Oh Boy! You Certainly Made Good! Vintage WWI Poster, Circa 1918

Presented is a vintage WWI poster published in 1918 by the United Cigar Stores Co. The poster depicts a soldier in uniform, arm in arm with Father Knickerbocker and Uncle Sam who are jumping for joy and waving their hats in the air. The poster reads: “Oh, Boy! You Certainly Made Good!” in red and black block letters, partially underlined for emphasis.

The war ushered in the biggest advertising campaign to date, critical to the wartime communication needs of every combatant: from raising money, recruiting soldiers and boosting volunteer efforts, to spurring production and provoking outrage at enemy atrocities. The stark, colorful graphic designs, created by some of the nation’s leading artists, elicited strong emotions. The posters played to the fears, frustrations, and faith in freedoms that lingered in people's minds during the war. The United States Government alone produced about 2,500 poster designs and approximately 20 million posters, nearly 1 for every 4 citizens, in little more than 2 years.

Local stores and national companies also took part in the fundraising and recruiting efforts. The United Cigar Stores Company hosted many recruiting events and published several posters throughout the course of the Great War. On the day of the “Wake Up America” parade in New York City on April 1, 1917, the United Cigar Stores Company turned their Flatiron Building store into a U.S. Navy recruiting station.

Color lithograph. In good condition. Color still vibrant, with only minimal toning to paper. Faint creases visible, mostly in lower left corner. Unframed and sold as-is. Unframed Size: 32" H x 19 1/2" W

This poster was part of the Colonel Edward McCrahon Poster Collection. In 1919, during the final stage of World War I, Colonel Edward H. McCrahon found himself in the devastated French village of Mieux. Among the war-scarred buildings, he came upon a Howard Chandler Christy poster nailed to a door depicting a smiling woman in a navy blue suit declaring, "Yes, I wish I was a man, I'd join the Navy." McCrahon decided to take the poster as a souvenir and continued to collect more World War I posters over the next 16 years.

By 1935 he had obtained thousands, making his Collection one of the largest privately-owned World War 1 poster collections in America. As his Collection increased, he started to expand his scope, including prints from all the major nations in the war, both Allied and Central Powers. McCrahon would frequent antique shops and bookstores, searching for forgotten posters. He even went so far as to advertise in local newspapers. After 16 years compiling his Collection, Colonel McCrahon, along with his wife, made selected pieces of their poster collection public, exhibiting them in galleries, libraries, schools such as Middlebury College, and veteran groups such as the National Recovery Administration.

This specific poster is part of this amazing collection and was obtained via the McCrahon estate sale, in 2015.

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