H.C. Miner Litho. Co., 1917. 

The American Library Association printed many eye-catching posters during World War I to educate the public that troops wanted books to read. “Good books left at the public library will be sent ‘over there’ and to our men in camp everywhere,” this poster states.  Millions of books were donated between 1917 and 1920.

Dan Smith, Knowledge Wins. Baltimore, Maryland: Thomsen-Ellis Company, undated. 

To publicize the role of books in wartime, the American Library Association commissioned several posters with striking images of soldiers and books. This poster, designed by Dan Smith during World War I, portrays a soldier poised to climb a staircase of books that would lead him back home, to democracy and freedom.

John E. Sheridan, “Hey Fellows!” United States: Committee on Public Information, Division of Pictorial Publicity, 1918. 

The American Library Association led a successful book campaign during World War I by raising funds to purchase books for the military. This bright poster features a soldier asking the public to donate money so that men in the armed forces would have plenty of books to read. Demonstrating how popular books were, there is a sailor sitting on the ground, consumed in a book.