"It's A Woman's War Too! Join the WAVES, Your Country Needs You Now" Vintage WWII Recruitment Poster by John Falter, 1932

Presented is an original WWII Navy Recruitment poster by artist John Falter, issued on June 16, 1943. The recruitment poster depicts a young woman in a U.S. Navy uniform operating a radio. The top text reads, “It’s A Woman’s War Too,” in light blue block text. At the center, the text, “Join the WAVES, Your Country Needs You Now” appears in blue and red block letters. The poster urges women to apply, with the address of a local Office of Naval procurement in Richmond, VA  printed at the bottom. 

Approved by Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) program recruited women between 18 and 36 years old, and officers between 20 and 50, to serve onshore in the continental United States. Starting in 1944, many of these women also served in Alaska and Hawaii. The aim of the program was to enlist women to clerical jobs, in effort to free up male personnel for sea duty. 

The WAVES program offered women who weren’t nurses the first chance to serve in the Navy. In addition to clerical and hospital jobs, the majority of WAVES were assigned to naval aviation units. Women maintained aircraft, tested parachutes, were domestic air traffic controllers and weather specialists, and trained men in navigation and gunnery. For a significant number of enlisted WAVES, the war provided the opportunity to work at jobs usually open only to men. During WWII, it is estimated that over 90,000 women served in the WAVES at enlisted and officer ranks. 

John Philip Falter (1910-1982) developed his artistic skills at an early age, even designing a mural for his local soda shop when still a teenager. For a few years, Falter worked as a comic strip artist on a strip entitled Down Thru the Ages, for the local Falls City Journal, in Falls City, Nebraska. He expanded his talents at the Kansas City Art Institute. After graduating, he won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York City.

Falter’s first steady job started in 1933 with Liberty Magazine. For $75 dollars a week, he was hired to create three illustrations weekly. Increasingly aware of the lucrative nature of advertisements, the artist began seeking opportunities for such work. Some of his regular advertising clients included Gulf Oil, Four Roses Whiskey, Arrow Shirts, and Pall Mall.

Falter was very busy in 1943. Following the onset of World War II, the artist enlisted in the Navy. He was promoted rapidly, while designing over 300 recruiting posters for the government. Many of them served domestic purposes and were geared toward women, like the WAVES campaign.


Good condition. Original color lithograph. Prominent center fold line due to past storage, light creasing throughout and surface dirt in the margins. The text "In Richmond Apply at Office of Naval Procurement Fifth and Cary Streets Telephone 7-2691" is pasted at the bottom of the poster. "Order No. 31" is printed in the bottom left margin. "NRB-BUPERS-36378-16 June 32-40M" is printed in the bottom right margin. Poste Dimensions: 38"H x 25 1/4"W . Sold unframed, as-is.

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