The State of Delaware maintains an extensive collection of World War I era objects under the stewardship of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. The World War I collection consists of military gear, uniforms, medals, Red Cross related items including attire, personal letters, postcards, books, photographs, advertisements and sound recordings.
The collection also includes 27 World War I propaganda posters that were artfully designed to encourage Americans to support and participate in the Great War. The vibrant colors and details utilized on each poster were meant to convey the American patriotic spirit. Because the posters are fragile and light sensitive, they require specialized handling and storage to ensure the best museum standard of care. This fragility limits visitors and researchers from being able to view these unframed works of art.
To allow a larger audience to see and to enjoy the World War I posters in the state’s collections, the concept of this online exhibit, Drawing America to Victory: The Persuasive Power of the Arts in World War I, was developed. This online exhibit was not intended to document the entire history of the Great War. Rather, it highlights the war efforts in the United States and the persuasive power of the propaganda posters that indeed served to energize Americans.
Drawing America to Victory's themes are derived from the topics presented through the graphics and wording on the propaganda posters. The online exhibit also includes selected World War I era objects from the State’s collection as a means of emphasizing the social and economic conditions at the time of the Great War.
All objects viewed in this online exhibit, unless otherwise noted, are from the collections of the State of Delaware, administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.