Cautionary tales for WWII GIs

Cautionary tales for WWII GIs

The Medical Historical Library’s art collection includes graphic posters that warned soldiers and sailors of the dangers of venereal diseases.

She’s no idealized oil painting. The lines around the mouth tell you she’s been around the block. She might have stepped out of a dime detective novel, a wrong number who conned some farm boy into giving up his heart and his wallet. She is literally falling out of her too-tight dress. One hand rests on a cocked hip while a cigarette smolders in the other. Her hennaed hair is tightly curled. She arches a plucked brow and forms her rouged lips into a bitter pout.“Danger Disease Ahead!” the poster warns. Just in case the message is too subtle, a large orange banner at the bottom spells it out: “Gonorrhea Syphilis.” This unnamed woman was created to warn World War II servicemen about venereal disease (VD).The...


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