Artifact of the Month

French World War I posterFrench World War I poster
Donated by Lonnie Walker

This 1918 poster was discovered in a trunk in an old hotel in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). The trunk, which contained posters, army manuals, maps, and letters, had belonged to 1st Lt. John Harold Lawson (1897-1966), who served with the Illinois 123rd Field Artillery 33rd Division during World War I. See another poster found in the trunk.

Designed to encourage French citizens to buy war bonds to help fund the war effort, artist Marcel Falter depicted a soldier strangling the Imperial eagle, a symbol of Germany. A German-style helmet is on the ground to the right of the soldier. World War I was fought largely in trenches, with the land in between the trenches known as "no man's land." That no man's land is visible behind the solider in the background. The slogan at the top of the poster reads, "Pour le suprême effort," or "For the greatest effort." At the bottom reads, "Emprunt National. Société Générale," or "National Loan. Societe Generale." [Societe Generale is the name of a bank.]

Following the war, John Lawson returned to his hometown of Kewanee, Illinois, where he lived with his mother while attending college. From 1938 to 1960 he and his wife, Leora, lived in Topeka, Kansas, where he worked as an accountant for Kansas Power and Light Company. Both John and Leora Lawson are buried in the Eureka Springs Cemetery.

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