A Brief History of the Poster
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This is the most famous American poster of all time. Few people know that it is a self-portrait of the artist, one of the leading illustrators in America. Flagg's riveting stare was dubbed by one observer as "mobilization by shame": there was no escaping this Uncle Sam. It was the most effective recruiting poster of all time, being reused in World War II and Vietnam.
Most people also don't know that this poster was a borrowed concept. It was taken from a British poster done three years earlier by Alfred Leete, who portrayed the head of the Army in a similar pose, with the headline "Your country needs you." Leete's poster was so effective that the concept was copied by almost every other combatant in the war.
In 1914 a weekly magazine, London Opinion, published a design by Alfred Leete featuring a picture of Lord Kitchener on the cover. Leete's design was later adapted by The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee and used as a poster to help recruit soldiers to fight for Britain in World War I.
The metamorphosis of a poster. The original magazine cover was created by Alfred Leete and depicts Britain’s Lord Kitchener.
Did Alfred Leete sue?