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Uncle Sam Wants You

J. Bolgiano & Son, Bolgiano's 100 Years (1918), Baltimore, MD, United States.

Today is Uncle Sam's Birthday. His origins are connected to the War of 1812 (much earlier than I ever imagined).

Meat packer Samuel Wilson shipped provisions to soldiers in barrels marked "U.S.," which soldiers jokingly referred to as being sent from their "Uncle Sam." It seems that war, patriotism and industry have always gone hand-in-hand.

The popular and most familiar depiction of this personification of the United States was used as a recruiting poster during the First World War. This seed catalog from 1918 from the Libraries' trade literature collection promotes growing vegetables to "solve the problem of the feeding of the nations." But it also appears as if Uncle Sam may be calling on this tomato farmer to set down his basket and join the patriotic soldier and sailor in the field's background.

Good luck, soldier.

Elizabeth Periale

The Uncle Sam Memorial Statue, (sculpture)

“Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner,” Harper’s Weekly, November 20, 1869, p.745. Wood engraving.

Uncle Sam on Wikimedia Commons

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