A Publication of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction
AMERICANS, DO YOUR BIT
WORLD WAR I IN POSTERS
Freemason Michael and his wife Katie made a major life change. They relocated to a new part of the country for
Katie’s job. It was an exciting time, full of possibility. A few months after the move, Katie had a fall. As she healed,
back pain developed. She was advised to pursue a conservative course of treatment including physical therapy
and injections. Katie did not get well. In fact, she developed a serious and rare complication called Cauda Equina
Syndrome. If not treated within a very short time, this syndrome presents an acute risk of permanent paralysis.
After the operation she lost the use of her right leg, and doctors were unsure if she would walk again. Recently,
there was some good news. A test showed that the nerves in Katie’s right leg are not completely damaged.
The physicians are optimistic she will be able to walk again—but it will take at least a year. The Grand Almoner’s
Fund is helping this deserving couple bridge the gap until Katie can contribute again financially. You can hear the
power of giving. She says "I cannot express how much the generous gift you and your Brothers have given to
Michael and me means. The compassion you showed us as we fell on hard times brings me to tears. Feelings of
gratitude overwhelm me. You have relieved so much angst and energy spent worrying, that I can now put that
toward my therapy. In physical therapy each day we go over my goals. To walk and shake your hand is now at
the top of my list. Michael and I feel extremely humbled and thankful to you and the Scottish Rite at this terrible
time in our lives."
“WHEN I CAN WALK AGAIN, I WILL WALK TO SHAKE YOUR HAND.”
In April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson noted, “It is a fearful thing to lead this
great peaceful people into war….” In spite of his misgivings, he asked Congress
to declare war on Germany. After hours of debate, legislators authorized the
measure. Americans were also divided in their support of joining the conflict.
To successfully fight the war, the U. S. government needed to overcome these
divisions and bring citizens together. For help the government turned to a group
of volunteer artists. These men and women deployed their enthusiasm and skill
to help sell the government’s messages in poster form. Before, during, and after
America’s participation in World War I the government and private organizations
printed more than 20 million posters to encourage citizens to donate money,
conserve food, and support war-related charitable efforts. A new exhibition,
"AMERICANS, DO YOUR BIT: WORLD WAR I IN POSTERS" opened at
the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA. It tells the story of Americans on
the home front during World War I through posters and other objects such as ID tags, uniforms, and souvenirs.
Archival materials featured include post cards and personal letters. More than 70 items drawn from the Museum
& Library collection will be on view. "AMERICANS, DO YOUR BIT" examines the powerful impact posters and
messaging had on the nation's citizens. From food conservation, to buying government bonds, to remembering
those lost, the millions of posters created during World War I served to create a sense of shared effort and
sacrifice throughout and after the war.
The exhibition coincides with the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into the WWI. It will be on view
through June 2018.