Columbia Calls. Enlist Now for U.S. Army


This World War I recruiting poster shows the symbolic figure of Columbia, a poetic name for and female personification of the United States, holding a U.S. flag and a sword while standing on top of a globe. In the lower right of the poster is the text of a patriotic poem, “Columbia Calls.” According to a story in the New York Times published on June 3, 1917, the design of the poster and the poem, both by Frances Adams Halsted (Mrs. E. Bayard Halsted), dated from 1916, when Halsted was convinced that war between Germany and the United States was inevitable. After the United States entered the war in the spring of 1917, the U.S. Department of War announced that it was purchasing 500,000 copies of the poster. Halsted pledged that the proceeds would go to the establishment of a home for the orphaned children of American soldiers and sailors. The illustration is by Vincent Aderente (1880–1941), an American muralist who was born in Italy. Aderente immigrated to the United States at a young age and worked in New York, Denver, Detroit and other U.S. cities.

Last updated: October 25, 2013