Friday Feature (on a Wednesday): WWII Newsmap Collection

Those who know our student worker Mike DiCianna know that he LOVES war-related archival material and history! He is working on the WWII news maps (MAPS Newsmap) collection and has written this post to get you as excited about this “Must-See” assortments of WWII news map posters.

We have rediscovered an important collection of World War Two history in the OSU Special Collections and Archive Research Center repositories. The WWII News maps (MAPS News map) collection is a window into how the U.S. Army kept us informed about the progress of the war in “real time”. These huge 3 X 4′ posters were published by the U.S. Army Information Branch weekly from 1942 until 1946 to inform and motivate American military personnel. The two-sided news maps include maps depicting the previous week’s events in the war as well as brief news items, photographs, and motivational graphics.

The collection includes 224 sheets of graphics, maps, and timely news about the United States involvement in the worldwide conflict. The news maps include both world maps and maps of local areas. Some provide cues for recognizing tanks, ships, and planes; information about enemy organization, equipment, and uniform insignia; highlights of service achievement; or graphics intended to inspire and motivate military personnel. After mid-1945, the news maps became more like promotional posters and you’ll see that the graphics and text are decidedly designed to promote the Army’s position, and are not exactly propaganda, but…

The posters were issued to military bases around the country, as well as governmental offices (such as congressional and senate). Our collection likely has its roots in the presence of both the ROTC and the Army Specialized Training Corps units at Oregon State College during WWII. One can visualize these posters being viewed by cadets and students during the dark days of WWII on the OSC campus. We were, after all, considered to be “the West Point of the West.”

  • Can you find more accurate history of WWII? Sure, but the value of these in perspective, point-of-view, and audience is great!
  • Can all these posters be viewed online? Yes, on the UNT Digital Library site.

However, nothing can replace being in the physical presence of these important WWII documents. This collection must be experienced in-person to really get the feel of what it was like to follow the progress of the war while on campus. This collection is a must-see for researchers and WWII historians.

The finding aid is live and you can find it several ways — take your pick!

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