Keep this Hand of Mercy

Title Keep this Hand of Mercy
Creator R.G. Morgan
Date 1918
Format 20 x 30 in
Description R.G. Morgan’s poster uniquely blends realism and visual metaphor to raise money for the American Red Cross. On the left side of the 20 x 30 in. lithograph, a dark, nighttime battle scene is depicted with an artillery gun, exploding shells, and the ghostly silhouettes of soldiers. To the right, beams of light shine down on a pile of rubble and a collection of wounded and displaced people. Dividing the two scenes is an enormous arm extended from the sky with a white sleeve and the unmistakable symbol of the Red Cross above the elbow. The heavenly arm provides a barrier from the explosions on the left, and bends gently to cup a bandaged soldier and a mother fleeing with her two young children. The text in the upper left helps solidify the visual metaphor of the work of the Red Cross as divine intervention by stating, “Keep this Hand of Mercy at its work.” The imagery and text convey the message that the viewer should donate money to the Red Cross so that it can continue to protect and aid the vulnerable. While the words “American Red Cross” are nowhere to be found on the poster, the red cross symbol is all that is needed to recognize the organization.
Copyright and Terms Images are in the public domain or protected under U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code), and both types may be used for research and private study. For publication, commercial use, or reproduction, in print or digital format, of all images and/or the accompanying data, users are required to secure prior written permission from the copyright holder and from When permission is granted, please credit the images as Courtesy of The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections.