When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, a means of communication was needed to encourage the public to support it. President Woodrow Wilson established the Committee on Public Information (CPI) and its offshoot, the Division of Pictorial Publicity (DPP).
Director George Creel and artist Charles Dana Gibson enlisted volunteers from some of the finest artists of the day to create posters to spread the word. These included Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Haskell Coffin (William Henry Coffin), Joseph Christian Leyendecker and Indiana native Gaar Williams. The subjects covered enlistment in the armed forces, conservation, industrial mobilization, subscriptions to Liberty Loans, and other patriotic duties. It was through the efforts of these talented individuals that the American public was made aware of the importance of the war.
The Indianapolis Public Library is fortunate to have in its possession over 200 of these posters. The majority of the collection came from Miss Elizabeth Hench, who was a teacher at Charles E. Emmerich Manual Training High School in Indianapolis.