Advertising In A WWI POW Camp Magazine


Here’s a little bit of vintage advertising for a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
I came across this post on BoingBoing where a user submitted scans for two WWI/II era documents. The first was his grandfathers’ WWII engineering journal, complete with illustrations (he was a phenomenal sketch artist), and then second was the first edition of a magazine produced INSIDE a WWI camp for English POWs in Germany. The whole piece is a great read, being both touching and funny(at times). Above all, it is definitely British…. really, really British. The thing that struck me first though were the advertisements found in the magazine. Posted above is the first page of ads, with my favorite being:

“Boots!Boots!Boots!
(To say nothing of shoes and clogs!)
Small repairs done! Very neat work. Small patches a specialty.
W.Chapman, Barrack 8, Loft S.”

He used a strong, attention grabbing headline, followed with a bit of humor letting the reader know he repairs all types of shoes, not just boots. He then goes on to state what his specialty is, which just so happens to be something that every soldier had on their uniform(small patches). Great work! Another one of note is for the barber:

“Try the RUSSIAN BARBER in Barrack 11.
All the Barrack likes him. You will like him too.”

They used a larger font to call out that he wasn’t just any old barber, but specifically a Russian barber(does that mean he gives better haircuts? Is cheaper?). They also put his location in bold, so that if you didn’t remember much, you’d probably still recall that there was a well liked Russian barber in Barrack 11. The other ad-laden pages can be viewed here and here.

You can view the rest of the magazine here. (Or on the original Flickr page here.) There is also an article, which gives a good background of Sol Geduld(the man who saved the magazine/was a prisoner) and how his grandson came across the documents. For even more information, there is an interesting book written by another Ruhleben prisoner that does a good job of describing the experience that Sol Geduld most likely went through. That can be found here.

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