During World Wars I and II, when joining the Navy was not only an adventure but also a job, and when the Army taught you to soldier and didn't care much whether you could "be all that you can be," Americans took patriotism seriously. It was a time that brought out the best in artists hired to create recruiting and morale posters.
James Montgomery Flagg's finger-pointing Uncle Sam declaring "I want YOU" is probably the best known of the recruiting posters. But there were other favorites. A War Production Board poster ("We Can Do It") that featured a trim and muscular woman with sleeves rolled up encouraged women to work in factories and shipyards during World War II. Artist Howard Chandler Christy was the first to capitalize on youthful, feminine beauty as a lure to enlistment. His fetching "Christy Girl," outfitted in a Marine uniform, was only 16 years old at the time--later she became his wife. He also drew her in a sailor suit, with the caption declaring, "Gee! I wish I were a man--I'd join the Navy."
These posters and others, reproduced in full color by the National Archives, are available in two sets of eight 5-by-7-inch note cards. Frame them--tidier than plastering your walls with the posters--or write a nostalgic note to Dad, or One Who Served.
Wartime posters note cards. $2.75 a set. National Archives' Exhibition Hall, Constitution Avenue at Eighth Street NW. Or send a check for $3.25 payable to NATF Board (NEPS), to Cashier, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 20408.