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More than one hundred thousand political posters from around the world are available in the Hoover Archives poster collection. Thirty-three thousand of these are cataloged in a searchable database. Digitized images of the cataloged posters are gradually being added, with twenty-two thousand posters from more than eighty countries available. The remaining poster images for United States posters will be added in 2011.
As Peter Paret et al. observed in Persuasive Images: Posters of War and Revolution from the Hoover Institution Archives (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992), the poster is "a work of applied art and … an agent of persuasion and control." Scholarly interest in the impact of the visual image is increasing, and many scholars have approached posters as the subject of their research instead of using them only as illustrations. The depth of the Hoover Archives poster collection provides students of the psychology and techniques of propaganda with a large sample of material on which to base their research.
The Hoover Institution houses a collection of more than 30,000 cataloged and an estimated 70,000 uncataloged posters. Those posters in the cataloged increment are encapsulated and stored in flat file drawers. Because this is one of the Institution’s most popular collections, it incurs wear-and-tear that necessitates remediation. Newly acquired posters may also show signs of damage from having been displayed on a wall, kiosk, or other public place. When a damaged poster has been identified, it is brought to Hoover’s conservation lab, where an inspection is done to identify the preservation issues and the appropriate course of action is determined.
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