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US careless talk poster of a Nazi ringed hand with an Iron Cross

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.24

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    US careless talk poster of a Nazi ringed hand with an Iron Cross


    Brief Narrative
    US careless talk poster featuring a hand with a swastika ring completing a jigsaw puzzle that with words: Convoy sails for England tonight, to illustrate how the enemy can gather small details and get important information. The careless talk series of US propaganda posters was an Army Services project, distributed by the Office of War Information. This office was set up in June 1942 to manage the war on the Home Front by disseminating ideas, propaganda, and information about the war effort, such as the dangers of enemy spies. The OWI controlled the design and distribution of war information to the American public in posters, photographs, radio shows, and films. 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
    Award for Careless Talk
    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 : AWARD
    front, bottom right, black ink : Stevan Dohanos
    front, bottom left corner, black ink : (star) U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1944 – O 602587
    front, bottom right corner, black ink : Distributed for the issuing agencies by the Office of War Information
    back, left, within rectangle, black ink : WAR DEPARTMENT / WASHINGTON 25, D. C. / OFFICIAL BUSINESS / Notice to Postmaster: If not delivered return to / 333 West Lake St., Chicago, Ill.
    back, left, black ink : PENALTY FOR PRVIATE USE / TO AVOID PAYMENT OF POSTAGE / $300 / Philip Baller,
    back, right, title, black ink : AWARD / FOR CARELESS TALK
    back, right, black ink : Stevan Dohanos, whose Award for Careless Talk poster appears on the opposite side, is one of those rare artists who combines a distinguished talent for both “fine” and “commercial” art. Prob- ably most widely known as an illustrator for national magazines, he also demon- strates his grasp of powerful poster tech- nique in this dramatic anti-loose-talk display.
    Artist: Stevan Dohanos
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    Stevan Dohanos (1907-1994) was a Connecticut-based commercial artist well known for designing magazine covers, murals, posters, and stamps. He was born to Hungarian immigrants in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio. As a young man, Stevan took a correspondence course in art, and later received a scholarship to the Cleveland School of Art. In the mid-1930’s, Stevan moved to New York City to work for an advertising agency. He also worked for a U.S. Treasury Department art project to create murals on public buildings. In the early 1940’s, Stevan moved to an artist colony in Westport, Connecticut, and sold his first cover to the Saturday Evening Post. During World War II, he painted murals and recruitment and propaganda posters to support the war effort. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, he sold more than 125 covers to the Post. Stevan also designed more than forty stamps for the federal government, spending the latter part of his career focusing on stamp designs and film art.
    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 depicting a realistic, large, hairy hand with a signet ring with a black Nazi Swastika in a red circle with the 3 center fingers placed upon a German Iron Cross medal and black and white striped ribbon, which was awarded for bravery. The slogan is in black uppercase text above and below the image. On the back is printed postal information and a paragraph about the artist.
    overall: Height: 26.000 inches (66.04 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 18:11:42
    This page:

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