Most of the United States will “spring forward” this weekend, as we enter Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. – which will immediately become 3:00 a.m. – Sunday morning. Many of us have never known a time when we didn’t go through the biannual ritual of springing forward an hour in the spring, and falling back an hour in the fall. The exact date of the change has moved a few times, but since 1942, we’ve been “saving daylight”.
This lively poster in our collection dates from an earlier, short-lived experiment in Daylight Saving Time. In 1918, a wartime Uncle Sam, armed with rifle and hoe, welcomes one extra hour of daylight. The small figure representing the hour of daylight is dressed in a U. S. Army uniform, and trades a human face for a clock face. Posters such as this eye-catching one were an important visual means of communication in an era before television and the Internet.
In March 1918, the United States adopted Daylight Saving Time, with a goal of saving energy during World War I. Repealed in August 1919, Daylight Saving Time would not be observed nationally again until 1942, with the U.S. embroiled in another world war.
In the poster at right, a grateful Uncle Sam sends away the hour of extra daylight in October, now wearing a War Service ribbon to mark his part in the war effort.
But we can worry about losing daylight in the fall. For now, with spring fast approaching, we will soon get to enjoy a bit more sunshine at the end of the day!
- The poster above will be part of the upcoming Library of Congress exhibit: Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I. The exhibit will open April 4, 2017.
- Explore more of the Prints and Photographs Division’s World War I era posters.
- United Cigars was active in the U.S. war effort, and produced these posters about Daylight Saving Time, as well as a third poster issued before the bill passed, urging supporters to lobby their congressmen in favor of “saving daylight” using a pre-printed postcard. Other World War I posters sponsored by the company exhorted Americans to buy liberty bonds and support the troops.
- Read more about Daylight Saving Time in two entries from other Library of Congress blogs:
- In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress focused on the legislative history in Spring forward, fall back – it’s daylight saving time.
- Teaching with the Library of Congress gives tips for using primary source documents to work with students in World War I and Daylight Savings Time.