“Blood or Bread” was one of many posters issued during World War I to encourage support of the war. This poster was illustrated by Henry Raleigh in 1918. According to the Documenting the American South Society, Raleigh was known to be one of the highest paid illustrators in America. This poster was commissioned by the United States Government Food Administration to advocate for conservation of food resources for overseas allies. It depicts an image of a shirtless man carrying a wounded man on a battlefield, reminding the home front of the wartime necessity of rationing. The poster includes the caption:
“Blood or bread
Others are giving their blood
You will shorten the war
save life if you eat only what
you need and waste nothing.”
The conservation message was clear: “Food will win the war. Waste nothing” (McCowen, 2017) Wilson and others in the administration worried about the toll on morale that forced rationing would take, so these organizations acted to coax Americans into voluntarily cutting back rather than directing them by law. Homemakers (and even schoolchildren) were asked to sign pledges to conserve food and eat less meat, wheat, sugar, and fats, and peer pressure—Hang your sign in the window! Wear your pin!—applied the heat to keep promises. The poster was created and reproduced as a lithographic print at the time of it’s distribution.
WWI, poster, United States Food Administration, United States Government, lithographic print, Henry Raleigh