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Wartime Posters collection

Identifier: Coll 467

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises more than 550 propagandistic and informational posters created during various conflicts, primarily World War I and World War II. Posters within the collection cover a wide range of war-related themes such as conservation, production, recruitment, and patriotism. Individual posters range in size from small leaflets and magazine covers, to larger banners and posters several square feet in size.

Series I comprises all posters in the collection produced during World War I, between the years 1914 and 1918. Posters in this series were created by the governments of Canada, France, Great Britain, and the United States of America. Many of the aforementioned themes are covered in this series. The United States portion of this series accounts for nearly half of the overall Wartime Posters collection.

Series II is comprised of posters produced during World War II, between the years 1940 and 1945. Posters in this series were created primarily by members of the Allied Powers, although there are a few posters created for German-occupied states. The majority of the posters in this series were created by the United States government.

Series III includes a selection of posters printed during other wars, such as the Korean War, or printed outside of wartime but still reflecting the familiar themes of recruitment or patriotism.

Series IV comprises over 100 magazine covers printed during June and July of 1944. All of the magazine covers encourage readers to purchase war bonds to aid the United States war effort. Many of the magazine covers have an image of a war bond overlaying the artwork, while others have war bonds incorporated into the artwork itself.


  • 1914-1953

Language of Materials

Collection includes materials in English, French, German, Russian, and Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

This artificial collection, spanning both World Wars, and several other conflicts as well, illustrates the uses to which print media was put in the war effort.

Along with radio and film, propaganda posters like the ones found in this collection were used by the governments of combatant nations - and charitable organizations such as the Red Cross - to encourage the public to conserve resources, purchase war bonds and stamps, enlist in the armed forces, and donate money, goods, or time to the war effort.

Often designed by leading artists of the time, the language and imagery in each poster combine to create persuasive emotional responses, and suggest the appropriate action or remedy. Morever, the posters in this collection document the changes, both social and economic, that resulted from these conflicts (e.g. the role of women, new technologies, etc.).


16 linear feet (23 containers) : 22 oversize folders, 1 box


This artificial collection comprises propaganda posters and magazine covers, created primarily during World War I and World War II.


Collection is organized first by conflict, then by country of origin/publication, and then by theme (e.g. advertisements, patriotism, recruitment, etc.).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Thomas Beech, 2015-2016.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Wartime Posters Collection
Complete Description
Rachel Lilley and Thomas Beech
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA