Object of the Month

Women and War

Joan of Arc Saved France.
Poster image by Haskell Coffin.
United States War Savings Stamps poster, 1918.
20 x 30 inches.

With this now-famous image, graphic artist Haskell Coffin urged "Women of America [to] Save Your Country," just as Joan of Arc had saved France. The role of women as participants, observers, victims, and protestors of the wars of America from the colonial period into the 20th century is well documented in letters, diaries, published accounts, engravings, portraits, photographs, artifacts, and posters in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The MHS holds more than 250 World War I posters, many given by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, who was the president of the Society (1915–1924) while he represented Massachusetts in Congress. In the MHS collection, "posters"—pictorial notices intended to be posted to advertise or promote an activity, product, or cause—are described as works of art, while single-sheet notices or advertisements that are chiefly textual (often printed from type) are described as "broadsides".


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