*Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War

Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor
Event detail

How did the average reader and soldiers in the trenches deal with the stress of war? One of the best diversions was keeping a sense of humor. From every imaginable corner of a war-torn world, humor was used to oppose tyranny: in newspaper cartoons and strips, commentary and news from the front; propaganda cartoons and art, Armed Services Editions sent to the troops, and humor created by the troops themselves in such newspapers as Stars and Stripes and Wipers Times. The exhibition draws from materials in the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor: a selection of the spirit, wit and humor of those at war and the people they left behind on the home front.

Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War opens April 1 in the Skylight Gallery, and continues through May 31.


Left: Dr. Seuss & Co. Go to War by Andre Schiffrin (2009). Schmulowtz Collection of Wit & Humor, SFPL.

Right: Between Shots by P.L. Crosby (1919). Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, SFPL.


Thursdays at Noon, Koret Auditorium

April 6: Mr. Roberts (1955)

April 13: Duck Soup (1933)

April 20: Operation Petticoat (1959)

April 27: To Be Or Not to Be (1983)



Thursday, April 13, 6:30-8:00pm, in th Koret Auditorium, Main Library

Mary Roach is the author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (New York, 2016). Her other books include Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Spook: Science Tackles the Aterlife; Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex; Packing for Mars: The Curious Sciencs of Life in the Void, and Gulp: Curious Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.

Steven Short has been with KALW since its beginnings in 2004. His history, art, and public interest stories have won numerous awards and have aired on NPR. He is responsible for The Source, a regular feature on the origins of San Francisco place names.

The Annual Wit & Humor exhibition is presented by the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the San Francisco Public Library. For more information please contact us at bookarts@sfpl.org / 415.557.4560.


Over Here: San Francisco in the Great War. Selections from the San Francisco History Center. On view April 6 through June 30, 2017, in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library.

See the full list

Learn more about History and Genealogy through the wealth of resources available at the Library.

This is a Politics & Current Affairs program. The views and opinions expressed in programs presented by groups unaffiliated with SFPL do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SFPL or the City.

Upcoming Events

Veterans Resource Center Drop-In
Monday, September 24, 2018, 12:00 pm
Main Library, Golden Gate Rm - 5th Fl
Veterans Resource Center Drop-In
Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 12:00 pm
Main Library, Golden Gate Rm - 5th Fl
Veterans Resource Center Drop-In
Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 12:00 pm
Main Library, Golden Gate Rm - 5th Fl

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History, Here and Now
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 1:00 pm
Main Library, 5th Floor Computer Training Ctr.

*Funded by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

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