"We Clear the Way for Your Fighting Dollars" WWI Fourth Liberty Loan Poster by Scott Ethridge

This WWI poster features a US sailor after disembarking from a ship and ready for battle. In the background are powerful warships setting the scene. Below the depiction reads, “We Clear the Way for Your Fighting Dollars” and “Buy 4th Liberty Loan U.S. Government Bonds.” Designed by Scott Ethridge, the poster was printed in 1918 to advertise the fourth Liberty Loan and raise money for the war effort.

The Fourth Liberty Loan was open for purchase from September 28, 1918 until October 19, 1918 and was one of the most successful bond drives in the U.S. during the First World War. Overall, the bond raised $6.9 billion and offered a 4.25% interest rate. Posters such as this were heavily used to convince citizens that it was not only in their best financial interest to purchase a Liberty Loan, but was also their patriotic duty. They often pulled on the heartstrings by depicting suffering women and children or showed courageous men in battle who needed their country’s support.

This particular poster uses the image of the brave sailor fighting but directly mentions the financial aspect of the loan with the phrase, “We Clear the Way for Your Fighting Dollars” suggesting that the best way to support the military efforts overseas is to invest in Liberty Loans. The slogan, “clear the way…” was commonly used in the propaganda posters during WWI and would be very familiar to the people who saw this poster in windows and on the walls of everyday settings. By the end of the war, advertising efforts and propaganda posters like the one showed here were responsible for the sale of bonds to over 20 million individuals and had an important effect on the war.

CONDITION:

Overall very good condition. The paper poster would have been printed in the second half of 1918 and survives beautifully. There is no notable damage to the piece and the colors are still bright. The poster is presented in a sleek black wooden frame with UV protective glass according to modern archival standards.

Framed Dimensions: 31" H x 23.5" W x 1.5" D




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