Guide to the Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection

SJSU Library Special Collections & Archives
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028
Phone: (408) 808-2062
Fax: (408) 808-2063
Email: special.collections@sjsu.edu
URL: http://library.sjsu.edu/sjsu-special-collections/sjsu-special-collections-and-archives
© 2010
Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection

Collection number: MSS-2010-02-02

SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
San José State University
One Washington Square
San José, CA 95192-0028
Phone: (408) 808-2062
Fax: (408) 808-2063
Email: special.collections@sjsu.edu
URL: http://library.sjsu.edu/sjsu-special-collections/sjsu-special-collections-and-archives


Finding aid funded by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Processed by:
Robert Donahue
Date Completed:
2010
Encoded by:
Rosalinda Gonzales
© 2010 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection
Dates: 1914-1979
Bulk Dates: 1914-1945
Collection number: MSS-2010-02-02
Collector: Burdick, Charles Burton, 1927-1998
Collection Size: 122 Folders, 1,452 Posters
Repository: San José State University. Library.
San José, California 95192-0028
Abstract: The Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection 1914-1979 (bulk 1914-1945) is a graphic art collection of posters documenting World War I and World War II. The collection consists of over 1,400 posters created by both the United States and foreign nations. War posters were used as propaganda to sell the war to the American public. The posters generally defined war as a struggle between good and evil, and featured the sale of liberty bonds to protect American democracy. A broad range of topics are represented in the collection, including war bonds, civilian employment, women's service in the military, food rationing, and fire prevention. The collection also includes posters documenting political subject matter from the 1930s-1970s. This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. World War I Posters, 1914-1918; Series II. World War II Posters, 1939-1945; and Series III. Political Posters, 1930s-1970s.
Physical location: Posters are located in flat file drawers 1-01 through 2-10 in Vault 1.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English, Filipino, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright is assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection, MSS-2010-02-02, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Robert Donahue. Finding aid EAD encoded by Rosalinda Gonzales. Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen.

Project Information

This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008.The Project Director is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.

Collection Description

Between World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), the U.S. government used propaganda through the mass production of war posters, pamphlets, billboards, advertisements, and film to foster broad-based support of the two wars. In World War I, the Committee on Public Information (CPI) was organized to shape public opinion in favor of U.S. war aims. Civilian chairman, journalist George Creel, enlisted the creative talent of over 150,000 people to produce over 100 million pieces of literature and visual materials in order to explain the meaning and cause of the war to the American public. During World II, the War Advertising Council (WAC) produced a similar volume of war propaganda materials.
The U.S. government used propaganda posters as a powerful mass communication tool to build support for the war effort. Throughout both wars, posters were created to boost morale, increase patriotic sentiment, promote the purchase of war bonds, offer guidelines for food rationing, and promote civilian and military war work, while demonizing countries such as Germany, Japan, Spain, and Italy. Various government agencies worked closely with private organizations such as the YWCA and the Red Cross to produce a variety of posters that supported the war, and specifically targeted women to conserve, to work in war industries, and to consider military service.
Included in this collection are posters that depict the aggression of the Germans against the vulnerability of neighboring countries, such as the experience of Belgium. One such example graphically projects the imagery of the Belgium people victimized by the Germans as invading Huns. In WWII, both the United States and England also utilized the "First to Fight" poster campaign to portray the Germans and the Japanese in an unfavorable light. Many of these posters used less offensive techniques to engender support from American women by targeting their responsibilities as patriots through military service as WAVES, WACS, and as Red Cross nurses, while the iconic image of "Rosie the Riveter" and slogans like "Yes We Can!" encouraged both married and single women to enter the workforce in unprecedented numbers.

Bibliography

Bird, William L. Design for Victory: World War II Posters on the American Home Front. 1st ed. Rubenstein, Harry R. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998.
Paret, Peter. Persuasive Images: Posters of War and Revolution from the Hoover Institution Archives. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992.
Price, Sean. The Art of War: the Posters of World War II. Chicago: Raintree, 2009.

