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Go Back If You Want to Fight!  Join the Marines Go Forward
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Howard Chandler Christy (1873–1952)
If You Want to Fight! Join the Marines, 1918
color lithograph
101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 in.)
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Historian Jordan A. Schwarz wrote that "the heroes of the Great War were its administrators of the home front . . . ingenious organizers, managers and publicists of 1917–1918 [who] rallied an unenthusiastic American citizenry to arms in support of a dubious European adventure." Posters such as Christy's were essential to this campaign and helped to solidify the nation's resolve to sustain a military-industrial effort of unprecedented scale.

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Biography of Howard Chandler Christy

Howard Chandler Christy began his career in the visual arts as a student of painting at the National Academy of Design in New York City, eventually turning chiefly to illustration. His work appeared in a number of magazines and books. These illustrations, as well as his sketches of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, earned Christy considerable public recognition and popularity. Perhaps his most enduring image is the famous "Christy girl," the idealized American woman of the 1910s and early 1920s. Among the works in which she was featured were World War I posters designed to encourage young men to enlist.

Christy also worked extensively in portraiture, producing the likenesses of important figures ranging from politicians to entertainers and members of high society. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions during and after his lifetime.

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