WWI Poster Exhibition at The Gallery at Still River Editions: "And They Thought We Couldn't Fight"


“And They Thought We Couldn’t Fight” is an exhibition of World War I Liberty Loan Posters from the private collection of Kenneth T. Dixon on view at The Gallery at Still River Editions from January 7 through March 29, 2019. There will be a free, public reception for the exhibition on Saturday, February 2 from 2 pm – 4 pm (with a snow date on February 9.)

During World War I, one third of the country’s population bought at least one Liberty Bond. The bonds were sold through massive publicity campaigns that appealed to the public’s sense of patriotism through the powerful visual medium of the poster. The lithographic posters show a wide array of illustration styles and bold lettering with slogans meant to stir the public into action to fund the war.

It was the dawning of mass-marketing and sophisticated propaganda. Twenty four billion dollars, two thirds of the war’s cost, was raised by 66 million transactions, in five bond drives that all exceeded projections.

Kenneth T. Dixon, who is a nationally recognized columnist for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group, began his collection as a child when he was given a gift of the poster from which the exhibit takes his name. He continued collecting posters as an adult after finding a trove in a bookstore near the State Capitol, where he was working as a reporter.

“I didn’t plan on collecting these, but I couldn’t let them go when I saw them,” says Dixon. “And the next thing you know, I had eighteen of them. Back in 1997, the centennial of The Great War was still 20 years away.”

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the last of the war bond drives, the Victory Liberty Loan.

There are fifteen posters from Dixon’s collection on view.