World War II Posters Home Page Advanced Search Options
Only 58 of these 325 posters have artists' signatures, accounting for 45 individual artists. About half of the artists have identities established through research. A few have been noted as photographers, while the rest are assumed to be responsible for the graphic image if not for the poster layout. No further identity has been determined for some, where even the transcribed form of the names may be debatable. Among the better known artists are: Al Capp, Lejaren a Hiller, Norman Rockwell, Valentino Sarra, and Ben Shahn.
The issuing government office may be identified on the posters as an independent body (e.g. U.S. War Manpower Commission) or division of a larger entity (e.g. U.S. Adjutant General's Office, U.S. Office of War Information). Also, agencies may be identified on the posters in roles other than publisher. For broader results do a basic key word search without limiting to the "Agency" field. For instance, the term "army" appears 51 times in the database, but only 39 times in the "Agency" field.
This describes the graphic motifs or pictorial narrative in the posters, which may differ from or expand the title and general subject category. For instance, posters listed under the subject heading "Savings bonds" include scenes of factory workers, families, and bombardment episodes. Posters indexed under the topic of "Canning and Rationing" include images of soldiers eating mess rations, consumers in shops, women canning food, Victory gardeners, and scanned images of actual ration coupons.
The description is a free-text paragraph whose major terms have been based on the Thesaurus of Graphic Materials. Keep in mind that image terms are itemized, not classified, e.g. while most scenes of industry include the word "factory", some may use the broader term "manufacturing". To find all images of women (truncated = wom*), add the nouns "mother" and "family", and the adjective "female" (truncated = fem*).
NOTE: The well-known "Rosie the Riveter" is not among these images. A search for both "wom* + factory" and "fem* + factory" will yield all images of women in manufacturing from this collection, including a series on a cartoon character called "Jennie on the Job."
The posters have all been assigned Library of Congress subject headings denoting their broad subject themes, such as "Propaganda, Anti-German-United States," "Savings bonds-United States", "World War, 1939-1945-Economic Aspects-United States".
Thematic categories group the posters together, using the flavor of contemporary language:
The posters have been assigned numbers during the scanning process, which are helpful in locating the originals in the library collection. The numbers reflect the original numbering of the topical categories. They are different from the original Superintendent of Document classification numbers issued for most of the posters, and from the "Bib" ID number used for the MARC records in the library's online catalog.