Can You Drive a Car? Will You Drive One in France? Immediate Service at the Front!


This World War I poster shows the proud figure of Liberty strongly fending off Death as she protects a wounded soldier, who rests on the back of a vehicle. It was used to recruit American ambulance drivers for service at the front in France. The American Field Service (AFS) originated in 1914, shortly after the outbreak of war, when young Americans living in Paris began volunteering to drive ambulances at the American Hospital of Paris. Members of the AFS were present at every major battle in France and carried more than 500,000 wounded during World War I. By the end of the war, 2,500 men had served in the AFS alongside the French armed forces. This poster is by Charles Dana Gibson (1867–1944), a Boston-born artist best known for the “Gibson girl,” the attractive and independent young American woman that graced the cover of such magazines as Life, Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s, and Collier’s around the turn of the century. During World War I, Gibson produced posters for the AFS, the U.S. Navy, and other organizations involved in the war effort.

Last updated: August 18, 2014