Home / Cover Art / Beyond the Canvas / Classic Covers: World War II

Classic Covers: World War II

“Jungle Commando” by Mead Schaeffer

Jungle Commando by Mead Schaeffer From October 14, 1942
“Jungle Commando”
by Mead Schaeffer
From October 14, 1942

The great artist Mead Schaeffer (1898-1980) worked as a war correspondent for The Saturday Evening Post, depicting in cover after cover the daily life of the military man. Schaeffer worked hard for authenticity: he hitched a ride on a submarine, a Coast Guard patrol boat, and various aircraft for his over sixteen World War II covers.

“Medic Treating Injured in Field” by Mead Schaeffer

Medic Treating Injured in Field by Mead Schaeffer March 11, 1944
“Medic Treating Injured in Field”
by Mead Schaeffer
March 11, 1944

This 1944 illustration, again by Schaeffer, is a striking reminder of the role of the brave medic in the midst of battle. Schaeffer felt honor-bound to depict the real world of the soldier. But a cover from later that same year, which we show below, depicts a more relaxed side.

“Barn Dance” by Mead Schaeffer

Barn Dance by Mead Schaeffer November 25, 1944
“Barn Dance”
by Mead Schaeffer
November 25, 1944

A well-deserved break at a barn dance is the only war cover Schaeffer did showing a fun side of the times.

“Baby Booties at Boot Camp” by Howard Scott

Baby Booties at Boot Camp by Howard Scott June 17, 1944
“Baby Booties at Boot Camp”
by Howard Scott
June 17, 1944

Artist Howard Scott also did a number of covers during World War II—usually of the lighter side. A cover bound to make you go “awww,” the story here is clear: It’s a boy!

“Soldier or Sailor” by John Newton Howitt

Soldier or Sailor by John Newton Howitt October 19, 1940
“Soldier or Sailor”
by John Newton Howitt
October 19, 1940

This 1940 cover by artist John Newton Howitt shows a twist on the old saw about a sailor having a gal in every port. Tumbling from the lady’s purse is a photo of a soldier. Wartime is hell, buddy.

“The Homecoming G.I.” by Norman Rockwell

The Homecoming G.I. by Norman Rockwell May 25, 1945
“The Homecoming G.I.”
by Norman Rockwell
May 25, 1945

“It was of course very gratifying for me when this painting was selected by the U.S. Treasury for the official poster of the Eighth War Bond Drive,” said Norman Rockwell. The family is rushing out to greet the returning soldier, including the dog and … could mother’s arms be open any wider? The whole neighborhood is delighted in the scene. Notice the shy girl next door waiting patiently to see her sweetheart. You can click on the cover for a close-up of this classic.

For more Rockwell WWII covers, see: “The All-American Soldier: Willie Gillis” and “Thanks Robert Buck, Good-bye Willie Gillis.”

Read More:


  • LAURA MUSHKAT

    cant believe I recall most of these! thanks

  • Charles Neumann

    Very impressive.

  • Gertrude Johnson

    I lived through World War II and appreciated your covers, particularly since yesterday I was at a meeting where a GI from that war in the Pacific Zone brought a book he had written of his experiences. Also, I have published a small book, “Bittersweet” about my own view of those times. We should not forget.

  • Don

    THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!!!!

  • David Ham

    My father fought on Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Guam, Wake Island and Guadalcanal. His picture appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. I do not know which place the picture was taken, nor do I know which issue it appeared in. His name was Travis L. Ham, a United States Marine. Can you help me find that issue or offer any information to further direct me?