Historical Society of Pennsylvania World War II propaganda collection

Collection 3335

(0.6 Linear feet ; 2 boxes, 18 folders)

Summary Information

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania World War II propaganda collection
0.6 Linear feet ; 2 boxes, 18 folders
Finding aid prepared by Cary Majewicz
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Randall M. Miller.
Graphic materials [Box]

Preferred Citation note

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], HSP World War II propaganda collection (Collection 3335), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Contents note

HSP's collection of World War II propaganda offers a glimpse into the visual world associated with the home front during the late 1930s to the mid 1940s. It is mainly comprised of posters, magazine advertisements, flyers, and pamphlets from a variety of governmental and nongovernmental agencies. The vast majority of the items focus on the European war and, with the exception of some of the war bond ads, make little mention of the Pacific conflict. The collection has been inventoried alphabetically by subject. Large materials have been placed into fourteen folders in a flat box (Box 1), while small materials take up four folders in a small document box (Box 2). Most items are in their original forms, though a few posters have been mounted onto cardboard.

Making up a significant portion of the collection are two folders of war bond posters and advertisements from the Victory Fund Committee and other agencies (Box 1, Folders 13-14). Box 1, Folder 11 contains recruiting posters from the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Women's Reserve ("Spars"), Marine Corps, Marine Corps Women's Reserve, Army, Navy, WAVES, and Air Corps. Items associated with the Seabees, some of which deal with recruitment, have been placed in Box 1, Folder 12. Recruitment posters and ads for U.S. Civil Service Commission and other civil service jobs targeting both women and men can be found in Box 1, Folder 3. There are Office of War Information posters warning against spreading rumors or giving information to the enemy in Box 1, Folder 2. The collection also includes a few British war propaganda posters, posters warning against forest fires (Box 1, Folder 1), and a series of Esso ads featuring "Famous gremlins you should know" (Box 2, Folder 3). Additionally, there are a number of unique items, including examples of V-mail (Box 1, Folder 8), Christmas cards (Box 2, Folder 2), and a few hand-painted placards.

Throughout the collection, researchers will find items from public agencies such as the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, Railroad Manpower Mobilization Committee, War Food Administration, Federal Housing Administration, Social Security Board, U.S. Employment Service, Internal Revenue Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy Scouts of America, and Children's Bureau Commission on Children in Wartime. There are also a few posters from private companies such as F. W. Woolworth. A few items originated in Philadelphia offices, but most were printed and distributed by the national government.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; 2011

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.


This is an artificial collection created over time by HSP staff mostly through donations and purchases of individual images or groups of items.

Return to Table of Contents »

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Historical Society of Pennsylvania war posters collection (Collection V95)

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Army Ordnance Association (U.S.) .


  • V-Mail.


  • Hitler, Adolf, 1889-1945--Caricatures and cartoons.
  • National security--1939-1945--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • Patriotism--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • Savings bonds--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • United States--Office of War Information--Division of Public Inquiries.
  • War posters, American--1939-1945--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Economic aspects--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Food supply--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Civilian--United States--Poster--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Propaganda--Posters--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Social aspects--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--United States--Posters--Specimens.
  • World War, 1939-1945--War work--United States--Posters--Specimens.

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Accidents/Forest fires 

1 1

Return to Table of Contents »


2 1

Return to Table of Contents »


1 2

Return to Table of Contents »

Christmas cards 

2 2

Return to Table of Contents »

Civil Service 

1 3

Return to Table of Contents »


1 4

Return to Table of Contents »


2 3

Return to Table of Contents »


1 5

Return to Table of Contents »


1 6

Return to Table of Contents »


1 7

Return to Table of Contents »


1 8

Return to Table of Contents »


1 9

Return to Table of Contents »

Ordnance Department 

2 4

Return to Table of Contents »


1 10

Return to Table of Contents »


1 11

Return to Table of Contents »


1 12

Return to Table of Contents »

War bonds 

1 13-14

Return to Table of Contents »