Help Your American Red Cross

Title Help Your American Red Cross
Creator Anna Richards Brewster
Format 30 x 40 in
Description Anna Richards Brewster, one of very few women commissioned to illustrate propaganda posters in this era, created the poster “Help Your American Red Cross” to assist the Red Cross in gaining donations and recruiting volunteers for the war relief effort. The relatively large 30×40 in. lithograph illustrates a courageous and youthful nurse, standing tall in the midst of a battlefield with a wounded, or possibly deceased, soldier lying on a gurney at her feet. Compared to other conflicts, WWI propaganda posters are relatively sanitized as they almost never contain blood or dead bodies, and are especially reluctant to depict American soldiers in unflattering ways. Brewster’s poster violates visual conventions by depicting an American soldier in a helpless state, an unexpected sight for consumers of propaganda during this period. In portraying the nurse as strong, courageous, and patriotic, this poster promotes the work of nurses and women in the war campaign, imploring other women to emulate this figure. The traditional gender roles of the time are both challenged and reaffirmed in that this poster instills the idea of women as a necessary asset on the war front, albeit as caregivers.
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