"First in France. U.S. Marines" WWI Recruitment Poster, circa 1917-18

Presented is an original WWI recruitment poster for the U.S. Marines, printed between 1917 and 1918. Illustrated by John A. Goughlin, the image shows a United States Marine charging a battlefield with a portable rocket launcher, which was new technology for the time. Behind him are additional soldiers, one of whom is carrying the American flag. The red and blue text "First in France" and "U.S. Marines" is printed at top and bottom of the image.  The enlistment address is printed in blue text at bottom: "Enlist at 22 Tremont Row, Boston, Mass." 

Until the advent of the Cold War in the 1950s, America traditionally maintained a relatively small standing army. Whenever war broke out, it was necessary for the country to mobilize—to recruit troops, to train them, and to produce the arms, equipment, and supplies needed to fight. When Congress and the President declared war on Germany in April of 1917, this mobilization took on extreme urgency. The government’s overarching goal was to persuade a traditionally isolationist American populace to invest and support the European war effort. They needed support both financially, through the purchase of war bonds and rationing, and emotionally, through volunteer service and displays of patriotism.

New government organizations, especially the Committee on Public Information, were tasked with putting out a singular patriotic message, achieved primarily through posters and printed pamphlets. The United States alone produced about 2,500 poster designs and approximately 20 million posters, nearly 1 for every 4 citizens, in little more than 2 years.


Poster is in good condition with strong color. Poster has been archivally stabilized and back on linen. Original fold lines visible. Poster has been archivally framed in a custom-built black wooden frame with acid-free dark grey top mat. Framed dimensions: 34"H x 26"W x 1 1/2"D.  

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