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Arts & Culture

SA Public Library Showing Off A Time Capsule Of World War I Posters

An exhibit with an unusual origin opens at the downtown Central Library next week. The exhibit's curator, Allison Hays Lane, explains.

"We have over 40 wonderful, original World War I posters and prints that were found in the basement of the Hertzberg Museum," Lane said.

Lane was asked how that surprise find must have made those finding it feel.

“Almost like King Tut’s Tomb. I mean it was just wonderful!" she said.

Lane speaks in excited and reverential terms about the artists whose works comprise the "Winds and Words of War" collection.

"These were the leading graphic artists of their day," she said.

Pre-dating television and commercial radio, these posters were a big way the government communicated what they wanted the population to know. The collection features the famous "I Want You" Uncle Sam poster.

“This Uncle Sam imagery has been used time and time again -- it’s probably as iconic as Whistler’s Mother.”

Ms. Lane has arranged posters in thematic groupings, which includes a woman-themed wall.

“They knew what women looked like during that period," Lane said. "They were able to kind of convey that softness but at the same time portray this sense of power."

The "Winds and Words of War" opens to the public on Saturday and runs through November 24.