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Bilingual poster encouraging wartime unity of Mexico and America and all American citizens regardless of nationality

Object | Accession Number: 2015.562.17

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    Bilingual poster encouraging wartime unity of Mexico and America and all American citizens regardless of nationality

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    “Americans All” bilingual poster featuring two hats, one symbolizing Mexico and the other symbolizing America, raised up in unison. The poster was designed to promote unity between America’s multi-ethnic demographics and the nations of the Western Hemisphere during wartime. The poster was designed by Leon Helguera, a Mexican artist who immigrated to America in 1916, and was commissioned by the Office of Wartime Information (OWI). The OWI was established in 1942, and managed information about the war on the home front. This office controlled the design and distribution of war information to the American public in print, radio, and film media, and commissioned work from leading artists. The “Americans All” slogan expressed a call for unity among Americans of different backgrounds and for solidarity between the nations of the Western Hemisphere in the face of the Axis threat. In 1942, racial tensions in the Southwestern United States were at a critical point following the Sleepy Lagoon Murder in August in Los Angeles, California. Twenty-two Mexican Americans were arrested and tried without due process for the crime, causing riots in Los Angeles in 1943.The Axis powers inflamed this division with anti-American radio broadcasts in Latin America to sway public opinion. To ease the racial unrest, the OWI introduced a campaign that utilized patriotic images, with slogans in Spanish and English, to appeal to Americans of Mexican descent. Despite the hostility, Mexican Americans provided sizable contributions to the war effort with over 17,000 working in Los Angeles shipyards, airfields, and armament factories.
    Artwork Title
    Americans All, Let's Fight for Victory
    Alternate Title
    Americanos Todos, Luchamos por la Victoria
    Date
    publication/distribution:  1943
    Geography
    publication: United States
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Lucinda Pollack
    Markings
    front, bottom, printed, yellow ink : AMERICAN ALL /LET’S FIGHT FOR VICTORY
    front, center left, printed, black ink : AMERICANOS TODOS / LUSHAMOS POR LA / VICTORIA
    front, bottom left margin printed, black ink : OWI Poster No. 65. Additional copies may be obtained upon request from the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C.
    front, bottom right margin, printed, black ink : U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
    Signature
    front, lower right of image, printed, blue ink : Leon Helguera
    Contributor
    Publisher: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    Artist: Leon Helguera
    Biography
    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.
    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.

    Physical Details

    Language
    English Spanish
    Classification
    Posters
    Category
    War propaganda
    Genre/Form
    Posters.
    Physical Description
    Large, rectangular poster printed on white paper depicting two arms stretched upward, one holding out a sombrero and the other holding out Uncle Sam’s top hat. The front arm is covered to the wrist by a long brown sleeve with white, circular patterned stripes along the top and around the end of the sleeve. The hand is holding a brown sombrero with a wide brim that curves upward, a thin chin strap and multi-colored tassels. Around the brim’s underside edge is a black banner decorated with white leaves, berries, and flowers with red and green accents. The background arm is covered to the wrist by a red and white striped sleeve and a blue band with white stars at the cuff. The hand is holding a white top hat with a row of white stars within a blue band around the base of the crown, and vertical red stripes extending to the top. The background shows a yellow sunburst rising up into a light blue sky. Beneath the sombrero are three lines of black Spanish text. Along the bottom is a wide blue banner with two lines of yellow English text flanked by two small white stars. The artist signature is in the bottom right of the image. The poster has 3 evenly spaced horizontal creases and one vertical crease in the center.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 28.000 inches (71.12 cm) | Width: 20.125 inches (51.118 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use. No copyright information is known.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    United States.

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The poster was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by David and Lucinda Pollack.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-28 07:50:47
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn559584

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