A Celebration of Veterans and a New World War II Collection
11:45am flag raising, outside at 10-1/2 Beacon Street
12noon program with reception to follow
Join us to celebrate Veterans Day, the people in our community who have served in the armed forces, and an exciting development for the study of American military and cultural history: an award of nearly $123,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This federal government support will help us catalog and prepare for exhibition -- online and in our Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery -- 1,959 posters contained in the Richard W. Cheek World War II Graphic Arts Collection.
The Cheek collection at the Boston Athenæum contains thousands of posters and maps from the Second World War, as well as ephemeral material such as board games, playing cards, pin-ups, calendars, and other realia. The materials vigorously chronicle American culture of the mid-20th century and provide a visual and textual record of the country’s values, reflecting wartime attitudes about national identity and the nation’s role abroad. The posters, which dramatically document the role of domestic propaganda in civilian and military perceptions of war, offer the potential to engage scholars and school children alike.
The Cheek collection adds luster to the Boston Athenæum's reputation as a center for U.S. history research. The posters will join other special collections resources including the personal libraries of George Washington and Henry Knox, an extensive collection of Confederate imprints, and nearly 2,000 posters from the First World War.