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US careless talk poster of a US paratrooper shot in harness

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.17

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    US careless talk poster of a US paratrooper shot in harness


    Brief Narrative
    US careless talk poster featuring an American GI in combat dress, hanging lifeless from a parachute, to remind people that their careless talk on the home front could cause death on the battlefield. Issued after the Allied offensive was launched in June 1944, the poster emphasizes the even greater need for be careful and watch out for spies. The careless talk series of US propaganda posters 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 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
    Careless there first
    Series Title
    Avoid Careless Talk
    publication/distribution:  1944
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Zelda Silberman
    front, top, black ink : CARELESS TALK / there first
    front, bottom left corner, black ink : ✩ U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1944 - O - 593271
    front, bottom right corner, black ink : DISTRIBUTED FOR THE ISSUING AGENCIES BY O. W. I.
    back, left, black ink : OFFICIAL WAR POSTER / Distributed for the Issuing Agencies by / OFFICE OF WAR INFORMATION / Room 3339, Social Security Building / WASHINGTON 25, D.C. / OFFICIAL BUSINESS
    back, left, black ink : PENALTY FOR PRIVATE USE / TO AVOID PAYMENT OF POSTAGE / $300 / Philip Baller,
    back, right, black ink : CARELESS TALK GOT / THERE FIRST!
    back, right, black ink : This poignant poster, graphically portraying a possible result of someone’s thoughtless talk, is the work of Herbert Morton Stoops. Mr. Stoops, a battery commander in the last war, has won eminence as an artist in the field of military activity, and holds many awards for his portrayals of the American scene. Please give this poster prominent display . . . now that we are attacking, it is more important than ever to intensify the home-front fight on careless talk.
    Artist: Herbert M. Stoops
    Issuer: Adjutant-General's Office, United States, Army Service Forces
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    Herbert Morton Stoops was born in 1888 in Logan City, Utan. He was raised on a ranch in Idaho, a place that Stoops would continue to return to in his paintings. As a young child, Stoops was enthralled with the wide open, wild spaces of Idaho, a place where Native American tribes roamed the plains and mountainsides. Pursuing a higher education at Utah State College in 1905, Stoops had already gained experience doing freelance illustrations for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1914 Stoops moved to Chicago where he began doing illustrations, page decorations and story headings for Blue Book, a literary pulp magazine with which he would be identified for the rest of his life. During World War II Stoops enlisted in the Army, but continued to send home wartime sketches. Many of these sketches were used on posters for the Office of War Information.
    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 an image of a detailed, realistic painting with a close-up, full figure of a man in olive drab combat dress, hanging dying or lifeless, drifting left, from the shoulder straps of a parachute. His helmeted head and his rifle droop down and his boots skim the mottled green and red grass. There are red stains on his chest and arms, and blood drips down his hand. The paratrooper is surrounded by gray/blue sky filled with close and distant views of parachuting soldiers. In the far background is a hilltop with fires and billowing smoke clouds. The slogan appears across the top and the artist's name, HM Stoops, is printed within the image. On the back is printed postal information.
    overall: Height: 27.875 inches (70.803 cm) | Width: 20.000 inches (50.8 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, graphite
    back, right, pencil : 29 / 3 / 87

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Stoops, Herbert Morton.

    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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