This poster wants YOU to know about its artist

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June 18, On This Day

James Montgomery Flagg, 1915 | wikimedia

Born on June 18, 1877, exactly 144 years ago since today was American artist, comics artist and illustrator James Montgomery (or JM) Flagg. He is most iconically remembered for one of his political posters that still continues to be widely used in pop culture — the Uncle Sam recruitment poster to encourage young United States men to join the army in 1917, during World War I. Over 4 million copies were printed. The same image was eventually used by the US Army for World War II recruitment as well.

The London Opinion published poster: “Britons: Lord Kitchener Wants You. Join Your Country’s Army! God save the King.” Modern reproduction from IWM. | wikimedia

Flagg’s poster is said to be based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster of three years earlier. He apparently used a modified version of his own face for Uncle Sam, while reportedly a veteran named Walter Botts, a neighbor of Flagg, provided the pose.

Flagg’s famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster | wikimedia

The image shows Uncle Sam (initials US, a popular nickname for the US government) pointing at the viewer with the caption “I Want YOU for U.S. Army”. It was first created for the July 6, 1916, cover of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper with the headline “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?”

At his peak, Flagg was reported to have been the highest-paid magazine illustrator in America.

Uncle Sam with empty Treasury | wikimedia