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October 15, 2017

Howard Chandler Christy, “Fight or Buy Bonds, Third Liberty Loan

Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952 ),Fight or Buy Bonds, Third Liberty Loan, 1917, offset lithograph poster, 39 15/16 x 29 15/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Phillip M. Flammer.

On this date in 1924, the Statue of Liberty was proclaimed a national monument by President Calvin Coolidge. Commemorating the momentous event, this war poster shows a vigorous young American woman—symbolizing our energetic, youthful nation—attempting to galvanize public support for the war effort. All-American girls on posters like this one helped the success of the 1917-18 bond campaign, when Americans lent $21.5 billion to the United States government in support of World War I. The “Christy Girl” was mass-produced and even appeared attached to the lower wing of American fighter aircraft. When flying aces performed their feats for awestruck audiences, the image inspired enthusiasm for the purchase of war bonds. Christy, as a nationally recognized 'expert on beauty,' was invited to judge the first Miss America Pageant in 1921.