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US careless talk poster depicting a drowning sailor pointing at the viewer

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.45

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    US careless talk poster depicting a drowning sailor pointing at the viewer

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    Brief Narrative
    US careless talk poster with an image of a drowning sailor to warn people to guard what they say in public because it could lead to the death of military personnel. 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 in all media and commissioned work from leading artists, such as Frederick Siebel, who painted this image. Siebel was an Austrian born artist who came to the US in 1936. His design was the winning entry in a competition put on by Devoe & Reynolds Painting Company, judged by Eleanor Roosevelt. 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
    Someone Talked!
    Series Title
    Avoid Careless Talk
    OWI No. 18
    publication/distribution:  1942
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Zelda Silberman
    front, top and bottom, white ink : SOMEONE / TALKED!
    front, bottom, black ink : OWI Poster No. 18. Additional copies may be obtained upon request from the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C. / U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1942–O-496733
    Artist: Frederick Siebel
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Issuer: Adjutant-General's Office, United States, Army Service Forces
    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 reproduction of a painting depicting a drowning, young, man with only his head and 1 oversized, outstretched forearm exposed above the wavy black water. His wide open eyes stare anxiously to his right and his index finger points at the viewer, in a simulated 3-D effect. The 2 word title is printed in bright white letters on the black background. The artist’s name Siebel is printed within the image.
    overall: Height: 22.000 inches (55.88 cm) | Width: 14.000 inches (35.56 cm)
    overall : paper, ink
    back, top right, cursive, pencil : Someone talked, / Someone talked, / New Haven CT / United States of America
    back, top, cursive, pencil : Someo Someone / USA USA / Someone talked. / Someone talked / Maurice H. Baller / Hartford Conn. / United States of America / U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A. / United States of America / U.S.A. USA / USA USA USA / USA USA / Robinson Robinson / Robuns Robuns
    back, bottom right, cursive, pencil : Ruth / Ruth / Saur + Ruth Ruth / Saur + Ruth / Saur + Ruth Ruth /
    back, bottom, cursive, pencil : Discount / Discount / Discount / Discount 433

    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
    This page:

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