Honor Roll of Larkin Co., War of the German Invasion – 1917 – 1919


Corporate propaganda from World War I.

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The Larkin Soap Company was founded in Buffalo in 1875 by John D. Larkin. He employed peddlers to market his laundry soap around the coal-dusted streets, resulting in steep growth during the rest of the 19th century that branched into a variety of products and subsidiaries. The mail-order business prompted further expansion into the early 1900s, and at the outbreak of World War I, company factories occupied over 3 million square feet in the ‘Queen City.’

With a workforce of many thousands, it was inevitable that some of Larkin’s employees would be conscripted or enlist to fight in the First World War. This is an incredible commemoration of their service, listing over 250 individual names that were engaged in the war effort in some fashion. Those highlighted in gold – eight in total – paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Of interest are Orville and Wilbur Kirby – possibly named after the famous brothers who pioneered powered flight in America less than two decades prior.

The Honor Roll is flanked by figures representing Victory and the United States Navy and Army, with the latter both sporting uniforms denoting 8 years’ service (two red chevrons). A nurse administers aid to a wounded soldier near the bottom, above the chiseled words ‘War of the German Invasion – 1917 – 1919’. This unfortunate omission of British and French efforts prior to American involvement reflects contemporary attitudes in the U.S., where many thought the doughboys had single-handedly won the war.

The image was designed by the German-born artist Alexander Oscar Levy. After studying at the Cincinnati Art Academy and the New York School of Fine And Applied Art, Levy moved to Buffalo and worked as the Art Director of the Larkin Company for thirteen years. Published in Buffalo by the Larkin Company in 1919.

Sources: Larkin Center; Buffalo Architecture and HistoryMeibohm Fine Arts;

Map Details

Publication Date: 1919

Author: Alex O' Levy

Sheet Width (in): 27.75

Sheet Height (in): 25.25

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Color lithographed sheet professionally mounted onto linen for preservation and stability. Several closed tears around the outer edges range in size from .5" to 3", but image loss is confined to the very outer edges. A few spots of soiling and dampstaining along the top and bottom, but overall in very good condition.


1 in stock