liberty and victory


For the last Woman Crush Wednesday of Women’s History Month, a meditation on the roles - real and symbolic - that American women have played in wartime propaganda. Click the images for information about the posters and the collections they come from. 


Queen Elizabeth’s Pocket Pistol

Built in Utrecht in 1544 by Jan Tolhuys, Queen Elizabeth’s Pocket Pistol was a brass cannon presented as a gift to English King Henry VIII’s daughter, future Queen Elizabeth I. Measuring 24 feet in length, the cannon fired a 4.75 inch, 10 pound cannonball at a range of 2,000 yards. Legends at the time stated its range was 7 miles, some even claiming that from Dover it could fire on the shores of France if properly aimed. Of course such claims are nothing more than early 17th century humbuggery. The cannon is decorated with engravings of fruit, flowers, grotesques, and figures symbolizing Liberty, Victory and Fame. There is also a Tudor coat of arms which includes a verse in Dutch, which translates in English as “Break, tear every wall and rampart, Am I called, Across mountain and valley, pierces my ball, By me stricken”. Queen Elizabeth’s Pocket Pistol was used exstensivley during the English Civil War, often trading hands between Parliamentarian and Royalist forces. Today the cannon is found on display st Dover Castle. A replica is on display at the Museum Buren en Oranje.

Even after World War I was over, the American government decided that it needed one more bond drive to raise enough cash to tie up any loose ends. Dubbed the Victory Liberty Loan parade, the party visited New York City in May of 1919 and set up a huge display of American guns and various pillars and pyramids smack in the middle of Madison Avenue. Pyramids made of the helmets of (presumably dead) German soldiers.