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Library News: The Winds and Words of War Exhibit

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is hosting a traveling exhibition of World War I (1914-1918) posters titled, The Winds and Words of War, a commemorative collection held by the San Antonio Public Library. The exhibit is on view through March 15, 2009, in the Gallery located on the second level of Main Library, 325 Michigan St.

The exhibit debuted last fall by the San Antonio Public Library and Foundation to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day with original World War I posters not seen on public display since 1933. The exhibit then traveled to the Chicago Public Library, and Toledo marks the second venue of the show.

After Toledo, the exhibit is scheduled to travel to four other public libraries and Sarah Lawrence College in New York, ending in 2011.

Bequeathed to the San Antonio Library by eclectic collector Harry Hertzberg, the collection includes 40 framed vintage posters designed by leading artists of the day to assist in the war effort. Prompted by President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Office of Public Information formed a committee chaired by renowned illustrator Charles Dana Gibson to create a line of posters to mobilize the American public on behalf of the war. Members of the committee included Haskill Coffin, Howard Chandler Christy, and the creator of “Uncle Sam Wants You,” James Montgomery Flagg.

These unique lithographs feature famous images of patriotic themes and messages, including several created for international groups interested in supporting the war by cultivating recent immigrants and new American citizens. The words and text used, as well as the imagery, convey the sense of urgency, as well as the mass marketing effect of advertising a war for the first time in modern history.

These works, which convey themes of patriotism, gender and race, provide a fascinating window into the era and the beginnings of the American effort in support of the war known variously as the “Great War,” “the war to end all wars,“ and “the war to make the world safe for democracy.”

The traveling Winds and Words of War exhibit is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stumberg Foundation, the Tobin Endowment, the City of San Antonio Veteran’s Affairs Commission, the San Antonio Public Library, and the San Antonio Public Library Foundation.

For more details, call 419.259.5207.






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