WWII and the Human Experience: The Patrick M Rowe Collection

Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts

BUY WAR BONDS, attributed to N.C. Wyeth, 1942, United States Government Printing Office.

United States Flag, January, 1944. United States Navy Ensign. Inscription: US ENSIGN / NO 9 / MARE ISLAND / JAN 1944 (along the hoist of the flag [i.e., the border of the flag nearest to the flagpole]). Collection of Patrick M. Rowe

United States Service Flag, 1942-1945. Inscription : MEMBERS OF ST. MICHAELS SOCIETY / SERVED OUR COUNTRY (The letters are appliqued against the front field of the flag). One gold star and 54 blues stars (39 on the front and 15 on the back) are in the fields of this flag. In addition, the numbers 105 and 1 are shown in the front field. What these numbers signify is not clear.

THIS IS A V HOME. c. 1942. Artist: unknown.

United States Service and Victory Flag, 1942-1945. Inscription: none.

United States Service Flag, 1942-1945. Inscription: none. Set against the field of this flag are two appliqued blue stars and a red cross. The red cross indicates that a member of the family is serving as a doctor, nurse, medic, or corpsman.

…because somebody talked!, Wesley, 1944, United States Government Printing Office.

SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS / G.I. BONDS, 1944. Artist: Alberto Vargas.

“Deliver us from evil” / BUY WAR BONDS. 1943. Artist: Harriet Nadeau.

The more WOMEN at work the sooner we WIN! 1943. Artist: unknown.

BLOOD DONORS are needed urgently to save these lives / THE ARMY BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICE, Abram Games, c. 1942, published by Her Majesty’s Stationary Service for the Army Transfusion Service, printed by W. R. Royal and Son, Ltd., London. Because of his poster designs, Abram Games is recognized as one of the greatest graphic artists of the twentieth century. Describing the propaganda impact of his graphic designs, Games stated, “I wind the spring and the public, in looking at the poster, will have that spring released in its mind.”

The five Sullivan brothers “missing in action” off the Solomons / THEY DID THEIR PART. 1943. Artist: unknown. On January 3, 1942, the Sullivan Brothers joined the United States Navy with the agreement that all five siblings would serve together. Although there was a military policy stipulating that siblings were to be separated while in the service, this rule was ignored. Tragically, all five of the brothers, George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert, died on the light cruiser USS Juneau when it was sunk in the South Pacific on November 13, 1942.

United States Service Flag, 1942-1945. Inscription: none. The stars on this flag indicate that, as was the case with the Sullivan brothers, five members from the family were serving in the military during the war.

United States Navy Union Jack, 1944. Inscription : UNION JACK / No. 6 / MI 44 (stamped along the hoist). The United States Navy Union Jack is a military flag that was flown from the vertical staff (the jackstaff) at the bow of the ship. During World War II, its design consisted simply of the canton (the blue rectangle with white stars) of the United States Navy Ensign. Normally, the Union Jack was raised when the ship was docked at port, and as soon as the ship left the dock it was taken down. The Union Jack was also flown when the ship was anchored at sea or dressed for a special occasion.

A careless word… …A NEEDLESS SINKING. 1942. Artist: Anton Otto Fischer.

Rayon Nightgown and parachute, 1944. This is the nightgown made from the cloth from SSgt Thomas H. Rowe’s World War II parachute. In the background is a remnant of a United States Army Air Force Parachute. This parachute was used by Staff Sergeant Thomas H. Rowe while flying missions over occupied France, Belgium, and Germany during World War II. After being honorably discharged from the military, SSgt Rowe retained his parachute and gave it to his mother who used the cloth to make a nightgown for his fianc.e, Dorothy M. Johnson. Because of the shortage of quality fabric during and after the war, it was a common practice by many of the soldiers who served in the Army Air Force to reuse parachute cloth to make both nightgowns and wedding dresses for their brides-to-be.

Ours…to fight for / FREEDOM FROM FEAR. 1943. Artist: Norman Rockwell.
In order to finance military operations and constrain inflation during World War II, the United States government sold defense bonds. Popular musicians, Hollywood stars, and famous artists used their talents to encourage citizens to “Buy Bonds.” During the war, Norman Rockwell, one of the most renowned artists of that era, created a series of paintings to promote this cause. The most successful of his paintings were the Four Freedoms. The inspiration for these paintings was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union address on January 6, 1941. In his speech, Roosevelt articulated the four basic freedoms that people of all countries should have the right to enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These are the subjects illustrated by Rockwell. After the completion of the paintings, they were sent on an exhibition tour around the country, raising over 132 million dollars for the war effort. They were also reproduced in The Saturday Evening Post and subsequently transposed into different size posters that were distributed to citizens all across the nation. Because of their wide spread popularity, by the end of World War II over 4 million of the posters had been produced by the government.

Ours…to fight for / FREEDOM FROM WANT. 1943. Artist: Norman Rockwell.

SAVE FREEDOM OF WORSHIP / BUY WAR BONDS. 1943. Artist: Norman Rockwell.

SAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH / BUY WAR BONDS. 1943. Artist: Norman Rockwell.

Letter written by Thomas H. Rowe, Staff Sergeant, United States Army Air Force from the Collection of Patrick M. Rowe, Thomas H. Rowe’s son. Spelling has been regularized in the transcription.

Letter written by Thomas H. Rowe, Staff Sergeant, United States Army Air Force from the Collection of Patrick M. Rowe, Thomas H. Rowe’s son. Spelling has been regularized in the transcription.

Feb 17 1945
My Sweetest Darling,
How are you today honey? Fine I hope. There’s been no mail for quite a spell. Can’t understand it. But I guess one of these days he’ll be presenting me with a bag full of letters and boxes. Spring has set in and it’s a relief to be rid of the cold winter weather. It’s just perfect for walks in the country.
As for news, well there just isn’t any. Life is dull and fast becoming routine. At last my table has become complete. My writing still hasn’t improved I’m afraid. Guess I’m just a scribbler at heart. We’ve got a speaker hooked up to a neighbor’s radio and it sure livens up the tent. Tonight we heard Abbot and Costello in their usual run of corn and enjoyed it very much. Now we’re waiting for the hit parade. We get them a few weeks behind I believe. Last week we still had the, “Trolley Song,” first. The birthday present that Ruthie and Suzie sent me are on my table. The bottles are cute and the cologne smells good. Everybody envies them. And this is some of Aunt Laura’s stationery I’m writing on.
You know honey there’s something I’m hungry for that you can’t get over here for love nor money. And that’s mayonnaise. So if you could manage to acquire a large jar of white mayonnaise I sure would appreciate it. Could you hun; huh, please. Nothing more that I have a yen for at present except you darling. But then I always have a desire for you. Cause I love you and find it hard to have to be so far from where my mind is. No matter where I go my thoughts are of you dearest. All my dreams are for us not just me. They include only two people honey, you and me. I send you all my love. I will always love you darling forever and ever.
All my love
Tommy
PS I love you

United States Service “Welcome Home” Flag, c. 1945. Inscription: BULL DOG BUNTING (stamped along the hoist [i.e., the border of the flag nearest to the flagpole]).

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