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US careless talk poster of Uncle Sam with his finger to his lips asking for silence

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.12

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    US careless talk poster of Uncle Sam with his finger to his lips asking for silence

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    Brief Narrative
    US careless talk poster with the Uncle Sam icon with his finger to his mouth in a hushing gesture. This modification of the Uncle Sam image created by Mongomery Flagg for World War I recruitment posters, was designed by Leon Helguera, a Mexican artist who came to America in 1943. The careless talk series was an Army Services project, distributed by the Office of War Information. The need to manage the war on the Home Front led to the establishment of the OWI in June 1942. This office controlled the design and distribution of war information to the American public in all media and commissioned work from leading artists. The careless talk series originated in 1940 in Great Britain. It highlighted the many ways that careless talk could leak sensitive information that our enemies would use to kill soldiers, sink ships, and undermine the war effort.
    Artwork Title
    I’m Counting on You! Don't Discuss: troop movements, ship sailings, war equipment
    Series Title
    Avoid Careless Talk
    OWI, no. 78
    publication/distribution:  1943
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Zelda Silberman
    front, top, white on blue : I’M COUNTING ON YOU!
    front, bottom, white and red on blue : DON’T DISCUSS: / TROOP MOVEMENTS / SHIP SAILINGS · WAR EQUIPMENT
    front, bottom left corner, blue ink : OWI Poster No. 78 – 20” x 28” Additional copies may be obtained upon request from the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C.
    front, bottom right corner, black ink : ✩ U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 1943 – O - 534057
    Artist: Leon Helguera
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    Leon Helguera (1899-1970) was a New York based commercial artist who was well known for designing posters and stamps. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States with relatives as a teenager in 1916. He worked at Fisher-McKenzie Inc. in Manhattan, and was commissioned by the Office of War Information’s (OWI) Foreign Language Division in January 1943 to produce four color posters designed to appeal to Americans of Mexican descent. He also designed a “United Nations” postage stamp for the OWI that was released by the United States Post Office on January 14, 1943.
    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
    Offset color lithographic poster with the symbolic image of Uncle Sam as an older man with longish white hair, bushy eyebrows, and goatee, in a red, white, and blue stars and stripes top hat. He is holding his right index finger to his lips in a shushing gesture. His head and hand are disembodied, emerging from the solid blue background. The title is printed in red, white, and blue text at the top and bottom. The artist's signature, L. Helguerea, is printed within the image.
    overall: Height: 28.000 inches (71.12 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

    Personal Name
    Helguera, Leon.

    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
    This page:

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