Thursday, May 28, 2015

Most extensive WWI patriotic posters collection slated for auction

A history resource article by  © 2015

As someone who appreciates history-related images, I enjoyed viewing examples of one of the most extensive collections of World War I poster art that will be coming up for auction next month. 

Examples of the diverse WWI poster collection assembled by Colonel Edward H. McCrahon.  Image courtesy of Guernsey's.

One of McCrahon's WWI bond
posters.  Image courtesy of
Guernsey's Auction House.
On June 23-24, 2015 New York City-based auction house Guernsey’s will be conducting an unreserved auction of patriotic posters relating to World War I. Roughly half of the approximately 2,000 posters are from the United States, with the balance reflecting the many different nations involved in the Great War. The auction will be held on
The collection was assembled by Brooklyn-born Edward H. McCrahon who was so passionate in his defense of the Allied nations that he joined the French Army two years prior to the United States entering the war. Once the U.S. became involved, McCrahon returned home, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and rose to the rank of Colonel. However, it was during his stint in France when he first became riveted by the compelling graphics of war poster art.  
At the conclusion of the war, McCrahon devoted his energies towards assembling what is ultimately recognized as the most extensive collection of war posters known to exist. By the mid-1930s – after 16 years of collecting – the McCrahon Collection was widely exhibited and acknowledged in countless print articles, and even in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, as the very finest collection of its type.  
The Colonel McCrahon Collection reflects true international flavor of the war, as numerous countries and their respective languages were used to inform and motivate the civilian public during this time of great crisis. (Of note are the many foreign language posters printed here in the United States that functioned as outreach to the large clusters of immigrants in cities such as New York.) Although all are patriotic at their roots, this Collection features posters that cover fundraising, food rationing, enlistment, women’s war efforts, and animal aid. Many of the posters collected by Col. McCrahon are the only known copies  to exist today.  

An example of a WWI French language poster printed in
the United States.  Image courtesy of Guernsey's Auction
Guernsey's auction company has specialized in history-related artifacts and memorabilia for 40 years. The John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Princess Diana, Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, John Coltrane, Dick Clark, Mickey Mantle and The Beatles events were all conducted by Guernsey's.  

Guernsey’s has worked with the Library of Congress in the preservation of the complete Rosa Parks Archive. It has also handled the sale of the Holocaust-related poster collection of Dr. Hans Sachs. Other upcoming sales in 2015 include the Urban Archaeology Collection, Historic Artifacts from the Kennedy White House, Atocha Undersea Treasures, and a recently-discovered work by Pablo Picasso  

I found a really interesting website with information about WWI & II artists who produced posters like these as well as images of combat as many of them also served in the military:

World War Pictures: Posters, Photos, Poets and Artists