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War Ration Coupon Book, Floyd and Mildred Keddy of Cortland, NY, c. 1940-45

Ration coupon booklet

Ration coupon booklet

Other, Fragnoli_Ration_Coupons
Document Description
War ration coupon book for Floyd and Mildred Keddy of Cortland, NY, c. 1940-45.
To whom was this ration book issued?
Whose property is this ration book?
Who set the legal price for rationed goods?
Why did Americans comply with the rationing program?
How did rationing affect individual households in America? Discuss three.
How do you think rationing affected Mildred J. Keddy?
Historical Challenges
Create an illustrated timeline of price regulating agencies throughout the history of the United States.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Design a ration stamp for a modern necessity that might be considered in short supply.
English Language Arts: Write a persuasive essay encouraging your fellow citizens to comply with the ration program of World War II.
Math: Calculate how many miles a week a person could drive if they were only allowed 4 gallons of gas a week and their vehicle got 25 miles per gallon of gas.
Science: Why was nylon rationed during World War 2? Be sure to include the materials necessary for manufacturing nylon and its various uses in your explanation.

About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
Rationing of everyday food items was an immediate effect of the United States’ declaration of war in December of 1941. The American economy experienced a quick transition from consumer-based production to war production. All raw materials and food resources were directed toward the production of items necessary for winning the war. Americans were quickly made aware of the fact that there was an army that must be fed and properly equipped for war.

Many common household food items were rationed at different times during the war including sugar, coffee, processed foods, meats, canned fish, cheese, canned milk, and fat. In addition to food, the government also rationed tires, cars, bicycles, fuel, stoves, and typewriters. A shortage of the raw materials necessary to produce these items resulted in the rationing.

The Office of Price Administration (OPA) ran the ration program during World War 2. This office was created in August of 1941 and abolished in March of 1947. The OPA had several responsibilities during the war including stabilizing prices, rationing items for which a shortage existed, and authorizing the payment of subsidies for the production of certain items. Subsidies are financial payments made to a business by the government in exchange for a guarantee that the business will comply with specific requirements. In the case of World War 2 rationing, businesses agreed to produce certain items and sell them at certain set prices in exchange for the subsidy.

In the end, most Americans complied with the restrictions set through the rationing process because they believed it was their patriotic duty as American citizens. Even if an individual or family had the money to buy more than the specified amount, they only purchased the amount allowed by their ration stamps. As an added way of contributing to the war effort, Americans were also encouraged to salvage, or recycle, items such as tin cans and even fats left over from household cooking.

Essential Question
How do civilians contribute to a country's war effort?
Check for Understanding
How did Floyd and Mildred Keddy contribute to the war effort?