Cover Gallery: The Armed Forces

In celebration of Armed Forces Day, we share our favorite covers featuring the brave people who served our country.

American Soldiers in the Philippines
March 17, 1900
George Gibbs


In Memoriam
May 31, 1902
Frank X. Leyendecker


Solider, Sailor, and U.S. Shield
July 4, 1914
J. C. Leyendecker


Soldiers in Battle
May 11, 1918
Julian De Miskey


Female Continental Soldier
July 1, 1922
Ellen Pyle


Thinking of the Girl Back Home
January 18, 1919
Norman Rockwell


Coast Guard
February 11, 1943
Edgar Franklin Wittmack


Naval Officer
February 24, 1934
Edgar Franklin Wittmack


Army, Navy & Marines
November 13, 1937
John E. Sheridan


Squadron Insignia
August 23, 1941
Ski Weld


Willie Gillis’ Package from Home
October 4, 1941
Norman Rockwell


Tank Patrol
November 6, 1943
Mead Schaeffer


Homecoming Marine
October 13, 1945
Norman Rockwell


Shooting Gallery
September 12, 1953
Constantin Alajalov


Green Beret Cap. Roger Donlon
October 23, 1965
Jean L. Huens


Cover Gallery: Take Flight

America has always been in love with the concept of flight. From the first bi-planes to futuristic bombers, these Post covers fly you through a short history of aviation.

Baby flying a biplane
Baby New Year Flying Bi-Plane
By J.C. Leyendecker
January 1, 1910

J. C. Leyendecker painted numerous “Baby New Year” covers, which often narrated the issue of the day:  The 1910 baby flew a new-fangled bi-plane. The 1912 baby carried a “Votes for Women” sign. And 1914’s tot cruised the soon-to-be-opened Panama Canal. The worried face of our bi-plane baby reflects the trepidation many had about this brand-new mode of travel.


WWI biplanes in mid-dog fight
World War I Dogfight
Henry J. Soulen
July 21, 1917

This dramatic aerial scene from a World War I dogfight depicts the moment of victory. Air combat was extremely rare at the beginning of the first world war. Although there was some tactical use of planes during the war, they were mostly used for reconnaissance. Over the course of the war, air battles evolved from grenades to handheld firearms, and eventually machine guns. The victorious plane has a pusher configuration, where the propeller is located behind the pilots. This solved the problem of the propeller interfering with the gunner’s line of sight.


Portrait of a woman aviator
Woman Pilot
Neysa McMein
August 11, 1917

Neysa McMein got her start as an illustrator during World War I, travelling across France with Dorothy Parker to entertain the troops. She is known for creating the “Betty Crocker” image for General Mills, but this cover, as well as her inclusion in the Algonquin Roundtable, suggests a life that was perhaps more progressive than the fictional Mrs. Crocker’s.


Male angel with wings and arms stretched out, in celebration of an aircraft in flight
The Spirit of Aviation
Edgar Franklin Wittmack
May 12, 1928

Edgar Franklin Wittmack was one of the top magazine cover illustrators from the 1920s to the 1940s, whose resume would include 22 Post covers. Wittmack’s covers often featured manly men — cowboys, mariners, Mounties, and movie stars —striking a jaunty pose for the portraitist. This ethereal, deco-style illustration was somewhat of a departure from his other Post covers.

A woman on an airplane looking eagerly out her passenger window
First Flight
Norman Rockwell
June 4, 1938

Although this Rockwell illustration doesn’t feature a plane’s exterior, we couldn’t help but include this charmer. This eager first-time traveler gazes out the window, the route painstakingly traced out on her “Fly the Skyways” map. The rich narrative quality of the scene is the hallmark of Rockwell’s most compelling images.

A passenger aircraft in flight above water at night
Night Flight
By Josef Kotula
February 4, 1939

This dramatic night scene is the only cover Josef Kotula painted for the Post. Kotula was known for his futuristic aviation and spaceship illustrations.


