Skip to main content

James Montgomery Flagg: Topics in Chronicling America

In the 1900s, James M. Flagg was a multi-faceted artist who became famous for his political posters. This guide provides access to materials related to "James Montgomery Flagg" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"Artist James Montgomery Flagg reproducing his famous 'Tell That to the Marines!' poster with the original model in front of the New York Public Library to aid in marine corps recruiting." August 21, 1918. The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, ND), Image 2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

An illustrator, author, fine artist, film writer, actor, playwright, and cartoonist, there are few artists as versatile as James Montgomery Flagg. He was renowned not only for his multi-faceted artistic talent but for his influence on the war recruitment effort, creating now-iconic images such as “Uncle Sam Wants YOU” and “Tell That to the Marines.” But above all Flagg was a humorist, employing his wit to commentate on everyday real-life situations. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

May 14, 1904 James Montgomery Flagg publishes “Tomfoolery,” a humorous book compiling various poems and illustrations.
July 1, 1905 Flagg follows up by publishing “If, A Guide to Bad Manners.”
1910 Flagg finds great success in illustration, earning $15,000 annually.
February 6, 1912 Flagg debuts his illustrated serial, “The Adventures of Kitty Cobb.” By now he is considered America’s most famous pen-and-ink artist.
March 1913 Flagg co-stars in an exclusive on-stage picture play.
April 20, 1913 Flagg begins a full-page serial, “It’s Risky to Want Things.”
June 1, 1917 The iconic war poster ‘Uncle Sam Wants YOU’ is circulated in Philadelphia with the Evening Ledger newspaper by the Evening Ledger wagons.
August 1, 1918 Flagg publicly paints his next famous poster, “Tell That to the Marines.”
October 19, 1918 Flagg promotes Spellacy’s gubernatorial campaign with a sketch. Flagg is now the highest-paid magazine illustrator in the United States.
January 1919 Flagg makes his film debut as the lead actor in “Perfectly Fiendish Flanagan.”