Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - WWII Ration Books

War Ration Book No. 3

The system of rationing was created by the Office of Price Administration and began in May of 1942, five months after the United States had entered WWII.  The purpose of the system was to ensure people were able to purchase items that were scarce while keeping the prices of the items low. 

Ration Book No. 3 (pictured above) was issued in the fall of 1943.  It included brown stamps that were required to purchase sugar, coffee, dairy, meat, fish and other household items.  Stamps were lettered A through Z to designate the specific time they could be used.

Note the handwritten "Book 4" in the lower right hand corner.  It is my understanding that the numbered ration books had different stamps for purchasing particular items during a specific time frame.  This seems to suggest that local boards had the authority to deviate from the guidelines set forth by the Office of Price Administration.  On the other hand, overlap may have been allowed.

War Ration Book No. 4

War Ration Book No. 4 Stamps
War Ration Book No. 4 Stamps

Ration Book No. 4 was issued in late 1943 and included the following stamps:
Red - meat, fish and dairy
Blue & Green - processed and canned foods
Spare - miscellaneous 
The numbers on the stamps represented the points the stamps were worth.  The letters represented the rationing period.  Points were based on the scarcity of the items and were changed when needed.

Back cover of War Ration Book No. 4

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