Poster, Cleveland: Many Peoples One Language

Waves of non–English–speaking European immigrants flooded the cities of industrial America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Local governments and civic groups sought to encourage immigrants to learn to speak, read, and write English. This 1917 poster from the Americanization Committee of the Cleveland Board of Education was posted in schools in an attempt to reach immigrant parents through their children.
An appeal to attend free evening English classes appears on this poster in six languages : Italian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Polish, Yiddish, and English. Cleveland's factories, steel mills, port facilities, and assembly plants teemed with the new working–class arrivals from central and eastern Europe. On the eve of the American entry into World War I, nationalistic passions were rising and new immigrants were especially encouraged to "become American" by learning English and preparing for American citizenship.
The 29" x 43" poster is a J. H. Donahey publication printed by the Artcraft Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Cleveland Board of Education
graphic artist
Artcraft Company
Donahey, James Harrison
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 106.4 cm x 70 cm; 41 7/8 in x 27 9/16 in
Place Made
United States: Ohio, Cleveland
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Cultures & Communities
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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