The image of “Uncle Sam” as the symbol of the United States can be traced back to The War of 1812. There were many versions of what Uncle Sam looked like until James Montgomery Flagg created the iconic image of the character on World War I recruitment poster in 1917 ("Uncle Sam Wants YOU!). This Uncle Sam costume sketch, drawn by Homer Conant, was for actor William Harper for the Prologue of 'The Passing Show of 1916.'
“Columbia, Gem of the Oceans,” was Sam's allegorical female counterpart. She is seen here depicted by an unknown designer for an unidentified production, c. 1916. The Columbia figure lost import as a patriotic symbol, especially after Columbia Pictures adopted her as a corporate symbol.
A Henry Conant design for one of the chorus girls in a production number called "An Army of Girls," in an unidentified revue, possibly 'The Passing Show,' circa 1916.
Historic images provided by The Shubert Archive