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San Antonio Public Library Winds and Words of War WWI Poster Exhibit to Leave for Two- Year Tour of Europe

The Bexar County Commissioners Court commitment to the history of this community and its military legacy is demonstrated by its sponsorship for the European tour

The 40 WWI propaganda prints, with educational materials relating to San Antonio, Texas’ role in the Great War, will arrive at their first stop in Berlin, Germany early next month and end their tour in fall of 2018 at the Museum of the Great War in Meaux, France. There the museum will highlight lectures and activities honoring the Centennial of the Armistice, ending the Great War, on November 11th, 2018. Winds and Words of War, prepared by Curator and Exhibition Manager Allison Hays Lane, Director, OLANA GROUP, will travel internationally for over 21 months and has found new relevance and important significance in the stirring images and words of these early 20th century American artists and illustrators. “These prints used for propaganda purposes, to unite the country behind the war effort, were the social media of their day in a pre-radio and television era. These topics, such as support the troops, give a vet a job or helping refugees, resonate as clearly today as they did 100 years ago,” said Hays Lane.

In 2006, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation undertook the tedious task of sifting through the archives and collection of former Texas senator Harry Hertzberg, where they discovered hundreds of vintage propaganda prints and posters from the First World War. The following year, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation began a to tour and promote the collection of vintage lithographs. The prints had not been seen in public since the 1930s and featured imagery from various famous artists of the day. With seed money support of the Veterans Administration in San Antonio, The Tobin Endowment, and Mr. and Mrs. Louis Stumberg, the San Antonio Public Library Foundation successfully landed a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Traveling Masterpiece grant to showcase the work and travel to other libraries and museums around the country.

Since the show opened at the Chicago Public Library in November 2008, The Winds and Words of War has traveled to Utah, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, New York, Maryland and all over Texas. Over 150,000 school groups and adults have seen the exhibition and its programs.

To make the tour possible, Bexar County has provided $225,000 over three years for the exhibit to travel to Europe. “We are grateful to the Bexar County Commissioners Court for their generous support and underwriting of this European tour that allows us to showcase San Antonio Public Library’s resources around the world,” said Ramiro Salazar, Director of the San Antonio Public Library.

“As we approach San Antonio’s Tricentennial, this is a perfect time to tell San Antonio’s unique cultural and historical story,” said Salazar.

San Antonio and Bexar County were extremely important to the war effort. Over one-tenth of the soldiers deployed to the Western Front during WWI was trained and came through San Antonio’s military bases. San Antonio also played a major role in the development of the burgeoning Air Force.

“It is with great pride that the San Antonio Public Library and the Library Foundation shares this collection of WWI posters with the international community,” said Tracey Bennett, President of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation. “World War I played a major role in the growth and economic prosperity of San Antonio during the war and for decades afterward. We feel very strongly that the story of the American response to the war needs to be told overseas on the ‘front lines’ of where the story began.”

For more information about the San Antonio Public Library Foundation visit saplf.org. Visit the catalog at mysapl.org to check out a digital copy of The Winds and Words of War exhibit. 

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