Hand crafted

This picture was tweeted by @HistoryInPictures the other day, and I thought you lot deserved to see it.

women making propaganda posters fort washington 1942

It was captioned ‘Making propaganda posters’, but I’d be surprised if that’s what’s actually going on here.  Even the British found printing posters a bit more efficient than hand-drawing each one, and this picture, a bit of internet searching tells me, was taken in Port Washington in 1942.

So what are they up to?  My money is that this is some kind of art school – they have proper desks after all – and  these women are learning graphic design.  But I am prepared to stand corrected on this one.

  • What a great photo. I wish we knew more. It appears that they are all attempting to replicate the one on the wall – which I don’t think is a printed poster.
    I know you like to see posters being consumed – that is displayed, with an audience looking on. Have you spotted this from a similar source?
    (http://greatestgeneration.tumblr.com/post/71268242287/on-the-main-floor-galleries-of-new-yorks-museum#.Uygo9t1zBb4).
    Although the caption states that visitors to the Museum of Modern Art are viewing “posters that tell them to buy war bonds and look out for the enemy” – they are in fact looking at entries for a National War Poster Competition. The exhibition was held at MoMA from November 1942 – January 1943 and then moved to the National Art Gallery in Washington DC. One of the winners – maybe the overall winner – is the one showing the vicious German officer, with a hanging man reflected in his monocle. Strangely three artists are credited for the design (by MoMA) – Karl Koehler , Victor Ancona and, presumably, his son Stephen Ancona, who was 10 years old at the time.

  • Ooh, that is a good one, thank you. I may pull that up onto the blog later this week so that everyone can see it.

    And yes, I do very much like to see posters out and about – even if these ones are to some degree in a zoo rather than roaming free on billboards. Considering that is MoMA though, some of those posters (including the putative winner) are not that visually great to my eyes. But perhaps aesthetic standards have to play second fiddle in wartime…

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