Posters
by Richard McKinstry

While words are predominant on broadsides, pictures are supreme on posters. Whoever coined the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" may not have been thinking of posters, but he or she still provided an apt description of them. Posters were found in antiquity when individuals in Pompeii and other cities and towns used them for such purposes as announcing combat by gladiators and local electioneering. When movable type was invented, posters began to be produced in quantity, and after chromolithography was invented, they were truly appreciated as fine art. As with many printed items, posters in the United States developed in tandem with two events, the burgeoning economy of post-Civil War times, which required vehicles for advertising, and the evolution of printing processes. Over the years posters have been used for propaganda purposes and have included many now famous depictions during wartime. In the United States, James Montgomery Flagg's work came to the fore during World War I.

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