World War I printed media and art
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
World War I, or the Great War, took place from 1914 to 1918, following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and involved all but twenty countries across the globe, resulting in more than 16 million soldiers and civilians dying. As a total war, this war affected nearly half the population of the world and food shortages as well as destruction of farms, homes, factories, and towns resulted in direct contact with World War I by civilians, as well as the estimated 65 million soldiers who served.
This collection provides a variety of perspectives on World War I: from propaganda aimed at soldiers and civilians, to pleas for financial support from citizens, to orders and requirements from governments, to enlistment posters, to the need to document the experience, to the effort to find humor in a dire and desperate world.
The World War I Printed Media and Art Collection contains over one thousand prints, propaganda posters, postcards, trench newspapers, maps, broadsides and original artworks dating from 1914 to 1931 and offers an enormous range of perspectives on the First World War.
Popular art in the form of prints, postcards and several original cartoons by over fifty different artists forms the base of the collection. Printed publications include pamphlets, periodicals and over one hundred trench newspapers. Government and military broadsides from France and Belgium reveal a story of struggle and occupation, while propaganda posters from four nations tell an official narrative of war through one of history's largest public information campaigns. Though primarily French, the collection also includes materials from Belgium, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
This collection is organized into seven series: Broadsides, Prints, Posters, Postcards, Trench papers, Original art, and maps. Further information about each series can be found within the container list.
The collection owes some of its most important pieces to Captain R. Norris Williams II, whose wife donated his collection of World War I books, documents, and ephemera to the library in 1987. Most of the four hundred and fifty postcards in the collection were a gift of the Houston family as part of the estate of Mrs. Eleanor Houston Smith.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Holly Mengel (collection processed prior to 2013)
- Finding Aid Date
- 2020 December 10
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.