Boys and Girls! You Can Help Your Uncle Sam Win the War

Boys and Girls! You Can Help Your Uncle Sam Win the War, 1917

James Montgomery Flagg (American, 1877-1960)

Lithograph on paper

On loan from the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina

The war effort was not exclusively targeted for adults, as can be seen in this 1917 work by James Montgomery Flagg. Children were not exempt from contributing to the war and were encouraged to buy War Savings Certificate Stamps, a cheaper alternative to Liberty Bonds. Americans purchased the stamps at a face value of $4.12, which reached maturity of $5 on January 1, 1923. Thrift Stamps were sold at a price of 25¢ and enabled those with less available money to still support the government’s investment in the Great War. Thrift Stamps did not mature, thus they did not offer a return on investment for the purchaser. The targeted audience of children is fondly depicted here alongside their Uncle Sam, perhaps the strongest patriotic symbol in American advertising. Flagg was frequently commissioned for posters featuring his iconic rendering of Uncle Sam, thanks to the enormous success of his I Want You For U.S. Army, released earlier in the year.

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