Columbia Calls / Enlist Now for U.S. Army Vintage WWI Poster by Frances Adams Halstead, Circa 1916

Presented is an original World War I poster by Frances Adams Halstead from 1916. The poster features a depiction of figure "Columbia" holding a large American flag as she stands atop a globe. The figure is set against a light blue background with text reading "Columbia Calls" above in yellow and "Enlist now for U.S. Army below in black bold letters.

This recruitment poster shows the symbolic figure Columbia in center. Columbia was a poetic name for the female personification of the United States, or sometimes even The New World according to Europeans. Frances Adams Halstead designed both the poster itself and the poem that accompanies it. By 1916 Halstead was convinced that war between Germany and the United States was inevitable. After the U.S. entered into the war in 1917, the U.S. Department of War purchased 500,000 of Halstead’s poster. Halstead pledged the proceeds of the sale to an established home for orphaned children and American soldiers. Italian-American artist Vincent Aderente produced the illustration for the piece in accordance with Halstead's design.

The poster features Halstead's original poem in the lower right hand corner of the composition. At the top of the poem is a very small swastika symbol. Prior to the Nazi’s party adoption of the symbol in 1920, the swastika was actually used to represent good luck and success. Swastika, a Sanskrit word, literally translates to “good to be.” The symbol is small, but it is associated with good luck and fortune as the poster was completed years before Nazi Germany of WWII.

Here, the allegorical figure of Columbia inspires a sense of encouragement to men willing and able to join the war effort. As was common in a great deal of WWI posters, women were used as symbols to inspire confidence in a country's military power. Women as allegorical symbols often evoked a sense of liberty, victory, and pride. In this poster, Columbia is dressed in traditional Roman attire and holds a very large American flag to beckon young men to action.


This vintage poster from 1916 is in very good condition for its age. The poster does not display significant tears or stains. Poster has been archivally framed in a custom black and gold frame according to the highest conservation standards.

Framed dimensions:  44" H x 33.5" W x 2.0" D

Related Items

Subscribe and save!

Sign up for our emails to receive exclusive flash sales! Get 50% off list price of incredible pieces, only offered to our subscribers.