Edward Penfield was a well-known artist and illustrator whose work appeared in many magazines including Harper's, Collier's, Scribner's, and The Saturday Evening Post. During World War I, he illustrated many American recruitment and propaganda posters.
War often affects the ability of countries to produce food. World War I created famine conditions in much of Europe, as large tracts of land became battlefields. Wheat and quality meats were at the top of the shortage lists.
In 1917, the United States Food Administration began a campaign to encourage the voluntary reduction in the consumption of certain foods. Wheat was one of the items that appeared on the food shortage list. The government did not want to appear as a dictatorship by demanding compliance. Therefore, a campaign appealing to the patriotism and conscience of the citizens was launched. Government agencies, local businesses, and educational institutions were solicited to help spread information on how to help conservation efforts.
Advertisements, like the one pictured here, were used to encourage and educate the general population on using wheat substitutes. Many communities adopted strategies like “Wheatless Wednesdays” which meant they served meals containing no wheat. The pamphlets, posters, and educational brochures included recipes using acceptable substitutes and other ways of reducing the consumption of the items in short supply.
How does war affect the economic systems of a region?
Check for Understanding
Explain the need for posters like this during World War I.