Trove of war posters dis­cov­ered at li­brary

The Republican Herald - - NEWS - By MICHAEL CASEY

ROCHESTER, N. H. — One poster in a re­cently dis­cov­ered trove vil­i­fies the Nazis with a sword through a Bi­ble and the words “This Is the En­emy.” Some en­cour­aged self- sac­ri­fice by pro­mot­ing re­cy­cling, plant­ing gar­dens and buy­ing pota­toes. Still oth­ers warned that loose lips can lit­er­ally sink ships and get Amer­i­can sol­diers killed.

This stash of 190 pro­pa­ganda posters from World War I and World War II were found last year on top of two sawhorses in the base­ment of a Rochester, New Hamp­shire, li­brary. Frag­ile but mostly in good con­di­tion, the posters of­fer view­ers a glimpse of what life was like dur­ing war time and the ex­tent that the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment went to main­tain sup­port for the con­flict by play­ing on fear, pa­tri­o­tism and civic duty.

“Some of these are re­ally neat,” li­brary di­rec­tor Brian Sylvester said as he thumbed through the posters.

“Most of them were about sup­port­ing the mil­i­tary,” he said. “I would call that the main theme. Pa­tri­o­tism. Pur­chas­ing war bonds, grow­ing a vic­tory gar­den, be­ing in sup­port of ra­tioning all that stuff. There is a neat one that has all these pic­tures of bombs and stuff. The way the artist drew it is there is a skil­let at the top dump­ing out waste fat. That was used for mu­ni­tions.”

Sylvester said it is un­clear how the posters ended up in the li­brary’s base­ment, but the themes give some clues that they were likely there for decades. About 50 posters dat­ing back to World War I cham­pi­oned the Amer­i­can Red Cross, which kept its records at the li­brary. Dozens more pro­moted war bonds, while two dozen high­lighted a World War I pro­gram in which li­braries col­lected books to be sent to troops over­seas.


An orig­i­nal Of­fice of Price Ad­min­is­tra­tion ra­tioning poster is shown from the archive on Thurs­day at the Rochester Pub­lic Li­brary in Rochester, N. H.

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