Gee!! I Wish I Were a Man
With these famous words Bernice Smith immortalized herself in American history. In 1917, as America entered World War I, thousands of young men rushed to join the Army, Marines, or Navy. Bernice Smith was an energetic 20-year-old woman who stopped by her local California recruiting office and was very interested in signing up with the U.S. Navy. Upon seeing all of the young men enlisting in the Navy, Bernice suddenly blurted out the words, "Gee I wish I were a man, I'd join the Navy." Little did Bernice realize that also present at the recruiting station was one of America's most famous illustrators, Howard Chandler Christy. Christy had done many illustrations for various magazines over the years, but with the outbreak of the war, he was asked by the government to develop a series of military recruitment posters. Howard Chandler Christy (1873 - 1952) was an American artist who worked for many magazines but he is also well know for his contributions to the war efforts through his poster art. This was the first time sex appeal was used in a recruiting poster.