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Spock War Posters Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: 6 Aug 2006

Biographical History

Before the widespread presence of television and radio, and to a lesser extent even after, wartime governments often used posters to broadcast to the civilian population important themes such as civil defense, recruitment, morale-boosting and fund-raising. In many cases notable artists would be engaged to create the illustrations.

World War I and World War II were particularly rich in these cheap and omnipresent pieces of propaganda. According to the Smithsonian Institution's "Produce for Victory: Posters on the American Home Front" :

Addressing every citizen as a combatant in the war of production, wartime posters united the power of art with the power of advertising to sell the idea that the factory and the home were also arenas of war. Poster campaigns aimed not only to increase productivity in factories, but also to enlarge people's views of their responsibilities in a time of total war...
[P]eople would encounter posters in places that other media couldn't reach—schools, factories, offices, store windows, and other places outside the scope of paid advertising. Second, posters had democratic appeal—they could be made by anyone; they could be seen by all. Both medium and message spoke of democracy, which made posters ideal for expressing American war aims: why we fight, what we fight for.

Benjamin Spock was an American pediatrician best known for his book Baby and Child Care. He was also active in the anti-Vietnam War movements during the 1960's and early 1970's.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Spock War Posters Collection consists of approximately 220 posters relating to World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. Dr. Spock is specifically mentioned in several of the Vietnam-era posters. Common themes of the posters include morale-boosting, fund-raising, recruiting and civil defense. Organizations represented include the Red Cross; U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps; various relief committees; and other groups involved directly or indirectly in the war effort. The vast majority of the items are American but there are also a few from France, Canada, Italy and England.

Arrangement of the Collection

Posters are subdivided by the war to which they relate. Within that, items have been assigned identification numbers and are arranged in order by number.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the War Posters Collection (World War I and World War II).

Subject Headings


Avedon, Richard.
Grossman, Robert, 1940-
Haeberle, Ron, 1941-
Hofmann, William.
Israel, Marvin.
Lennon, John, 1940-1980.
Negrin, Su.
Spock, Benjamin, 1903-1998.

Corporate Bodies

American Red Cross -- Posters.
United States. -- Army. -- Air Service -- Posters.
United States. -- Army. -- Posters.
United States. -- Marine Corps -- Posters.
United States. -- Navy -- Posters.


Liberty bonds -- Posters.
Recruiting and enlistment -- Posters.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements -- United States -- Posters.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- United States -- Posters.
War posters, American.
War posters, Canadian.
War posters, French.
War posters, Italian.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Posters.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Posters.

Genres and Forms

Calendars (documents)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Spock War Posters Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Benjamin Spock.

Table of Contents

World War I

World War I, U.S. Army recruitment posters

World War II

Miscellaneous World War I and II

Unidentified world wars