icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Things To Do
Dress Up | 1st Person | African American Map | Now Read This | Magic Lens | In the Round | Tool Videos | Architecture | e-Postcards | Chronologies | Turns Activities

Send an E-Postcard of:
WWII Ration books and case

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.

The United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941. Although the manufacture of all consumer goods was ended in April, 1942, the first home front restriction on food did not come into effect until late November of that year. Coffee, most of which was imported from Latin America, was first to be rationed. Three days later, regional restrictions on the availability of gasoline were extended nationwide. In February, 1943, rationing was extended to shoes: civilians were limited to three pairs of leather shoes annually. In March, a point-rationing system was introduced for processed foods. Each household received coupon books such as this example; the number of coupons was keyed to the number of people in the house. The monthly ration consisted of a series of coupons allowing modest purchases of certain items such as sugar. Consumers could only legally purchase an item if they had the matching coupons. A thriving "black market" in illegal goods sprang up, although it was not extensive enough to undermine the basic intent of the system. In April, 1943, rationing was extended to meats, fats, and cheeses. Special allowances were made for pregnant women and children. Rationing continued to the end of the war, although in April 1944 most meat had been taken off the quotas. Historians have questioned how important rationing was for the war effort, but most agree that it was an important psychological measure to create a sense of sacrifice at home.


top of page

Share this image with a friend.
Simply enter their e-mail address below and we'll send them this image in an e-mail greeting, along with a link to see the image on our site.

To E-Mail Address *
From E-Mail Address *
From Name

* = Required

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback