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Calling Every Man, Woman and Child!: American World War I Posters

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Poster: Clear-The-Way!! Buy Bonds - Fourth Liberty Loan

1918
30 x 20 in. (76.2 x 50.8 cm)

Howard Chandler Christy
American (Morgan County, OH, 1873 - 1952, New York, NY)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Color lithograph
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. E. Henry Keutmann
Accession Number: 1973.180
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

The Christy Girl-part goddess, part girl-next-door-was a popular figure created by illustrator Howard Chandler Christy. In his war posters, the artist often used the Christy Girl, plus a heady dose of sex appeal, to convey the message "real men go to war."

In Clear-The-Way!! Columbia wears an alluring, diaphanous white dress as she presides over muscled, testosterone-fueled soldiers manning guns on a ship. The contradiction is palpable; Columbia calls the virile soldiers to war as her soft lines and open mouth beckon to the viewer.

[Gallery label text, 2006]

Printed by Forbes, Boston.

Bibliography
For general references, see "War Poster Collections: Strong, Garrett, Taber, Fisk, Wright, Turnbull, McClenahan [and] Miscellaneous Collections," Princteon, NJ: Princeton University Library, 1919, cat. no. Strong BFA2834, p. 107; George Theofiles, "American Posters of World War I," New York: Dafran House Publishers, Inc., 1973, fig. 167, p. 124; "Posters of World War I and World War II in the George C. Marshall Research Foundation," Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 1979, cat. no. 128; Walton Rawls, “Wake up, America!: World War I and the American poster," New York : Abbeville Press, 1988, pp. 204-205.

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