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“Buy More Liberty Bonds” 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. Henry Raleigh’s posters hailed the emotional, frenetic qualities of German Expressionism that valued eliciting emotion more so than depicting reality. Faces, subjects and environments are obscured in favor of a distorted, color driven subjective surreality. While the specific event and setting of this poster is unclear, the presiding emotional aura of the work is evident. A mother calls for her outstretching her arm, with infants clinging to her body. With the simple question slated to the right, “Must children die and mothers plead in vain?”. The image utilizes a strong sense of empathy with the plea, “Buy Liberty Bonds.” These propaganda posters were made to pull on the heartstrings of patriotic Americans into buying liberty bonds. Liberty Loans were bonds that the government sold so they could keep up with the expenses of war. These were sold back to the government after the war. The poster was created and reproduced as a lithographic print at the time of it’s distribution.


WWI, poster, Liberty Loans, War Bonds