"Beans are Bullets" and "Of Course I Can!" Exhibiting War-Era Posters from the Collection of the National Agriculture Library
Bernat, Cory A.
Freund, David M
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An exhibit of food and agriculture posters in the Special Collection of the National Agriculture Library will display posters from World Wars I and II side by side. What did these messages look like and how did they change over time? Public servants produced the earlier WWI posters to reflect "reason-why" approaches to mass communication. During WWII, the Advertising Council's business-minded admen produced posters with their techniques for modern advertising and mass persuasion. Poster text shortened, the tone lightened and images were more frequent and splashier. This collection of posters bears witness to the professionalization and rising influence of the advertising industry in the 1920s and 30s, and reveals the agendas of the creators and their assumptions about homefront populations. The posters raise questions about the sources and ambitions of government sponsored messages designed to encourage cooperation with war efforts and modify homefront behavior.