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Evocative World War I poster designed by Maginel Wright Enright for the National War Garden Commission.

The poster is a striking piece of World War I-era propaganda that aimed to encourage American citizens to contribute to the war effort by planting, harvesting, and storing their own fruits and vegetables, thus allowing more resources to be sent to the troops overseas. The vivid illustration conveys a message of patriotic duty combined with the promise of peace.

Central to the poster is a figure presumably representing the American gardener, a woman dressed in overalls and a broad-brimmed hat, armed with a hoe over her shoulder, and carrying an American flag. This character appears as a personification of the home front effort, ready to toil the soil for the sake of national victory. Her confident stride and direct gaze suggest determination and the American can-do spirit.

Beneath the figure, a parade of anthropomorphized vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, and beets, march along joyfully, as if heading off to contribute to the war effort themselves. This whimsical portrayal of the vegetables serves to soften the serious message and make the act of gardening more appealing, especially to children and families.

The text "The Seeds of Victory Insure the Fruits of Peace" plays on the dual meaning of seeds both as the literal beginning of a garden and metaphorically as the actions that lead to a successful outcome. The message is clear: the labor of citizens at home directly influences the success of the nation's endeavors and the promise of future prosperity and peace.

Above the central image, the poster's title is bold and clear, emphasizing the importance of the 'War Garden,' known today as the 'Victory Garden.' This was a patriotic act as much as it was a practical contribution to the war effort, allowing for more resources to be diverted to the military.

The National War Garden Commission's address in Washington, D.C., is provided at the bottom, inviting the public to write in and receive a free book, presumably on how to start their own war garden. The inclusion of the Commission's president and secretary's names lends an official air to the poster, providing assurance that this was a national movement backed by a structured organization.

Maginel Wright Enright's poster is not just a call to action; it is a morale booster, implying that every American could contribute to the victory and peace of the nation. It remains a testament to the home front effort and national solidarity during World War I, encapsulating the spirit of an era when every individual's contribution was seen as vital to the collective goal.

Condition Description
Minor soiling at top corners and evidence of an old fold. Minor chip in outer margin at lower left.