A Northwester American Indian totem pole, with an airplane formation behind it.
Totem Pole
John Clymer
January 31, 1942

The U.S. had just entered World War II, and Clymer dramatically illustrated America’s commitment to protecting its Pacific shores. Both warships and planes glide across the dramatic backdrop of the Alaskan frontier, as the totem pole stands guard in the foreground, ever vigilant for invaders.


A cowboy with saddle standing in front of a grounded aircraft
Flying Cowboy
Mead Shaeffer
May 17, 1947

“The cowboy carrying his pet saddle to his plane is an everyday sight in the West,” artist Mead Schaeffer wrote when he delivered this painting. “Many a rancher lives in town and commutes to his ranch or ranches by air. The tableland makes landing fields all through the West, and because of the long distances involved, the West takes to planes the way the East take to cars. Many a business engagement, even luncheon engagements, are kept this way.” One of the flying ranchers, Lee Bivins, was Schaeffer’s model. The background is the airport at Amarillo, Texas.


American aircraft raid Moscow at dawn. A jet in the foreground is blasted out of the sky by anti-aircraft fire
Robert McCall
October 13, 1962

This cover by Robert McCall accompanied a serialization of the book Fail-Safe, which described what might happen if a communications breakdown should cause nuclear-armed bombers to fly past their point of recall. The illustration depicts American bombers approaching Moscow, which is more obvious when one sees the two-page fold-out cover in its entirety. The Post editors wrote, “Accidental warfare is a valid subject for consideration in these cold-war days, and we would do well to keep in mind the grave problems facing the President—and all of us—in keeping the peace.”

American aircraft raid Moscow at dawn. A jet in the foreground is blasted out of the sky by anti-aircraft fire

Be Very Afraid…

A large shadow lurks…a cat screeches…and is that a ghoul or just the crazy neighbor trying to scare us? Halloween covers through the years have given us delicious scares!

What’s That Noise? by Frederick Stanley

What's That Noise by Frederick Stanley
What’s That Noise
Frederick Stanley
November 7, 1925

What’s that noise? Maybe a book about Captain Kidd isn’t the best bedtime reading. Has Johnny gotten to the part where Kidd is executed for piracy? Could that be the sound of the hangman’s gallows he hears? The clopping sound of a wooden leg? Hopefully, Johnny will discover, sooner rather than later, that Fido is under his bed chomping on his shoes.

Halloween, 1926 by Edgar Franklin Wittmack

Halloween 1926 by Edgar Franklin Wittmack
Halloween, 1926
Edgar Franklin Wittmack
October 30, 1926

It’s Halloween 1926. You’re dressed up in your finest and on your way to a friend’s party. It’s very, very dark out. And frankly, we don’t know what that shadow is, but we have one piece of advice for this young man: vamoose!

Halloween Scare by Frederic Stanley

Halloween Scare by Frederic Stanley
Halloween Scare
Frederic Stanley
November 2, 1935

If you’re ever felt the dank chill of an October night and then heard the bloodcurdling screeching of cats, you know it’s scary. Frederick Stanley did seventeen Post covers and was great at showing kids being scared.

Witch’s Mask by Charles Kaiser

Witch's Mask by Charles Kaiser
Witch’s Mask
Charles Kaiser
October 31, 1942

The little girl wanted to see what her witch’s mask look like in the dark window, but we think she’s managed to scare herself. Wait a minute…was the mask winking before?

Tricking Trick or Treaters by Amos Sewell

Tricky Trick or Treaters by Amos Sewell
Tricky Trick or Treaters
Amos Sewell
November 3, 1951

There’s one in every neighborhood – the guy who jumps out of a makeshift coffin or poses as a scarecrow only to leap to life as trick-or-treaters walk by. Sure, we little goblins are fleeing now, but it’s guys like you, mister, who drive us to bars of soap or rolls of toilet paper.

Halloween by Norman Rockwell

Halloween by Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell
October 23, 1920

Grandpa is very afraid. There’s a leering jack-o-lantern coming at him and if you look closely, you’ll see it’s wearing a little dress and shiny Mary Jane shoes. Speaking of shoes, I dig the spats on gramps. I know this 1920 Norman Rockwell cover is more cute than scary, but who can resist it?