Thursday, January 17, 2013

1943 Jean's WW2 Ration Books

The exact dates of these books are unknown but since Book Two lists Jean's age as 19, and Book 3 has her age as 20, so would have been prior to December 1943. There are no coupons remaining in Book Two, but samples of Book Three coupons are on the left below, and Book Four on the right.  According to the Ames Historical Society, referenced below, Book Two was issued in January 1943. [Perhaps she had to apply before she turned 20?] Book Three issued in October 1943 and Book Four in late 1943.  War ration Book Five was prepared but never issued.
1940s War Ration Books Two, Three & Four - Jean Wallace Ballantyne
Book 3 (middle) provides the most personal information about Jean, telling us her weight was 135 lbs., height 5'4", and that she was a student.
1940s War Ration Books Coupons from Book Three & Four
There are no coupons remaining in Book Two, but samples of Book Three coupons are on the left above, and Book Four on the right.  The Book Three coupons in green have letters (N-Y and numbers 1, 2, 5 and 8.  The adjacent page has been removed so presumably the numbers 3, 4, 6, and 7 could have been located there with similar letters.  The coupons above the green ones are samples of the four other types located in Book Two.  Each page has a distinctive war picture on each coupon: tanks, boats, airplanes, and cannons with 48 numbered coupons on each page.  Very few of these were used.

Book Four coupons, on the right above, have several pages completely used, and the pages remaining show unused "spare" coupons, 12 unused coffee coupons, and three unused sugar coupons.  The red ones are similar to the green ones used in Book Three.

According to Learn NC Multimedia, sugar was the first food to be rationed, in the spring of 1942 and Ration Book One contained stamps that could be used to purchase sugar.  Sugar rationing continued until 1947.
1940s War Ration Books Back Cover of Books Two (bottom) and Books Three & Four (identical)

The back of rationing Book 2 states:
United States Office of Price Administration
IMPORTANT:  When you have used your ration, salvage the TIN CANS and WASTE FATS.  They are needed to make munitions for our fighting men.  Cooperate with your local Salvage Committee.

Books Three and Four were wordier:

  1. This book is valuable.  Do not lose it.
  2. Each stamp authorizes you to purchase rationed goods in the quantities and at the times designated by the Office of Price Administration.  Without the stamps you will be unable to purchase those goods.
  3. Detailed instructions concerning the use of the book and the stamps will be issued.  Watch for these instructions so that yo will know how to use your book and stamps.  Your Local War Price and Rationing Board can give you full information
  4. Do not throw this book away when all of the stamps have been used, or when the time for their use has expired.  You may be required to present this book when you apply for subsequent books.

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.

This book is your Government's assurance of your right to buy your fair share of certain goods made scarce by war.  Price ceilings have also been established for your protection.  Dealers must post these prices conspicuously.  Don't pay more.

Give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods.  Be guided by the rule:

  • "If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT."
* * * * *

Rationed Items during WW2
Tires  - January 1942 to December 1945
Cars  - February 1942 to October 1945
Bicycles - July 1942 to September 1945
Gasoline - May 1942 to August 1945
Fuel Oil & Kerosene - October 1942 to August 1945
Solid Fuels - September 1943 to August 1945
Stoves - December 1942 to August 1945

Rubber Footwear - October 1942 to September 1945
Shoes - February 1943 to October 1945

Sugar -  May 1942 to 1947
Coffee - November 1942 to July 1943
Processed Foods - March 1943 to August 1945
Meats, canned fish - March 1943 to November 1945
Cheese, canned milk, fats - March 1943 to November 1945

Typewriters - March 1942 to April 1944

A good description and more information about World War II Rationing on the U.S. Home Front can be found at the Ames Iowa Historical Society website.


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