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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Interesting Facts re The "Keep Calm" Poster (Wednesday's Wisdom)


On a few occasions when I've observed waterfowl who are in The Pond in Central Park or in the Hudson River, they look as if they are conducting music, as evidenced by my photographs that are directly above this narrative. These pictures feature a Canadian goose and a female Mallard respectively.

Canadian geese are featured in a number of entries on this blog and they are included in volume two of my book series (Words In Our Beak*).

This is a photo of my three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak." Information re the books is another one of my blog  posts @

Mallards are not included in this book series, however, in the not to distant future, these ducks may be featured in another book (stay tuned); and they are discussed within dozens of posts here on Blogger.

In any event upon taking a closer look at the female duck who is featured in the second image atop this entry, not only do her movements make her look like those of a conductor; they also remind me of movements humans make when they want someone to calm down.

This thought caused me to study narratives re calming down and the ubiquitous "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster design/logo (which is often used these days in relation to shopping as seen below) came to my mind.

I've seen this "Keep Calm and... " phrase over many years now, as it tends to be printed on many posters like the ones seen above, as well as on many surfaces, with modification of the words and the "crown-logo;" as seen in the examples below.



But, I must confess that until the other day, I have been aware of any historical correlation re the words "Keep Calm..." and the crown-shaped logo.

Evidently (according to Word Press Web-Page which features the following picture):

"During World War II, British propaganda posters were made... First came: YOUR COURAGE YOUR CHEERFULNESS YOUR RESOLUTION WILL BRING US VICTORY...Then...FREEDOM IS IN PERIL DEFEND IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT...But KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON . . . was kept back in case of invasion. It was never used and remained hidden for 50 years when a copy was found in Barter Books in the north east of England."

Here's what else I learned from another web-page (that includes a partial copy of the next image:


"The Ministry of Information was formed by the British Government as the department responsible for publicity and propaganda during the Second World War. In late 1939 after the outbreak of the war, the MOI was appointed by the British Government to design a number of morale boosting posters that would be displayed across the British Isles during the testing times that lay ahead.

With a bold coloured background, the posters were required to be similar in style and feature the symbolic crown of King George VI along with a simple yet effective font. The first two posters, ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory’ and ‘Freedom is in Peril’ were produced by His Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO).

These two were posted on public transport, in shop windows, upon notice boards and hoardings across Britain. The third and final poster of the set was again very straightforward and to the point - it simply read ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. The plan in place for this poster was to issue it only upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. As this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public.

It is believed that most of the Keep Calm posters were destroyed and reduced to a pulp at the end of the war in 1945. However, nearly 60 years later, a bookseller from Barter Books stumbled across a copy hidden amongst a pile of dusty old books bought from an auction. A small number also remain in the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum in London, and a further 15 were discovered in the BBC's Antiques Roadshow to have been given to Moragh Turnbull, from Cupar, Fife, by her father William, who served as a member of the Royal Observer Corps." 

Now that I know this history, the spin on the words KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON as well as on the crown-shaped logo seems a bit unnerving. I wonder if folks who have modified the phrase and/or logo are aware of the origin.

Whatever the case may be, dear reader, I hope today's "version" of Wednesday's Wisdom has given you some insight into the ubiquitous, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.
*Words In Our Beak Purchase Info:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:
book culture On Columbus (a bookstore on the UWS in NYC):

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:

Volume Three: ISBN: 978099637853
Book Seller Info:
Barnes & Noble On-Line:


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