WWI Poster preservation In Bridgeport CT

Grant to help library's WWI posters

JOHN BURGESON jburgson@ctpost.com

Article Last Updated: 01/02/2008 12:05:23 AM EST



Some of the posters in the Bridgeport Library Historical... (John Burgeson/Connecticut Post )«123»BRIDGEPORT — It takes more than guns, ships and soldiers to win a war. It also takes support on the home front.

During World War I, the "soldiers" that fought for the hearts and minds on the home front were posters, and one of the best collections of WWI government posters resides in the historical collections of the Bridgeport Public Library.


The library's 150 World War I posters will get a professional assessment thanks to a $3,625 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


The grant, announced by U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4, will pay for the services of a paper conservator who will assess each poster and make recommendations on how best to conserve them for future generations.


"This is only the first step," said Mary Witkowski, head of the library's historical collections. "This will only tell us how to go about preserving the collections for future generations."


She added that the actual preservation effort would likely require $100,000 or more.


The posters, nearly all in color, encouraged people to buy war bonds, to plant "liberty gardens" and to boost factory output. Others were created to entice young men to enlist and to instill patriotism.


"Bridgeport was the arsenal of democracy, and it was important to maintain public interest in the war effort," Witkowski said. "The idea here is to get them to the point where the public can see them and enjoy them."


The preservation expert will also take a look at a sketchbook drawn by a

Civil War soldier, Cpl. J.E. Shadek, a member of Company A, 8th Connecticut Volunteers.

His sketches are of battlefields, encampments and other views of the Union Army's Burnside Expedition.


"The sketches were beautifully executed, and really capture what it was like during the Civil War," she said. Years ago, a copy of one of the sketches was used to aid in the restoration efforts of a battlefield in the South, she said.


"The Bridgeport Public Library is a leader in preserving Bridgeport's history," Shays said, "and this NEH funding will allow future generations to appreciate these collections."

Delighted to read this. :armata_PDT_37:
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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