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World War II Posters

In World War II, the Office of War Information created posters to encourage public support of the war effort.  In this exhibit we present a selection of posters in the UCO’s Archives collection that illustrate some of the artwork and slogans that were used to achieve this aim.

World War II Posters from the Sidney C. Bray Collection

Poster image: To have and to hold--War Bonds poster

Photo: Sidney C. Bray in his World War I uniform

The World War II posters  housed in  the UCO Archives and Special Collections Department of Chambers Library were donated to the UCO Archives by Sidney C. Bray, a World War I veteran and long-time resident of Edmond.

Appointed Oklahoma’s War Finance Program Director in 1943, Bray established a state committee that enlisted  the aid of thousands of volunteers across the state to join the effort to sell war bonds to finance the United States  involvement In World War II. 

Poster Image: Americans Will Always Fight For Liberty--a1943 poster by artist Bernard Perlin for the Office of War Information.

When Sidney Bray retired as Regional Director of the U. S. Savings Bond Program in 1965, he donated his wartime collection of finance records, promotional materials, photographs and war bond posters to the UCO Archives and Special Collections Department.

Poster Image:Remember Dec. 7th!--a 1942 poster by artist Allen Saalburg  for the Office of War Information

In 1942, after the United States entry Into World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the federal government created the Office of War Information to produce informational materials, including posters, in order to promote public support for a successful war effort. 

Image: United States Air Force--a1944 poster by artist Jes Wilhelm Schlaikjer for the United States War Department

The World War II posters  in the Bray Collection focus on a variety of topics, including military  recruitment,  investment  in war bonds, civil defense, conservation and industrial  production.

Image: Bonds Build Ships! Buy More Bonds 1944 poster by artist George Pickens

World War II posters that advocated the purchase of bonds emphasized that the funds raised could be used to produce ships, planes and other essential military equipment that would help win the war.

Poster Image: United--The United Nations Fight For Freedom.

Many of America’s best artists were selected  to produce posters to produce posters to encourage people to support the war effort. 




Poster Image: Save Freedom of Speech--Buy War Bonds by Norman Rockwell.

Among these artists was Norman Rockwell.

Poster Image: Save Freedom of Worship--Buy War Bonds by Norman Rockwell.

Norman Rockwell’s  series “The Four Freedoms” war bond tour raised $132 million for the war effort.

Poster Image: Ours to Fight For--Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell.

Rockwell’s paintings were inspired by a speech to Congress by President Roosevelt on January 6, 1941.

Poster Image: Ours to Fight For--Freedom From Fear by Norman Rockwell.

Roosevelt said “We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”

These four freedoms included:   freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear   everywhere in the world.

1945 poster "Your Victory Garden" by artist Hubert Morley for the Agriculture Department, War Food Administration

The planting of “Victory”gardens was encouraged to help prevent food shortages. Americans planted millions of victory gardens during the war years and much of their produce was canned and preserved. 

Image:1943 poster "American Junior Red Cross" by artist Walter Beach Humphrey.

The Junior Red Cross began  in 1917, soon after U. S. entry  into World War I. During World War II, its 20 million members collected scrap metal and paper for military use, rolled bandages, worked in victory gardens, and sold war bonds and war stamps.

Poster image: U. S. Cadet Nurse Corps

Both military and civilian nurses were needed during World War II. The recruitment of nurses for the military resulted in a shortage of nurses in hospitals.

Image:1942 poster "Become A Nurse" for the Federal Security Agency, U. S. Public Health Service

As a result of the shortage of nurses in hospitals, the Red Cross created a Nurse’s Aid Program to enlist volunteers to assist nurses in various ways. 

Image: multiple previous posters

The many posters produced by the Office of War Information promoted public support for a successful war effort.

Image: photo of UCO Archives Department reception desk

These posters in the Sidney Bray Collection  may be seen in the UCO Archives and Special  Collections Department on the second floor north in Max Chambers Library.