Search our collections

Advanced Search

Object: Poster, ’The Hun - his Mark’

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Poster, ’The Hun - his Mark’
Production St. John, James Allen (artist), 1917, United States
Brett Litho. Co. (printing firm), 1917, United States
United States Treasury Department (publisher)
Medium summary Mylar-encapsulated paper poster
Materials ink, paper, Mylar (TM)
Classification political posters
Dimensions Overall: 1078mm (Height) x 707mm (Length)
Credit line Gift of Department of Defence, 1919
Registration number GH014069

A bloody handprint

This First World War loan poster was created by the United States Treasury Department to urge the American public to buy war bonds. War bonds were debt securities issued by various governments to finance their military operations and other expenses during the First and Second World Wars.

The wider campaign for American Liberty bonds combined exhortations for purchase with appeals to patriotism and conscience, especially in those retail bonds specifically marketed to the public. This particular example by James Allen St. John, who is today known as 'The Godfather of Modern Fantasy Art', plays on the stereotype of the barabaric German 'Hun', whose bloody handprint marks his guilt.

British and American Posters in New Zealand

This item is part of a collection of First World War posters sent to New Zealand as examples of British and American propaganda. From 1917-1919, the Dominion Museum (now Te Papa) collected such war material with the help of the New Zealand High Commissioner in London and the Department of Defence. This particular poster arrived with the second batch of posters of over one hundred British and American war posters, sent by the High Commissioner in London via the Department of Internal Affairs in June 1919 and New Zealand War Records Section in London (Department of Defence).

The museum intended to collect and display such objects in a planned national war museum in Wellington which never eventuated. Instead, the museum toured over 100 war posters around New Zealand in the early 1920s in the context of increasing commemoration of the war during peacetime. For many, the posters illustrated important aspects of the war and the history of New Zealand's part in the war. This commemorative function was far removed from their original function to encourage wartime contribution.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.