Special Collections’ holdings of over a thousand posters document war and anti-war efforts in the United States, France, and Germany during World Wars I and II. More than half the collections are from countries other than the United States, mainly from France and other Allied nations. Artists represented include James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy, Edward Penfield, Frank Brangwyn, Windsor McCay, and Joseph Pennell. In addition to posters, Special Collections additionally holds bulletins, circulars, general letters, and specialized publications from the Council of National Defense as well as other broadsides, banners, pamphlets, and ephemera.
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.
How to Use the Collection
The collection is available to all users in the Special Collections Reading Room (room 401) during regular hours. Materials do not circulate. Rare books may be used in the Special Collections Reading Room during service hours or by appointment.
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.