Save the Serbians from Cholera


This World War I poster, issued in New York in 1918 to raise funds for the Franco-Serbian Field Hospital of America, shows the figure of Death reaching down from storm clouds to menace a devastated populace. Of all the belligerents on either side in the war, Serbia suffered the highest number of military deaths as a share of the population: 22.7 percent killed of all males between the ages of 15 and 47, and 5.7 percent killed of the total population. War-related casualties were compounded by the effects of the worldwide cholera pandemic, which ravaged both the Serbian army and the civilian population. This poster is by Boardman Robinson (1876–1952), a leftist Canadian-American artist and book illustrator who traveled to Europe in 1915 with the journalist John Reed, where he witnessed firsthand the effects of the war in Serbia, Russia, Macedonia, and Greece. Serbia was an ally of Great Britain, France, Russia, and, after the U.S. entry to the war in April 1917, the United States, and its plight elicited great sympathy with the American public.

Date Created

Subject Date



Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph ; 91 x 61 centimeters



  1. Bobst Library, New York University, Labor Arts, “Boardman Robinson (1876–1952),”
  2. Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
  3. John Reed, The War in Eastern Europe, Described by John Reed, Pictured by Boardman Robinson (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1916).

Last updated: February 10, 2014