Samuel Wilson – Uncle Sam
Portrait of Uncle Sam is perhaps the most famous poster in the world. It was created by James Montgomery Flagg and originally published as the cover for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” Over four million copies were printed between 1917 and 1918, when the United States entered World War I.
There is a theory that Uncle Sam was named after Samuel Wilson who was born on September 13, 1766 in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA. In 1797 Samuel married Betsey Mann, daughter of Captain Benjamin Mann. Samuel and Betsey had four children: Polly, Samuel, Benjamin, and Albert.
During the War of 1812, Wilson was in the business of slaughtering and packing meat. He provided large shipments of meat to the US Army, in barrels that were stamped with the initials ‘US’. There was an idea that initials stood for ‘Uncle Sam’ Wilson.
Samuel Wilson died on July 31, 1854 at the age of 87. His grave is in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York.
Thomas Nast, a prominent 19th-century political cartoonist produced many of the earliest cartoons of Uncle Sam.
Uncle Sam is also featured prominently in the artwork of the Grateful Dead.
Uncle Sam is a humanized image of the United States of America. The poster is often portrayed an elderly man with delicate features, old-fashioned beard, in the cylinder with the American flag colors, blue coat and striped trousers. This image style became popular in the middle of the XIX century thanks to the work of Thomas Nast.
On September 15, 1961 United States Congress adopted a resolution to glorify “Uncle” Sam Wilson as a prototype of Uncle Sam.
The image of Uncle Sam is traditionally associated with the United States and, in particular, with the US government. The image of Uncle is sometimes used to illustrate the “conscience of the nation”, like the image of the Russian Motherland.