The origin of the collection is not clear. World War II posters appear to have been acquired as issued by the federal government, 1941-1945. Posters from countries other than the United States may also have been distributed from the same source.
The World War I posters, the tourist posters and the other miscellaneous posters were acquired in 1947, but whether by gift or purchase cannot be ascertained at this time.
The collection consists of posters from both World War I and World War II with a few tourist and other miscellaneous posters from the same periods. More than half of the posters are from countries other than the United States. French posters predominate, but there are also World War I and II posters from Belgium, Canada, England, and Italy, plus World War I posters from Germany and World War II posters from Czechoslovakia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and Yugoslavia. Additionally, the collection contains broadsides, banners, pamphlets, and ephemera.
The U.S. World War I posters promote recruitment, savings stamp and bond drives, patriotism, and conservation. There are also a few anti-war posters in the collection. Artists represented include James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy, Edward Penfield, Frank Brangwyn, Windsor McCay, and Joseph Pennell.
The U.S. World War II posters deal with similar themes. A significant number portray the work of women in the war effort. Prominent artists of these posters are John Steuart Curry, Norman Rockwell, Dean Cornwell, and Thomas Hart Benton.
Holdings: 1100 posters
The posters are in the process of being cataloged. There are two headings for this collection they are, World War I Poster Collection (University of Missouri–Columbia. Libraries) and World War II Poster Collection (University of Missouri–Columbia. Libraries). Photocopying is not permitted due to the size and fragility of the posters. Some World War I posters have been digitized by the Library of Congress and they are available at Library of Congress: World War I Posters. Photography can be arranged, subject to copyright restrictions; most are in the the public domain. The posters do not circulate.
The collection is available for use in the Special Collections reading room during service hours or by appointment. Appointments are preferred as advance notice may be required to locate specific materials.