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“Man the Ships” was one of many posters issued by the U.S. government during World War I to encourage support of the war. This poster was commissioned by the Marines and created for recruitment for the Emergency Fleet Corporation (EFC) in either 1917 or 1918 by James H. Daugherty. For some time, the maritime position of the United States hadn’t been very strong as European shipping and navy dominated international sea travel. Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act, or Shipping Act, in September 7, 1916. This Act was created to encourage development of the U.S.’s naval capacity. It’s main stated purpose was “for the promotion and maintenance of the American merchant marine.” Not only did this Act create the U.S. Shipping Board and give appropriations for the expansion of naval establishments, it also had the unintended effects of providing a need for a surgence of illustrators to promote this new initiative. James H. Daughtery, the illustrator of this poster, was a renowned American painter, muralist, and book illustrator. He was a large contributor of war propaganda posters for the U.S. Government throughout the war. During WWI, he was commissioned to produce propaganda for many U.S. Government agencies, especially by the United States Shipping Board, to encourage people to join the navy. The poster was created and reproduced as a lithographic print at the time of it’s distribution.


WWI, Marines, Emergency Fleet Corporation, Merchant Marine Act, Shipping Act, James H. Daugherty