The American Legion Poster Collection
Verna B. Grimm, The American Legion’s first librarian, began collecting war posters when she joined the national headquarters staff in 1923.
Grimm obtained most of the posters through private donations or by purchase from the American Library Service. She believed the collection held "important records of historical interest and of particular value to the student in future years."
In 1937, Grimm supervised an American Legion exhibit at the Indiana War Memorial that included nearly 500 posters, along with American Legion badges, medals and other items reminiscent of the Legionnaires’ experiences in World War I.
Popular with Legionnaires and the Indianapolis community, the exhibit featured posters from around the world and offered glimpses of daily life during the first world war for younger visitors, as well as a chance for veterans to reminisce about their experiences with their families.
The exhibit, and Grimm's continuing efforts to collect items like posters and American Legion memorabilia, expressed her commitment "to preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the Great War," as stated in 1919 in the Preamble of the Constitution of The American Legion.
Grimm continued collecting posters through World War II, in addition to her other activities as director of the Library Division at American Legion National Headquarters, until her retirement in 1956.
Thomas V. Hull become Library Director in 1956 and continued to collect posters as opportunities arose. Today, The American Legion Poster Collection is part of the Emil A. Blackmore Museum collection and includes more than 3,800 posters, making it one of the largest collections of war posters in the United States.
Reproductions of some of The American Legion's collection of posters are on display at the headquarters buildings in Indianapolis and in the Washington, D.C. office.