During World War I, many branches of the federal government used posters to urge Americans to support the war effort. In a time without radio, TV, or the internet, posters were an inexpensive way to deliver powerful messages to millions of people. The government hired well known artists to create designs that unified the American people.
Posters continued to be published during World War II, and new posters are still in production today. The National Archives holds close to 20,000 posters produced by military and civilian agencies.
In 1942, Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the Westinghouse Company's War Production Coordinating Committee to create a series of posters for the war effort. One of his designs became the famous "We Can Do It!" image—an image that in later years would become known as "Rosie the Riveter," although it was never given this title during the war.
Rosie the Riveter became a cultural icon, representing the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II and in turn became a symbol of feminism and women's economic power. The National Archives Store knows that you too have the "We Can Do It!" attitude, and we have just the line of apparel and gifts to let you proclaim it to the world! Purchases from the National Archives Store generate financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world.