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Placards and broadsides have been used since early times to promote ideas, activities, and business. Development in technology has made possible mass production of these materials. Lithography was available in the late 1700s and soon after chromolithography allowed the addition of color.

By the late 1800s many artists were earning revenue creating art for posters that could be mass produced for advertisement and entertainment. These work for these materials was of such a quality that it became to be considered an art form. Customizable space was available on the posters for carnivals and traveling circuses to promote events coming to local communities.

During World War I posters were used by the government as recruitment tools. Motion picture theaters began to use posters to promote openings. Sporting events like boxing matches and the Olympics utilized this form of promotion.

The Kansas Historical Society’s collections include fair posters, political broadsides, war recruitment posters, and movie posters.

World War I recruiting poster Melbourne the Ohio Rain Wizard  
World War I recruiting poster, 1991.10.1240 Melbourne the Ohio Rain Wizard poster, QC.9 Rai.1891 *2  

Entry: Posters

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2016

Date Modified: December 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.