Americans All!

Title Americans All!
Creator Howard Chandler Christy
Date 1919
Format 27 x 40.5
Description Howard Chandler Christy’s “Americans All!” is a call for Americans to support the war effort by purchasing Victory Liberty Loans and honoring the sacrifices of service members, regardless of ethnicity and national origin. Victory Liberty Loans were offered following the completion of WWI as a means to pay off war debts and assist returning soldiers. The poster is a classic example of Christy’s strategy to persuade audiences by illustrating physically attractive and seductively dressed white women. This particular “Christy Girl,” as they were commonly known, gazes fondly toward the sky while delicately holding the end of the American flag to her chest with one hand, and placing a commemorative laurel wreath above a list of names with the other. Although the woman is missing some common markers found in other posters, she can be interpreted as Columbia, the allegorical figure personifying America itself. Beneath the wreath is a gold star with the words “Honor Roll,” signaling that the surnames below represent soldiers killed in combat. Notice Christy’s decision to write surnames commonly associated with a variety of nationalities and ethnic groups rather than the full names of specific individuals. In doing so, the poster argues that military service and self-sacrifice defines citizenship more than skin color, language, or origin of birth, and that minorities have broadly proven their loyalty to America. If we read the woman as being Columbia, the poster suggests that these groups have won the love and admiration of America, and that their sacrifice will be immortalized into the future. Large scale immigration to the United States during this time period made assimilation a key concern, and Christy’s poster uses the war as a means to transcend racial and ethnic boundaries not only to raise funds, but to solidify national unity.
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