Workplace posters in the United States

About this collection

This digital collection includes 78 workplace posters from the first half of the twentieth century. Many are employee motivational posters printed by Mather & Company and focus on personal work ethic and behavior. Others are defense industry posters produced during World War II. Also included are copies of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms published in The Saturday Evening Post. The online collection is a selection of posters from Hagely's Audiovisual Collection.

    Image: Poster by Robb Beebe, printed by Mather & Company. Click to view.

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Will You Supply Eyes for The Navy? Navy Ships Need Binoculars and Spy-Glasses
Poster showing a captain on deck at sea, blindfolded and reaching out. Text below image: Will you supply eyes for the Navy? Navy ships need binoculars and spy-glasses. Glasses will be returned at termination of war, if possible. One dollar will be paid for each one accepted. Tag each article with your name and address and express or mail to Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ass't. Sec'y. of Navy c/o Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. Will you help us "stand watch" on a destroyer?
The Test of Our Loyalty is the Measure of Our Sacrifice
Poster showing a scene of combat over text reading "This man is a patriot - he will work 24 hours a day for his country" and a scene of a cigar smoking "Agitator" under text reading "Is this man a patriot - he works 24 hours for his pocketbook" divided by the question "Where do you stand?" A tiny bird comments, "And we need our industrial army to keep these boys in the field." Text below image: A full day's work in the munitions shop, mine, mill, or shipyard is equivalent to taking a German trench. The blue overalls of the mechanic covers the same sort of Americanism as is clothed in the khaki in the trenches and in the working clothes of the captains of industry.
The Shot That Will Win the War
Poster showing Uncle Sam, a man "Wage Payer," and a man "Wage Earner" astride a missile "Industrial Co-operation," with an eagle carrying a "Victory" banner above. A tiny bird comments, "This shot will win the war!". Text below image: United action by America's industrial partners will shorten and win this struggle for human freedom. It is the heaviest shot our Democracy can fire at wage-earners' and wage-payers' common foe - Autocracy. Every loyal worker and employer can ride to victory under the eagle's wings with Uncle Sam.
The Hand That Threatens Our Industrial Life / American Industry - The Heart of the Nation
Poster showing a hand "Strife, Excessive taxes, Unwise laws, Disloyalty, Agitation, Waste" threatening an industrial district shaped like a heart. A tiny bird comments, "Co-operation is what is needed most." Text below image: More than 32,000 American industrial plants have been placed at the disposal of the government to win this war. Their effectiveness must not be hampered by enemy agitators who cause bad feeling between wage-earners and wage-payers. Every community is interested in promoting industrial prosperity.
Go Over the Top with The Tank That Will Win the War!
Poster showing a tank "American industry" rolling over "Disloyalty." A tiny bird comments, "Nothing can stop them!" Text below image: The watchword on the turret should inspire the crew that man the guns. Only by united action in America's war industries can we crush out disloyal and treasonable efforts to obstruct. We must stand together, work harder, produce more and aim straight to "Kan the Kaiser."
Can Vegetables, Fruit, and the Kaiser Too
Poster showing showing jars of canned goods, including "Tomatoes," "Peas," and "Monarch Brand Unsweetened" which contains a caricature of the Kaiser. Text below image: Write for free book to National War Garden Commission, Washington, D.C. / Charles Luthrop Pack - President / P.S. Ridsdale - Secretary
Sure We'll Finish the Job
Text from image: 'Sure! We'll Finish the Job -- Victory Liberty Loan', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, St. Amour drawings, blueprints, etc. (Accession 1969.060.4), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Do the Job He Left Behind
Text from image: 'Do the job HE left behind -- Apply U.S. Employment Service', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Women at work World War II posters (Accession 1994.263.1), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
I Want You for The Navy
Text from image: 'I Want You for The Navy -- Promotion for anyone enlisting apply any recruiting station or postmaster'
What You're Making May Save my Daddy's Life
Text from image: 'War Production Board, Washington, D.C., A-17', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Original Collection number, Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Bundles for Berlin
Text from image: ''Bundles for Berlin' -- More Production!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, World War II posters (Accession 1995.211), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Follow Safety Rules
Text from image: 'More American workers were killed and wounded in industrial accidents last year than all the casualties from bombs in Britain in two year of war -- Follow Safety Rules!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, World War II posters (Accession 1995.211), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Hungry!
Text from image: 'Hungry! Spoiled work feeds the vulture of waste -- Starve Him!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company work incentive posters (Accession 2005.278), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Inauguration du Tunnel du Simplon
Text from image: 'Inauguration du Tunnel du Simplon, Exposition Internationale, Milan 1906, Avril -- Novembre', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Esposizione internazionale del Sempione poster (Accession 1995.206), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Ask Questions
Text from image: 'Ask Questions -- There's only one way to Learn -- ask questions! There's only one way to Avoid Mistakes -- ask questions! There's only one way to get it right -- ask the man who knows. Remember what you're told!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company workplace posters (Accession 1994.319), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
As It Should Be
Text from image: 'As It Should Be -- When finished, a clean worker will clean up the litter, put away the tools, and leave the place as he would expect to find it. Clean up, Restore Order Before You Leave', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company workplace posters (Accession 1994.319), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Are You Afraid of Criticism?
Text from image: 'Are You Afraid of Criticism? Some workers are so easily offended, that to criticize their work -- Means Trouble. Therefore nobody criticizes, nobody suggests, nobody helps them, and so they never progress. Everybody must learn from Somebody!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company workplace posters (Accession 1994.319), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
They Learn from the Old Timers
Text from image: 'They Learn from the Old Timers -- The new folks who come in here pattern themselves after the old-timers. Invariably the new workers are just as good or bad as the older workmen want them to be. What are you teaching the new ones?', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company workplace posters (Accession 1994.319), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Give Us Your Criticism
Text from image: 'Give Us Your Criticism -- How can we improve our methods? Is there a better way? Is there a short cut or a saving that you can suggest? We always welcome constructive criticism. Give Us the Benefit of Your Experience', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company workplace posters (Accession 1994.319), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Give it Your Best!
[Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Give it your best (poster) (Accession 2007.231.1), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Dedicated to our Mothers
Text from image: 'Dedicated to our Mothers -- In remembrance of their hopes and prayers, their faith, their toil, their love -- Let's Make Good for Mother', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company work incentive posters (Accession 2005.278), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
One Iron In The Fire
Text from image: 'One Iron In The Fire -- Those who mind their own business always have the most business to mind -- Let's Hit While It's Hot', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company work incentive posters (Accession 2005.278), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
It May Be Right
Text from image: 'It May Be Right -- It May Be Wrong. Be sure you know before you decide', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company work incentive posters (Accession 2005.278), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Production
Text from image: 'Production -- America's answer!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Production: America's answer (poster) (Accession 2002.255), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Anything Overlooked?
Text from image: 'Anything Overlooked? It's easier to check little losses now than to pay for the big ones later. Let's All Help!', [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Mather & Company work incentive posters (Accession 2005.278), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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