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"The first three!" Lithograph by Kidder, 1918.

The First Three

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My latest Flickr album – Sweet 16 – A Golden Birthday for Flickr Commons – celebrated the 16th birthday of the Flickr Commons. When I was looking for images for the Flickr album, the photo below showed up in my search results, as the caption tells us that the bus made sixteen round trips daily:

A Busy Day on the Red Cross Bus Line. Photo from the American National Red Cross Collection, November 1918.

From the American National Red Cross Collection, this November 1918 photo shows a bus in London that carried wounded soldiers to Queen Mary’s Hospital in the Roehampton section of London. The hospital specialized in the rehabilitation of those who lost limbs in World War I.

Looking closely at the photo, I noticed a poster that I knew was a part of the poster collection housed in the Library’s Prints & Photographs Division:

Detail of A Busy Day on the Red Cross Bus Line. Photo from the American National Red Cross Collection, November 1918.

The poster, titled “The First Three!” includes portraits of the first three American soldiers killed in the war: Private Merle Hay, Private Thomas Enright, and Corporal James Gresham. They died in November of 1917.

“The first three!”. Lithograph by Kidder, 1918.

Here we see the bus making another stop on its route:

“All aboard” For the Red Cross “Bus”. Photo from the American National Red Cross Collection, November 1918.

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Comments (5)

  1. Spectacular find, Jan. Many thanks for posting the photo and the poster.

  2. Thank you for your research and sharing this poster and photos. They are a reminder that: “Sometimes the enormity of war overwhelms the truth that all great struggles are just the sum of individual stories. Each is more than just the story of one soldier’s service and sacrifice. Their service ripples across their families, friends, and communities…..” (James Jay Carafano James Jay Carafano is Senior Counselor to the President and E.W. Richardson Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Carafano, a 25-year Army veteran with a master’s and doctorate from Georgetown University)

  3. I love these types of finds!

  4. Jan, I find it so powerful when you dig out examples of how posters were used when they were created. Kudos on another thought-provoking post!

    • Thanks Cheryl! Stay tuned in March for more posters in context.

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