Artifact Project- World War II Ration Booklets

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This is a ration book holder from World War II. There are four sets of ration books inside of this ration book holder, the first one from May 5th 1942, and the fourth one from 1943. They belonged to my maternal grandma’s family, which included her mother Sara, father Robert, and her two younger sisters: Yvonne, who was 14 when the first one was issued, and Roberta, who was 12. Christine (my grandma) was 16. Each individual ration book is filled out with the full name, full address, age, height, weight, gender of the person whose book it is.

On the back of each one there are rules about the rations books and warnings about what happens if the rules are violated: “Persons who violate rationing regulations are subject to a $10,000 fine or imprisonment, or both.” In case the threat of imprisonment was not enough to discourage breaking the rationing rules, underneath the instructions it reads: “Rationing is a vital part of your country’s war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share and will create hardship and help the enemy.”

Usually when people remember or learn about World War II, they think about the soldiers who fought for their country. These ration books remind us that the war did not only affect the people fighting overseas, but also everyone else who was still at home. The American Dream in terms of determination and hard work leading to success is represented in these booklets. They drive home the idea that the individual people who make up the country had a way of helping the war effort, and even though it meant sacrifice on their part, they were all united in fighting for the success of the nation.

One thought on “Artifact Project- World War II Ration Booklets”

  1. Caroline, these are fascinating artifacts. Great job discussing the details of the books, especially the punishment for violating the rationing regulations. You also embed relevant links to enhance the reader’s understanding of these regulations. A couple of ways you could improve the post: (1) provide a little more historical context about rationing regulations and (2) expand your discussion of how these artifacts connect with key themes we have discussed this year (maybe Mob at the Gates and/or Benevolent Community?). Overall, nice work. 45

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