Seven days after America entered the war, President Woodrow Wilson issued Executive Order 2594, creating the Committee on Public Information. Led by George E. Creel, the Committee recruited thousands of artists, writers, historians, and salespeople to convince citizens that the war did not belong only to an administration but to the entire country—and the world. United by a singular goal, volunteers utilized their art to communicate the message of patriotism through public speeches, radio, telegraph, print, and movies. This exhibit’s posters represent only a fraction of the artwork produced throughout the Committee’s tenure, but exemplify what happens when words and imagery are skillfully and intentionally combined—of advertising that works. After all, it was Creel himself who said: “In all things, from first to last, without halt or change, it [Committee on Public Information] was a plain publicity proposition, a vast enterprise in salesmanship, the world’s greatest adventure in advertising.” Their adventure succeeded. The Committee’s influence shaped homefront efforts—from Victory Gardens to food conservation and goal-breaking bond drives, the Committee on Public Information spurred Americans to take action.

Images from this gallery appeared in the exhibit Selling the War: Posters from WWI.