1917 Fuhr Propaganda Map, World War I Sugar Rationing

Sugar means ships. The consumption of sugar sweetened drinks must be reduced... - Main View

1917 Fuhr Propaganda Map, World War I Sugar Rationing


Requisitioning the sugar industry.


Sugar means ships. The consumption of sugar sweetened drinks must be reduced...
  1917 (undated)     15.25 x 18.25 in (38.735 x 46.355 cm)


A striking c. 1917 propaganda piece from the First World War era, this illustration was drawn by Ernest Fuhr for the United States Food Administration to encourage sugar rationing. The American sugar addiction, which relied on huge fleets to transport raw sugar from tropical ports in the West Indies, significantly reduced the number of oceangoing transport ships that could be commandeered for the war effort - leading to proactive domestic encouragement of rationing.
A Closer Look
The illustration depicts a young woman imbibing a sugary drink through a straw. The bottom of the cup from which she drinks is open, allowing ships carrying sugar to be sucked into the cup instead of proceeding to Europe along with other supply ships. A dark cloud hangs in the background with the words 'War' and 'Hurry!' appearing within it. Text explains that 400 million pounds of sugar were imported to the U.S. the previous year, on ships which could otherwise support the war effort.
The United States Food Administration
Established by Executive Order on August 10, 1917, the United States Food Administration was tasked with the production, distribution, and conservation of food within the U.S. for the duration of the war. The agency was largely defined by its leader, future U.S. President Herbert Hoover. At the start of World War I (1914 - 1818), Hoover was a successful mining executive living in London. When tens of thousands of Americans (many of them tourists) fled the continent to England trying to return home, Hoover organized a committee to help manage their travel, often by forwarding loans to cover their expenses. This work got the attention of the American Ambassador to the U.K., who asked Hoover to establish another committee to provide food relief to Belgium, which was suffering a terrible food shortage following German invasion. Overcoming both logistical and diplomatic challenges, the Commission for Relief in Belgium negotiated with both sides in the conflict to deliver food (mostly American flour) through the British blockade and even through German lines.

This work made Hoover a natural choice to handle food related issues on the Home Front once the United States entered the conflict in 1917. Hoover agreed on the condition that the agency was given wide authority and autonomy, which it exercised to great effect. To encourage food rationing through voluntary means, the Food Administration employed memorable slogans ('meatless Mondays,' 'wheatless Wednesdays') and dramatic propaganda illustrations such as that seen here, distributed by an army of volunteers, mostly women, in public venues. The agency also regulated prices and established a Grain Corporation to buy and sell foodstuffs. These efforts allowed the U.S. to continue to feed its population while also shipping millions of tons of food to Europe to support troops and civilians.

Hoover became a well-known public figure and the darling of progressives, who saw him as the apex of bureaucratic planning and efficiency. Though he unsuccessfully ran for president in 1920, he became Commerce Secretary in the Harding-Coolidge Administration, setting him up for a successful presidential run in 1928.
Publication History and Census
This illustration was produced by Ernest Fuhr in 1917 or 1918 and printed by the Carey Printing Company for the U.S. Food Administration. It is sometimes erroneously attributed to Jonas Lie, an illustrator who produced similar wartime propaganda works. Eleven institutions are listed as holding this piece in the OCLC. In addition, it is held by the University of Alabama, the Perkins School for the Blind, the Emil A. Blackmore Museum of The American Legion, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Ernest Fuhr (1874 - 1933) was an American illustrator and artist active in and around New York City. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York and in Paris at the Academie Colarossi, and William Merritt Chase and Thomas Eakins were among his teachers. He was known for his illustrations that appeared in the New York Herald, New York World, and other newspapers and magazines, as well as the propaganda pieces he drew during the First World War. More by this mapmaker...

The Carey Printing Company (c. 1898 - 1921) was a New York City-based publisher located on Vanderwater Street in Lower Manhattan. It was founded by Peter M. Carey, who had previously managed another print shop in the city. When the company commenced operation in 1898, it was heralded as having an especially spacious printing plant that employed the most advanced machinery. The firm specialized in printing posters, including propaganda posters during the First World War, and weekend supplements for major newspapers in New York City. Given the ephemeral nature of the company's output, few of its works survive in institutional collections, the better part being those produced to support the war effort in 1917 - 1918. Learn More...


Excellent. Minor paper texture/buckling inĀ smallĀ areas.


OCLC 51119062, 51040576, 10215104, 1135198817.