60 . April 9 - June 30, 2017
When Art Went to War - Posters of WW I
Selections from the Richter Family Collection
An exhibition in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into WW I 

EXHIBITION BACKGROUND: During World War I the United States produced more propaganda posters than any other combatant, and in a much shorter time. With visual culture the domain of private enterprise, the government commissioned advertising agencies and artists to produce the posters that supported the war effort. 

The history and culture of advertising were all new during this time but the still nascent industry responded to the opportunity to such an extent that the country was flooded with posters. In all, twenty million copies of 2,500 posters in support of the war were sold, thus signaling the beginning of our image saturated world. The Division of Pictorial Publicity, which also produced posters for the war effort, was the first US government art agency in support of a war. 

Also on display were WW I objects from the collection of the Temple Judea Museum and loans of family history objects from the collection of Norman Brody, Joan Myerson Shrager and Natalie Shamberg. 

“Posters sold the war,” said David H. Mihaly, the curator of graphic arts and social history at the Huntington Library in California. “These posters inspired you to enlist, to pick up the flag and support your country. They made you in some cases fear an enemy or created a fear you didn’t know you had. Nations needed to convince their citizens that this war was just, and we needed to participate and not sit and watch.” There were certainly propaganda posters before 1917, but the organization and mass distribution of World War I posters distinguished them from anything previous, Mihaly said.

Adapted and edited from a 2014 article by Jia-Rui Cook, SMITHSONIAN.COM

After the war, Congress tallied up the bill and found that two- thirds of the cost of the war was raised by poster bond drives.

Adapted and edited from exhibition materials: National Constitution Center, 2011


As part of the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into WW I Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel and the Temple Judea Museum mark this historic event with a series of lectures and a major exhibition.

1. Opening: Sunday April 9th at 10:00am

KI's Spring Forum 2017 (one of the three lectures)

In the Storm: WW I and the Jews, 1914 - 1919

Rabbi Lance J, Sussman Ph. D with Joan Myerson Shrager M. Ed.

$10 fee at the door for the lecture for those not registered in Adult Ed

Exhibition reception follows

(Free and open to the community)

2. Thursday April 20th at 7:00pm

(Free and open to the community)



Joan will explore the development of several monumental art movements during WW I, among the deadliest conflicts in human history, and will show how art became the perfect vehicle for expressions of despair and the catastrophic psychological and physical toll that this war took on humanity.


The Temple Judea Museum      

Director/Curator: Rita Rosen Poley;  Chair: Karen Shain Schloss