World War I Illustrators of America Lecture


Three Part Lecture Series

Commemorating the Centennial of the U.S. entry into WWI

Second Lecture

World War I Illustrators of America

How Norwalk’s Harry Townsend and F.C. Yohn Helped Win the War

with James Thompson

Last Night of the War by Frederick Coffay (F. C.) Yohn

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017


James Thompson, author of Painting America’s Portrait – How Illustrators Created Their Art and its sequel, Painting America’s Portrait – How Illustrators Created America, will commemorate two of Norwalk’s greatest artists. Harry Townsend and Frederick Coffay (F. C.) Yohn, both well-known before WWI, secured lasting fame with works they produced during the Great War.

Townsend was recruited into the American Expeditionary Force to create a pictorial history of “our boys” in the field. Yohn spent the war in his New York studio depicting the hardship and heroism of the men who were “making the world safe for democracy”. Yohn’s images were seen by untold numbers of readers of America’s most popular magazines. Thompson will explain how Uncle Sam used the art of men like Harry Townsend and F. C. Yohn to win the war, and how the images they created reshaped the way Americans perceived themselves. He will present examples of both man’s work and show how they became stars in the constellation of American Illustration.


About James Thompson

In addition to his two most recent books, James Thompson, has written numerous books on the ideas of history including: The Birth of Virginia’s Aristocracy (2009), Thomas Jefferson’s Enlightenment  Paris 1785 (2014), and George Washington’s Mulatto Man: Who Was Billy Lee? Mr. Thompson lectures on the topics he discusses in his books and has spoken at the US Naval Academy, the Virginia Historical Society, the DAR Library in Washington, DC, and the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society Forum in Charlottesville. He has presented lecture series in continuing education programs at the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary, George Mason University, and the University of Delaware.

Admission: $5

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Net proceeds support the Norwalk Historical Society educational programs and exhibits.



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