This year we have special and moving cause to be grateful and to rejoice. God has in His good pleasure given us peace. It has not come as a mere cessation of arms, a mere relief from the strain and tragedy of war. It has come as a great triumph of right. Complete victory has brought us, not peace alone, but the confident promise of a new day as well in which justice shall replace force and jealous intrigue among the nations.
— President Woodrow Wilson, from Proclamation 1496—Thanksgiving Day, 1918, issued November 16, 1918
Thanksgiving Day 1918 provided Americans special occasion for thankfulness, coming so soon on the heels of the Great War’s end on November 11. A time at family gatherings ”to be grateful and to rejoice” the peace to follow ’the war to end all wars.’
Today, I feature two posters from 1918 that struck me by their timeless resonance.
Artist Lucien Jonas’ poignant graveside scene below pictures two grieving children under the steadfast care of an Allied soldier. Created for the American Ouvroir Funds, a charitable umbrella organization to provide for French war orphans, its vignette and title hearkens back to America’s gratitude to France during the Revolutionary War while promising to fallen French comrades that ”your children shall be as our children:”
On a lighter (dietary) note, the practical reminder of this 1918 United States Food Administration poster to “Eat less” while being thankful for abundance great enough to share is apt for all times:
In gratitude to our readers, Happy Thanksgiving!
- Revisit posts from Thanksgivings past from Picture This:
- The preeminent illustrator Charles Dana Gibson led the federal government’s Division of Pictorial Publicity, a unit of the Committee on Public Information. Heeding Gibson’s call to “Draw ’til it hurts,” the exhibition World War I: American Artists View the Great War features selected works by leading American artists that galvanized public interest in the war.
- View the full text of Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation, part of The American Presidency Project, University of California, Santa Barbara.