The 1930s and 1940s seem to be the dawn of the public-health poster—those often corny and over-the-top reminders to wash your hands, eat healthier meals, stop spitting, learn to swim, even get tested for gonorrhea and syphilis.
Created by Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project artists between 1936 and 1943, they’re little gems offering insight into the urban health issues that preoccupied the era.
These two posters drive the point home pretty well. Clutter and trash on fire escapes contributed to fire, and unsanitary conditions helped spread disease and contribute to infant mortality.
Check out more New York City WPA posters at this Library of Congress link.