December 1, 2011

World War II U.S. Ration Books One Through Four

Making an exception to my pre-1922 only rule, here are some high quality scans of U.S. World War II ration books.  I forgot to schedule a Thanksgiving post, so after the rabid consumerism many Americans display on Black Friday weekend (and throughout the Christmas shopping season), I think this topic is, in a way, highly relevant to the holidays.  As it says on many of the below pages:

"If you don't need it, don't buy it."

If only.

Rationing for the War in the United States began in 1942 and ended in 1946.   Ration Book One was issued in May 1942, Book Two in January 1943, Book Three in October of 1943, and Book Four towards the end of 1943.

These books were not the only rationing coupons issued by the U.S. government.  For more information and pictures about WWII rationing in the United States, please see this wonderful web page.

The below ration books belonged to Maude Elizabeth Haas Williams, of whom I shared a photograph in an earlier post.  As you can see from some of the ration books, she lists her age as 35.  Maude's husband Clarence did not serve in the war due to his age (52 according to his Book Two).  In late 1942, Clarence and Maude had a son.  Did you know they issued ration books to children, including infants? Their son John has one at age 2 months.

All four books are represented here for Maude as well as the cover of Book Two for her son John.  Stamps from Book One and Book Three are shown (the other two are empty).  Also included is a clipping from a newspaper of the Book Four Rationing Calendar.  This is the only item I have transcribed below.  

Click to enlarge.


Same image as above, rotated for convienence 




MEATS, FATS -- Book Four red stamps Q5 through S5 expire March 31; T5 through X5 expire April 28, and Y5, Z5 and A2 through D2 expire June 2; E2 through J2 expire June 30. 
(Meat dealers pay two red points and 4 cents a pound for kitchen fats.) 
PROCESSED FOODS -- Book Four blue stamps X5 through Z5 and A2 and B2 expire March 31; C2 through G2 expire April 28; H2 through M2 expire June 2; N2 through S2 expire June 30. 
SUGAR -- Stamp 35 good for five pounds through June 2. 
SHOES -- Stamps 1, 2 and 3 on "Airplane" sheet in Book Three valid indefinitely. 
GASOLINE -- No. 14 coupons in "A" books valid through March 21. 
FUEL OIL -- Old period 4 and 5 coupons and new period 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 coupons now valid. 
RATIONING BOARD -- Fulton County War Price and Rationing Board, 447 West Peachtree Street, N. E., open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a. m. to 2 p. m., except Wednesdays when it is closed all day, and Saturdays from 9 a. m. to 12 noon.  Preference given applications by mail.

 Note: All three persons mentioned in this post (Maude Williams, Clarence Williams, and their son John Williams) are deceased.

1 comment:

Sheryl Goossen said...

Thank you for posting these pictures. I just found a Ration book 4 among my dad's pictures. It was so interesting to learn more about them!

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