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Guide to the Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection
MSS-2010-02-02  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Project Information
  • Collection Description
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Subject Headings

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection
    Dates: 1914-1979
    Bulk Dates: 1914-1945
    Collection number: MSS-2010-02-02
    Collector: Burdick, Charles Burton, 1927-1998
    Collection Size: 122 Folders, 1,452 Posters
    Repository: San José State University. Library.
    San José, California 95192-0028
    Abstract: The Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection 1914-1979 (bulk 1914-1945) is a graphic art collection of posters documenting World War I and World War II. The collection consists of over 1,400 posters created by both the United States and foreign nations. War posters were used as propaganda to sell the war to the American public. The posters generally defined war as a struggle between good and evil, and featured the sale of liberty bonds to protect American democracy. A broad range of topics are represented in the collection, including war bonds, civilian employment, women's service in the military, food rationing, and fire prevention. The collection also includes posters documenting political subject matter from the 1930s-1970s. This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. World War I Posters, 1914-1918; Series II. World War II Posters, 1939-1945; and Series III. Political Posters, 1930s-1970s.
    Physical location: Posters are located in flat file drawers 1-01 through 2-10 in Vault 1.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English, Filipino, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

    Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection, MSS-2010-02-02, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Robert Donahue. Finding aid EAD encoded by Rosalinda Gonzales. Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008.The Project Director is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.

    Collection Description

    Between World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), the U.S. government used propaganda through the mass production of war posters, pamphlets, billboards, advertisements, and film to foster broad-based support of the two wars. In World War I, the Committee on Public Information (CPI) was organized to shape public opinion in favor of U.S. war aims. Civilian chairman, journalist George Creel, enlisted the creative talent of over 150,000 people to produce over 100 million pieces of literature and visual materials in order to explain the meaning and cause of the war to the American public. During World II, the War Advertising Council (WAC) produced a similar volume of war propaganda materials.
    The U.S. government used propaganda posters as a powerful mass communication tool to build support for the war effort. Throughout both wars, posters were created to boost morale, increase patriotic sentiment, promote the purchase of war bonds, offer guidelines for food rationing, and promote civilian and military war work, while demonizing countries such as Germany, Japan, Spain, and Italy. Various government agencies worked closely with private organizations such as the YWCA and the Red Cross to produce a variety of posters that supported the war, and specifically targeted women to conserve, to work in war industries, and to consider military service.
    Included in this collection are posters that depict the aggression of the Germans against the vulnerability of neighboring countries, such as the experience of Belgium. One such example graphically projects the imagery of the Belgium people victimized by the Germans as invading Huns. In WWII, both the United States and England also utilized the "First to Fight" poster campaign to portray the Germans and the Japanese in an unfavorable light. Many of these posters used less offensive techniques to engender support from American women by targeting their responsibilities as patriots through military service as WAVES, WACS, and as Red Cross nurses, while the iconic image of "Rosie the Riveter" and slogans like "Yes We Can!" encouraged both married and single women to enter the workforce in unprecedented numbers.

    Bibliography

    Bird, William L. Design for Victory: World War II Posters on the American Home Front. 1st ed. Rubenstein, Harry R. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.
    Paret, Peter. Persuasive Images: Posters of War and Revolution from the Hoover Institution Archives. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992.
    Price, Sean. The Art of War: the Posters of World War II. Chicago: Raintree, 2009.

    Scope and Content

    The Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection 1914-1979 (bulk 1914-1945) is a graphic art collection of posters documenting World War I and World War II. The collection consists of over 1,400 posters created by both the United States and foreign nations. War posters were used as propaganda to sell the war to the American public. The posters generally defined war as a struggle between good and evil, and featured the sale of liberty bonds to protect American democracy. A broad range of topics are represented in the collection, including war bonds, civilian employment, women's service in the military, food rationing, and fire prevention The collection also includes posters documenting political subject matter from the 1930s-1970s.

    Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. World War I Posters, 1914-1918; Series II. World War II Posters, 1939-1945; and Series III. Political Posters, 1930s-1970s.

    Subject Headings

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    World War, 1914-1918 -- History
    World War, 1939-1945 -- History
    World War, 1914-1918 -- Posters
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Posters
    World War, 1914-1918 -- United States
    World War, 1914-1918 -- United States -- Posters
    World War, 1939-1945 -- United States
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Finance -- United States
    World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Posters
    World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Propaganda
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- United States
    World War, 1939-1945 -- War Work -- United States
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Food Supply -- United States
    United States -- Naval Reserve -- Women's Reserve
    United States -- Office of Civilian Defense
    United States -- Office of War Information
    United States -- War Food Administration
    United States -- War Manpower Commission
    Creel, George, 1876-1953
    Committee on Public Information -- United States