Scope and Content

The Charles B. Burdick War Poster Collection 1914-1979 (bulk 1914-1945) is a graphic art collection of posters documenting World War I and World War II. The collection consists of over 1,400 posters created by both the United States and foreign nations. War posters were used as propaganda to sell the war to the American public. The posters generally defined war as a struggle between good and evil, and featured the sale of liberty bonds to protect American democracy. A broad range of topics are represented in the collection, including war bonds, civilian employment, women's service in the military, food rationing, and fire prevention The collection also includes posters documenting political subject matter from the 1930s-1970s.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. World War I Posters, 1914-1918; Series II. World War II Posters, 1939-1945; and Series III. Political Posters, 1930s-1970s.

Subject Headings

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
World War, 1914-1918 -- History
World War, 1939-1945 -- History
World War, 1914-1918 -- Posters
World War, 1939-1945 -- Posters
World War, 1914-1918 -- United States
World War, 1914-1918 -- United States -- Posters
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States
World War, 1939-1945 -- Finance -- United States
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Posters
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States -- Propaganda
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- United States
World War, 1939-1945 -- War Work -- United States
World War, 1939-1945 -- Food Supply -- United States
United States -- Naval Reserve -- Women's Reserve
United States -- Office of Civilian Defense
United States -- Office of War Information
United States -- War Food Administration
United States -- War Manpower Commission
Creel, George, 1876-1953
Committee on Public Information -- United States


Collection Contents

 

Series I:  World War I Posters 1914-1918

Physical Description: 86 Folders, 991 Posters

Series Scope and Content Summary

The material in this series consists of poster campaigns for the U.S. and foreign nations involved in World War I. The bulk of the series documents propaganda in the U.S., France, and Great Britain, but include smaller representations from Canada, Germany, Poland, and Russia. A broad range of topics are represented in this series, including war bonds, civilian employment, food rationing, military enlistment, and conservation of specific resources, such as oil and rubber.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by country. Posters are located in flat file drawers 1-01 through 1-12 in Vault 1.
 

Folder 1-2  Canada

Physical Description: 2 Posters
 

Folder 3-24  France

Physical Description: 313 Posters
 

Folder 25-29  Germany

Physical Description: 50 Posters
 

Folder 30-37  Great Britain

Physical Description: 63 Posters
 

Folder 38  Poland

Physical Description: 12 Posters
 

Folder 39  Russia

Physical Description: 5 Posters
 

Folder 40-85  United States of America

Physical Description: 531 Posters
 

Folder 86  U.S.: Women's Posters

Physical Description: 15 Posters
 

Series II:  World War II Posters 1939-1945

Physical Description: 41 Folders, 361 Posters

Series Scope and Content Summary

The material in this series documents poster campaigns for several countries involved in World War II. The bulk of the series documents U.S. propaganda campaigns, but includes examples from Belgium, Great Britain, Canada, Hungary, the Philippines, and the USSR (Russia). A broad range of topics are represented in this series, including war bonds, civilan employment, women's service in the military, food rationing, conservation of natural resources, and fire prevention.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by country. Posters are located in flat files drawers 1-13 and 2-05 through 2-08 in Vault 1.
 

Folder 87  Belgium

Physical Description: 1 Poster
 

Folder 88  Canada

Physical Description: 6 Posters
 

Folder 89-92  Great Britain

Physical Description: 21 Posters
 

Folder 93  Great Britain: Women's Posters

Physical Description: 6 Posters
 

Folder 94  Hungary

Physical Description: 1 Poster
 

Folder 95  Philippines

Physical Description: 2 Posters
 

Folder 96  Spain

Physical Description: 1 Poster
 

Folder 97  USSR (Russia)

Physical Description: 3 Posters
 

Folder 98-126  United States of America

Physical Description: 297 Posters
 

Folder 127  U.S.: Women's Posters

Physical Description: 23 Posters
 

Series III:  Political Posters 1930-1979

Physical Description: 10 Folders, 100 Posters

Series Scope and Content Summary

The material in this series consists of various poster campaigns from Great Britain, Cuba, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and the USSR (Russia) promoting specific political parties, figures and national ideologies.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by country. Posters are located in flat file drawers 2-09 through 2-10 in Vault 1.
 

Folder 128  Cuba

Physical Description: 2 Posters
 

Folder 129  Germany

Physical Description: 13 Posters
 

Folder 130-131  Great Britain

Physical Description: 32 Posters
 

Folder 132  Hungary

Physical Description: 1 Poster
 

Folder 133   Sweden

Physical Description: 1 Poster
 

Folder 134-137  USSR (Russia)

Physical Description: 51 Posters