Poster Children


Image result for world war 1

President Wilson’s Committee on Public Information for promoting America’s role in World War 1 was headed by George Creel, a Missouri newspaperman, who directed its 37 different divisions.  One of these, “Pictoral Publicity,” produced more than 1,000 designs for posters, cartoons and sculptures that are left for us to ponder a century later.

Image result for world war 1 posters with children

A wide variety of artists worked on the posters, many of which are stunning examples of Art Nouveau.  Hues of varying shade and intensity jump from the paper, advertising the draft, bond drives, rationing and victory gardens.

Related image

There are so many, I chose to look at some with children as their subjects.  The colors used here are soft and happy.  Messages are lighter than the rest: help Uncle Sam (whose image was just making its debut) win, ask your daddy to buy war bonds, or help our daddy “over there” by doing the same.

Image result for world war 1 posters with children

What can we learn from this artwork, emphemera of history?  Certainly the design of these and more stark examples can be studied and even admired.  But the real lesson is in their intent.  Americans must do their duty.  Americans must help.  War is necessary for the good of all.

By using childish images to persuade adults, and making appeals to the youngest of audiences, did Creel cross the line?

The children of 1917 are gone.  Their children are almost gone.  The number and kinds of media which target today’s kids have exploded.  It takes even more care now to protect young minds from things on which adults have trouble making up their own.

A grave task it is, educating others about the ploys of mass media.









Sites of Dee-light

What websites would Theodore Roosevelt be interested in if he were here today?  Taking into consideration his wide range of interests and his enthusiasm, probably a great many.  But like us, he would have favorites, and since he was fascinated with technology, they’d probably be stored on the latest laptop, I-Pad or phone.


  1.  Because he was president of the Long Island Bird Club in his later years, he might be a site administrator.
  2.  The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology (of which is an extension) gets right to the point of sharing research, and educating citizens about birds.
  3.   This organization has urged us to “explore, enjoy and protect the planet” since his friend John Muir started it in 1892.  Recent titles “The Man Who Survived a Polar Bear Attack,” and “Watching Over the World’s Forests” would catch his eye.
  4.  George Bird Grinnell, editor of Field and Stream magazine, and TR originated the Boone and Crockett Club to protect western game.  He’d spend more time hunting than reading about it, though.
  5.  The Library of Congress collections of primary sources are available within a few clicks, much faster than the couriers who used to fetch books and other materials for him.
  6.  What would he think of television?  Its best offerings on history and culture come from PBS, which was begun during Lyndon Johnson’s administration.
  7.  Working in Washington, he used to visit the Smithsonian Institution on his lunch hour.  Now much expanded, it includes the Air and Space and American Indian buildings which would especially please him.  The Museum of Natural History sponsored his his 1910 African safari and houses some of his big game animals and birds.
  8.  Political Science Quarterly is a quick drop-by for people with “a keen interest in public and foreign affairs.”
  9.  Bartleby has a wide selection to quench a thirst for reading the classics.  But I don’t believe he would use the Internet or a Kindle exclusively: he referred to books as being as “individual as friends.”  He liked turning pages.
  10.  This website provides family-friendly ideas for treks around the country; however, there is no guarantee here that they would be “point to point,” as he liked.  His family and friends knew the requirement that they must go “over or under, but never around.”
  11.  There are more areas than ever in need of reform in the 21st Century.
  12.  He may be discouraged at some of the updates on the armed forces’ official website, but he would be reading them.
  13.  Here the former police commissioner could see current challenges faced by the New York City Police Department.
  14.  The acreage of pristine forests and natural beauty we can enjoy was drastically increased during his presidency.  Theodore would be looking to see if the legacy continues.  Besides the outdoors, the National Park Service oversees homes of famous Americans, including his birthplace in downtown Manhattan.  He could help keep the information accurate and answer questions we’d all like to ask.
  15.  Theodore would peruse as many print and electronic media as possible for the news (searching for a writers like Jacob Riis), before making his mind up about the truth.