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US war bonds poster with Rockwell painting of Thanksgiving dinner to promote freedom from want

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.4

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    US war bonds poster with Rockwell painting of Thanksgiving dinner to promote freedom from want

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    Brief Narrative
    Four Freedoms war bonds poster featuring a Norman Rockwell painting of a traditional New England Thanksgiving dinner as a symbol of the Freedom from Want for which we were fighting the war. It is one of a series of four posters (1988.42.1, 2,3) using Rockwell's paintings, inspired by the Four Freedoms described in Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union Address: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The US entered the war in December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Office of War Information (OWI) was set up in June 1942 to control the message and imagery of government information about the war. Rockwell created sketches about the Four Freedoms to help the war effort, but no one in Washington was interested. The paintings were published by the Saturday Evening Post beginning February 26, 1943 and then reprinted, with permission, by the OWI. The OWI launched a nationwide tour with the paintings, raising $130 million dollars in war bond sales. They also offered the posters for sale in three different sizes and four million sets of the posters were printed.
    Artwork Title
    Ours... to Fight for - Freedom From Want
    Series Title
    OWI poster, no. 45
    Buy War Bonds
    publication/distribution:  1943
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Zelda Silberman
    front, top, image, black ink : fight for
    front, bottom, black ink : FREEDOM FROM WANT
    front, bottom right, black ink : Painting from the Saturday Evening Post
    front, bottom, black ink : OWI Poster No. 45. Additional copies may be obtained upon request from the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C. / (star) U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1943 – O - 511886
    Artist: Norman Rockwell
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was born in New York City, New York. He studied art at The New York School of Art, The National Academy of Design and The Art Students League. While still a teenager, he was hired as art director of Boys’ Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, and began a freelance career illustrating a variety of young people’s publications. Throughout his career Rockwell created covers for The Saturday Evening Post. In 1930, he married Mary Barstow, a schoolteacher, and they had three sons. In 1939, Rockwell and his family moved to Arlington, Vermont. In 1943, he painted the Four Freedoms, a series of four paintings based on a speech by President Franklin Roosevelt. The paintings toured the United States in a traveling exhibition and through the sale of war bonds, raised over $130 million for the war effort.
    The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was created on June 13, 1942, to centralize and control the content and production of government information and propaganda about the war. It coordinated the release of war news for domestic use, and using posters along with radio broadcasts, worked to promote patriotism, warn about foreign spies, and recruit women into war work. The office also established an overseas branch, which launched a large-scale information and propaganda campaign abroad. The government appealed to the public through popular culture and more than a quarter of a billion dollars' worth of advertising was donated during the first three years of the National Defense Savings Program. Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945, and in Japan on September 2, 1945. The OWI ceased operation in September.

    Physical Details

    War propaganda
    Physical Description
    Color offset lithographic poster reproducing a painting of an older woman in a white apron and blue dress placing a platter with a large, cooked turkey in the center of a set table. A man in a black suit stands close behind her and 9 members of her extended family lean in toward the table with smiling, flushed faces, except for 1 man in the bottom right corner who looks out toward the viewer. The painting is unified by the bright white of the back window curtains, wainscoting, and the large, white cloth and dishes on the table. The artists's name, Norman Rockwell, is printed within the image. The poster has blurred sections due to a printing misalignment.
    overall: Height: 27.875 inches (70.803 cm) | Width: 20.000 inches (50.8 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The poster was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988 by David and Zelda Silberman.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:29:29
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