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Dumbarton Oaks Wartime Poster, 1945

Posted On June 28, 2018 | 14:35 pm | by jamesc | Permalink
James N. Carder (August 2018)


Crocker-McElwain Company Patriotic Wartime Poster: Dumbarton Oaks, Unite Now to Prevent World War III. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.OB.Misc.106).

The 1944 Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, where the British, Russians, Chinese, and Americans came together to draft a United Nations charter to insure peace in the world, were widely held to be a key diplomatic success of the Second World War. This was certainly the opinion of the Crocker-McElwain Company, a paper manufacturer in Holyoke, Massachusetts, which during the war published nine patriotic posters as part of the war effort, one of which was “Dumbarton Oaks: Unite now to prevent World-War III.” The other eight posters were titled: “I'm glad to be an American,” “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” “The Navy's name for gossip is scuttle-butt,” “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” “Liberty strikes to preserve the four freedoms,” “The pen and the sword,” “Printing in war and peace,” and “By the Eternal! No war is ever ended until somebody is knocked out.”

The Dumbarton Oaks Archives has acquired a copy of the Dumbarton Oaks poster (AR.OB.Misc.106), which was published in April 1945 in the Crocker-McElwain’s Paper News Poster (vol. 2, no. 3). Under a drawing of the exterior of Dumbarton Oaks made by the artist Walt Harris of Harvard, Massachusetts, are the words:

Dumbarton Oaks. Unite now to prevent World War III. We must have a world organization to preserve, by force if necessary, the peace of the world.

In the September 1945 edition of Crocker-McElwain’s Paper News Poster, which contained the poster, “I’m glad to be an American,” the company gave the following information about their “Patriotic Wartime Posters:”

The nine Crocket-McElwain posters … will surely win a prominent place in any later history of what advertising did to help win World War II. These 17 by 22 posters, printed inside the French-fold of each issue of our Paper News Poster, went up on the walls of offices, shops, factories and war plants all over the United States. We had requests for extra copies of some of these posters running far beyond anything we could hope to supply. Salesmen traveling in different sections of the country reported to us that they saw our posters displayed everywhere in the cities they visited.

If the relative merits of the nine posters were determined by a popular vote, there are four that lead the other five in the number of requests that reached us for extra copies. These four were the Pen and the Sword poster, Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Andrew Jackson poster – “By the Eternal! No War is Ever Ended Right Until Somebody is Knocked Out.”