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About the Collection - Famous Poster "I Want YOU - 1917"

I Want YOU – 1917

About The Collection

The Great War was, to some soldiers, an unlikely canvas. Craftsmen caught in the deadly-but-sedentary life of trench warfare would often pass the time by applying their peacetime trade to whatever materials they could scrounge. With simple tools they transformed spent shells, canteens, and leather belts into works of art.

Dr. Bruce Hunter was first introduced to trench art in 1997 in an antique store in Fort Collins, Colorado. He spotted a 37mm artillery shell that had been carefully engraved—likely with nothing more than a hammer and a sharp point—to commemorate the Battle of Verdun. Shortly thereafter, he began collecting trench art in earnest and his collection soon topped 400 pieces.

Trench Art and Unique Items from the Great War

Trench art offered an intimate window into a conflict that is often overlooked by Americans. As he collected, Dr. Hunter also researched, and he became increasingly concerned at how the Great War is remembered (or not remembered) in American society.

Even amongst military ephemera enthusiasts, trench art is not widely collected. As he continued his research, Dr. Hunter met several academics who had never even heard of these artifacts, but each of whom was immediately intrigued. .

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hunter to view and to learn more about collection, please call 603-924-6500, 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM EST, or contact him via email to bhunter@artofthegreatwar.info.

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Arts of the Great War Collection