World War One Navy Recruiting Posters

A constant theme throughout the history of the United States is the need for manpower for the armed services. To this end, there have always been recruiting efforts and the most simple and straight forward of these has been the poster. No matter which era they are from, they repeat a common message – do your duty and serve your country because only through your help can we win. Over the next few weeks, I will be providing some examples of these recruiting posters as they pertain to the Navy.

The following posters are from World War One and feature images by artist Howard Chandler Christy playing upon the allure of woman’s admiration.

“I Want You for The Navy” World War I Navy Recruiting Poster by artist Howard Chandler Christy, 1917.

“Gee!! I Wish I Were A Man” Navy Recruiting Poster by artist Howard Chandler Christy, issued in 1917.

Mrs. E. LeRoy Finch, of Port Washington, New York. Accepts a plaque from Captain Robert L. Latta, senior Navy recruiter in New York City, during a ceremony at the home of her daughter, 30 January 1977. The plaque recognizes her long-time assistance to the Navy’s recruiting efforts. Mrs. Finch was the model for the World War I Howard Chandler Christy recruiting poster “Gee!! I Wish I Were a Man”, a copy of which is also seen in this photograph.

Navy Yeomen (F) In New York City where they assisted in Navy recruiting and in putting the Victory Loan drive “over the top”, 8 May 1919. These “Yeomanettes” were stationed in Washington, DC. Note advertising structure built to resemble a battleship’s superstructure. In addition to its recruiting and Victory Loan signs, it features copies of the two Howard Chandler Christy recruiting posters: “I Want You for the Navy” and “Gee!! I Wish I Were a Man”.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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