"Fight or Buy Bonds" Vintage WWI Third Liberty Loan Poster by Howard Chandler Christy, 1917

This original WWI poster encourages onlookers to "Fight or Buy Bonds" and dates to 1917. Issued as part of the Third Liberty Loan run, the poster was designed by famous illustrator Howard Chandler Christy and was printed by Forbes in Boston. The poster depicts the female personification of Liberty, standing at the head of a long line of American soldiers. Liberty clenches the corner of a large American flag in one hand; the rest waves in the breeze behind her.  The poster encourages Americans to help with the war effort by either joining the military or purchasing bonds to finance the war.

Each of the four Liberty Loan campaigns (two in 1917, two in 1918) and the Victory Loan campaign of early 1919 aimed for rapid subscription in the loan and bond programs, to generate quick funding of the war effort. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty in the United States and introduced the idea of financial securities to many citizens for the first time. 

Working Americans could buy bonds in denominations of $25 to $1,000, which at the end of the war would be repaid with interest. Those who could not afford such expensive bonds, could buy war stamps in smaller denominations, to then trade in for war bonds. Consequently, there was an outpouring of poster art on both the local and national levels for these loan programs, including this particular poster.

Howard Chandler Christy (1872-1952) was an illustrator whose work appeared in countless magazines, books, and posters. Christy's subjects ranged from romantic interludes in high-society New York to historic battles on the Scottish Highlands. His female depictions became so well known that they were nicknamed "Christy Girls." Their lovely faces and forms graced magazine covers, sold Christy-style apparel, and convinced young men to join the Navy and Marines in both World Wars. Howard Chandler Christy created most of his book illustrations in the years between 1895 and 1920, after which he almost exclusively painted portraits. His posters are some of the most famous and iconic of their time. Christy's signature, printed in the lithographic stone, is visible at the bottom right of the poster.

CONDITION:

Overall very good condition. Chromolithograph. Coloring is bright.Paper is healthy, with closed tears, creases, and chipping along extremities since stabilized. Poster is linen backed and framed according to the highest conservation standards.

Framed dimensions: 33 1/2" H x 23 1/2" W x 1 1/2" D.




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