He even included a bit of Lorain in his poster artwork. You can read all about it in the article by Jean Weaver, which I have transcribed below for easier reading. (I’ve had to bust it into two parts; today’s part is the story behind the poster, and in tomorrow’s portion, the focus is on Dohanos himself.
****Lorain Rooftops Part Of Red Cross Poster
By JEAN WEAVER
The remembered rooftops of his hometown, Lorain, the spire of a little church in Connecticut and the strong green shaft of a lamp post in Conshohocken, Pa.
All these contributed to the intensely American theme of the 1948 Red Cross fund campaign poster, designed by Steven [sic] Dohanos, son of Andrew Dohanos, 5070 Elyria-av.
The story of how he came to paint the poster was told by Dohanos himself, in a recent interview at his Connecticut home.
Dohanos began working on sketches for the poster early last fall in his studio in Westport, Conn. The suggestion had been to show a Red Cross worker extending help in time of disaster.
Turns to Notebook
He had chosen a young woman worker from a neighboring Red Cross chapter, had photographs made of her against a background of destruction, sheltering a child in her arms and it was from these photographs that he was working.
But his artist’s mind kept searching for a simpler theme which would better represent the Red Cross as a basic part of American life.
In an old notebook filled with impressions of a sketching tour thru Pennsylvania several years before, he found one particular sketch which stood out in his memory.
On a street corner in the industrial town of Conshohocken near Philadelphia he had been struck by the symbolism of two flags, American and Red Cross, unfurled from the height of a lamp post.
This sketch was the starting point for a strong and simple poster chosen almost instantaneously from those submitted to the Red Cross.
At first Dohanos thought the lamp post and flags should stand alone against a plain background. But then he realized that “America” should be sketched in to give the touch of Main Street detail.
Thus the resulting poster gives a sum total of American, the gingerbread eaves and the quaint but homely cupola, the circling pigeons, the spire of the church and the squat water tower of a small industrial plant.
The hands of the clock on the church tower which point to seven after 11 suggest a mood and time of day and the flags suggest the whole way of life.
Tomorrow: The rest of the story