A Selection of Vintage May Day Posters


More than 80 countries across the world are celebrating May Day today. In New York, Occupy Wall Street marched through Lower Manhattan in solidarity with unions and immigrant rights groups. In Athens, thousands gathered to protest their government’s austerity measures. In Moscow, 100,000 citizens marched alongside President Putin, where thousands of Russians protested the presidential elections months earlier. The day holds a slightly different meaning for many, depending on the decade, the country, and the political group in power, but carries the same empowering, unified spirit. In these posters, you can see the uniting visual cues in design — muscular workers swinging powerful hammers, joint hands, billowing banners, the big fonts, the fists. Notice the differences in motif — a flower-throwing maiden, harking back to the date’s older, pagan, seasonal celebrations. Flip through a brief survey of vintage May Day vintage posters plucked from all over in our slideshow and explore.

Image credit: Rockwell Kent, Workers of the World Unite, woodcut Collection, 1937

Image credit: NYU Tamiment Library, 1912

Image credit: Alberto Beltrán, May 1st. Labor Day. The CTM (the Confederation of Mexican Workers) united with all Mexicans for the greatness of the Nation, 1947

Image credit: Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Image credit: New York Collection, NYU Tamiment Library, 1950

Image credit: Labor Arts

Image credit: Labor Arts

Image credit: Fuck Yeah Marxism Leninism

Image credit: Chisholm Gallery, 1968

Image credit: Occuprint, 2012