Item:
ONSV5161

Original U.S. WWI Marines Recruitment Poster by James Montgomery Flagg - New York City

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an exceptionally rare Word War One United States Marine recruitment poster that dates from 1917 - 1918. A nearly identical poster for San Francisco recruitment center as opposed to the more desirable New York City one, was sold at auction in 2016 for $3900 which can be seen at this link.

Designed by the artist James Montgomery Flagg (June 18, 1877 – May 27, 1960) who was an American artist, comics artist and illustrator. He worked in media ranging from fine art painting to cartooning, but is best remembered for his political posters.

The poster features a WW1 era marine riding a leopard with TRAVEL? ADVENTURE? ANSWER - JOIN THE MARINES! ENLIST TODAY FOR 2-3 or 4 Years
24 East 23rd Street, New York City

Measures 40 1/4 x 29 3/4 inches (102 1/4 x 75 1/2 cm)
Condition B+: no tears, some minor creases. Was topped with some kind of flexible protective coating and is mounted to a linen backing, colors a slightly faded but still vibrant.

During World War I the U.S. military commissioned artists and illustrators like James Montgomery Flagg and Howard Chandler Christy to create posters with striking images and simple statements to galvanize young men to join the fight abroad. The posters were so effective that after the armistice was signed, with 'a peace army greatly needed, the Marines . . . again sought the poster's aide in making this force possible' (The Poster, November 1919, p. 23). However, a new angle was needed to recruit during peacetime. As explained by the Marine Recruiting Publicity Bureau, 'It was necessary now to present the military career as something worth while to the young man seeking an occupation . . . men now enlist in a more thoughtful mood . . . we have to show them that we can offer them an interesting and profitable career' (Ibid, p. 27.) While the Army and Navy advertised for men looking to learn a trade, 'the Marines, looking for a 'scrapper,' put forth the travel and adventure idea . . . for after all, travel and adventure, new experiences, form the strongest magnet for drawing men into the Marine Corps' (Ibid.)

Flagg's design of a jaunty marine flirting with danger on the back of a leopard was not only perfectly suited to catch the eye of a passerby, but also wonderfully imparted the concept that "the Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand' (Ibid). One of Flagg's rarest posters. Flagg p. 66, Rawls p. 250, Borkan p. 35.
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