To mark the 100th anniversary of U.S. participation in World War I (April 1917 to November 2018), the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College will mount a new exhibit, World War I and the Roosevelts: Franklin and Eleanor, Family and Friends.
The exhibit features 17 rare, nearly mint condition American and European military recruitment and fundraising posters prepared by leading artists of the day who donated their services to the New York-based Committee on Public Information. On view is the work of Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Francis and Joseph Leyendecker, and Joseph Pennell, among others. They were among the 300 illustrators who contributed to the war effort with enlistment posters for the Army, Navy, and Marines, for Liberty Bond posters to pay for the war, and for Red Cross appeals for money and clothing. (The dark and violent imagery of two fierce Italian posters reflects the suffering of that nation at the hands of the Germans and Austrians before the Americans entered the war.)
These original posters are supplemented with images of the Roosevelts, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit to the battlegrounds and damaged towns of France in the summer of 1918, and of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Red Cross work. In addition, exhibit cases display original magazines with cover art by Flagg and Norman Rockwell along with Liberty Bond drive buttons, books about the war, and other wartime memorabilia. The story of one doughboy from the Bronx, Private David Moran, is told through original photographs, letters, and military insignia. He is representative of the men who served in the American forces and saved Europe from German domination. The show concludes with a sample of New York memorials to the 116,000 Americans who lost their lives in the conflict.