Published photo of actor William S. Hart selling bonds for the 4th Liberty Loan program of World War I in 1918.
Original caption reads:
THE FOURTH'S FIRST 100 PER CENT
The first business organization to reach 100% subscription of its employees in the Fourth
Liberty Loan Campaign, was the William S. Hart Productions, Inc., of Los Angeles. Before the
first hour of the campaign had passed, every employee had purchased at least one bond. Hart,
sans his usual makeup, is selling a bond to a movie cow puncher.
Original source/publication unknown. Tearsheet from magazine? Heavy, gloss paper; two-sided with
Hart photo on one side and Liberty Bond graphic on the other.
The fourth (of five) series of Liberty Loan bonds went on sale September 28, 1918. The fourth series involved $7 billion in tax-free bonds that earned the
bearer an interest rate of 4.25 percent.
Or at least they were supposed to. Holders of Series 4 bonds were in for a bit of bad luck.
Series 1-3 bonds were retired in the 1920s but Series 4 had a maturity date of October 15, 1938. The U.S. Treasury
called them on April 15, 1934 and refused to honor their terms, which required payment in gold. The private ownership of gold had been banned
by act of Congress nearly a year earlier, in June 1933. At the same time, the government had devalued the dollar from where it stood in 1918 — $20.67 per troy ounce of gold
— to $35 an ounce. Thus, Series 4 bond holders lost 41 percent of their principal, or $2.866 billion in 1918 dollars.
BILL HART AND THE WARS
By Bill Crowl, President, Friends of William S. Hart Park & Museum (1999)
William S. Hart was born at the end of
the American Civil War. His childhood
mentors were still afire with patriotism
and the need to rebuild a nation once
divided. Bill's early teens were lived on
the American frontier where western
freedom abounded. Throughout his life,
he was visibly proud to be an American.
Bill was in his early 50s when the
United States entered the (First) World
War. Though physically fit, he was too
old to be accepted into the military. But,
as the leading Western movie star of the
period, Bill found other ways to support
his nation. He raised money for the
Liberty Loan drives and for the Red
Cross records show that Hart's tours
for the third Liberty Loan drive were
responsible for over $2 million in
contributions. A little earlier, in 1917,
Bill co-starred with Douglas Fairbanks
and Mary Pickford in a one-half reel
Liberty bond sales promotional film.
Hart fired the first gun in the Second
For the fourth Liberty Loan drive,
Bill wrote, directed and starred in a
another sales promotion film. While
asleep, by his pinto pony, Bill dreamed of
a visit to Berlin, where he busted through
a window into the Royal Palace. There,
he shot it out with the Kaiser and his
Huns, in Western saloon-hall fashion.
After comparing the German leader to a
rattlesnake, but letting him live, Bill rode
off, hell-bent for leather, to buy Liberty bonds. Hart really did purchase a
substantial amount of bonds.
Bill also enlisted his pinto pony
"Fritz" in the post-war effort. They
paraded the streets of Los Angeles to
secure funds for the American Red Star
Animal Relief which provided hospitals
and veterinaries for the thousands of
horses, mules and dogs that were
wounded while fighting with the
American troops on the western
The 159th California Infantry
showed their appreciation of Bill Hart by
choosing the western film star as their
godfather. They took on the name of
"Bill Hart Two-gun Men." Practically
every other unit, among the 30,000
troops at Camp Kearny (near San Diego),
vied for this sobriquet, but the 159th
Within seven months of Hart's donation
of the American Theater to American
Legion Post 507, our nation entered the
Second World War. Bill was much older
now, retired and living in Newhall.
However his patriotism still burned
brightly, and he was still respected as an
early Western movie star. To this end,
Bill donated many of his personal
artifacts, including boots and Stetsons,
to be auctioned at war bond sales rallies.