Keep Them Smiling by Norman Rockwell
November 9, 1918 Issue of The Literary Digest
Keep Them Smiling, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Literary Digest published November 9, 1918.
Another commonly used title for this work is Soldier, Sailor, and Commander.
Rockwell's illustration depicts three World War I servicemen, two soldiers and a sailor.
This was Rockwell's second illustration to appear on the cover of The Literary Digest. Starting in 1918 with the first cover, Boy Showing Off Badges to the last, The Night Before Christmas in 1923, The Literary Digest featured Rockwell artwork on its cover a total of forty-seven times.
The location of the original oil on canvas painting is not known.
This painting has also been reproduced in Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt on page 48.
Keep Them Smiling
These characters are all smiling.
Keep Them Smiling was only one of 47 Norman Rockwell Literary Digest covers; here is the list of more Norman Rockwell Literary Digest scans.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
We are then reminded how to keep them smiling. The subtitle "By Subscribing Every Dollar You Can Spare To The United War Work Campaign" in red letters was probably added by The Literary Digest editors. No doubt, this was done with Rockwell's approval.
The middle soldier, the Commander, appears older than the sailor or soldier on either side. Rockwell painted him taller than his compatriots by almost a head with his hands on their shoulders. The serviceman in the middle looks like a father or big brother figure to his younger friends.
Why would Norman Rockwell paint soldiers smiling?
When this issue of The Literary Digest was published, World War I was winding down. Germany had asked for an armistice on October 4, 1918. The German Kaiser had abdicated his throne in early November. And on November 11, 1918, two days after this publication date, hostilities officially ceased between the United States and Germany.
No wonder Norman Rockwell painted the soldiers and sailor smiling!
World War I was practically over when this was painted.
The magazine still carried the notice to the reader informing how to donate a copy to a soldier or sailor overseas. The notice appears in the upper
The notice reads as follows:
NOTICE TO READER: When you finish reading
Late 1918 was a happy time for America. Even though the terrible memory of war still permeated people's consciousness, peace was at hand. Norman Rockwell captured the spirit of hope with Keep Them Smiling...
Copyright © 1918 The Literay Digest and Funk & Wagnalls Company
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