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Recruitment poster with the 5 Sullivan brothers

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.32

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    Recruitment poster with the 5 Sullivan brothers

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    Brief Narrative
    US recruitment poster with a photograph of the five Sullivan brothers, sailors on the U.S.S. Juneau, in 1942. The ship was on its way from New Caledonia to Guadalcanal in the South Pacific when, on the morning of November 13, 1942, it was struck by a Japanese torpedo. All 5 brothers were killed in the attack. It became a national story and a rallying point for the war effort. The poster was issued by the Office of War information which was created in June 1942 to manage the war on the Home Front by disseminating ideas, propaganda, and information about the war effort. The OWI’s goal was to place posters in the street-level windows of every store, office, and restaurant in every city and town across the United States.
    Artwork Title
    They Did Their Part
    Series Title
    OWI Poster No. 42
    publication/distribution:  1943
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Zelda Silberman
    front, below image, black ink : the five Sullivan brothers / “missing in action” off the Solomons
    front, bottom, white on red : THEY DID THEIR PART
    front, bottom center, black ink : OWI Poster No. 42. 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 - 510254
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States 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 a black and white photographic image of 5 smiling men in U.S. Navy peacoats and berets standing around a ship's hatch. It is superimposed on a background of a red and white service flag with 5 blue stars above. The title is across the top and there is a caption below the image. It was folded in quarters for mailing convenience.
    overall: Height: 28.000 inches (71.12 cm) | Width: 22.000 inches (55.88 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, graphite
    back, top left, pencil : Gerevac?o Peru?a

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Corporate Name
    United States. Navy

    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:
    2023-08-28 07:47:18
    This page:

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