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“YMCA” was one of many posters issued during World War I to encourage support of the war. This poster shows a woman wearing white while holding two globes and standing in front of a sign for the YWCA. It’s highly likely that the woman here is Columbia or Lady Liberty and that the imagery is meant to invoke patriotism and support for the war effort through joining or contributing to the YWCA. According to researcher Michelle Ule, during WW1 the YMCA provided for 90% of the general welfare, with the help of 26,000 paid workers and 35,000 volunteers to American troops numbering over 4 million. They provided entertainment for the troops and managed the US mail, helping soldiers write letters to loved ones. They also provided morale boosters with religious activities and even set up roller skating rinks. They also provided coffee, tea, donuts, and cigarettes at mobile canteens, where soldiers from the front lines could come a relax and recover. The artist and publication date of the poster are unknown, but it was most likely circulated in 1917-1918. The poster was most likely created and reproduced as a lithograph at the time of it’s distribution.


WWI, poster, YMCA, Lady Liberty, Columbia