Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 388
World War II Ration Memorabilia Collection
1942-1945, undated

Descriptive summary

title: World War II Ration Memorabilia Collection
dates: 1942-1945, undated
extent: 0.21 linear feet (1 half-document box)
collection number: MS 388
repository: Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information

access: Open for research
publication rights: Consult Head, Special Collections Department
preferred citation: World War II Ration Memorabilia Collection, MS 388,  Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Historical note

The Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply was established by Presidential Executive Order 8734 on April 11, 1941, in an effort to control inflation. The civilian supply function of the agency was transferred to the Office of Production Management in August of 1941 and the name was shortened to the Office of Price Administration (OPA). The Emergency Price Control Act (January 30, 1942) established the purposes of the agency as follows: "to stabilize prices and rents and prevent unwarranted increases in them; to prevent profiteering , hoarding and speculation; to assure that defense appropriations were not dissipated by excessive prices; to protect those with fixed incomes from undue impairment of their living standards; to assist in securing adequate production; and to prevent a post-emergency collapse of values." The Office of Price Administration fixed price ceilings on all commodities except farm products and controlled rents in defense areas. The first rationing program, for automobile tires, was initiated December 27, 1941. There were two types of rationing programs. The first was a certificate program, where an applicant had to meet eligibility standards and show need to a local ration board before receiving a certificate permitting a purchase to be made. This type of program was applied to tires, automobiles, typewriters, bicycles rubber footwear and stoves. The second program was a coupon or stamp type for which all civilians were eligible. These programs were administered through local banks and covered foods, fuel oil, gasoline and shoes. Rationing continued throughout World War II and by the end of November 1945 only the sugar and rubber tire rationing programs remained. Tire rationing ceased on December 31, 1945. Sugar rationing continued until June 11, 1947. The Office of Price Administration was dissolved April 1, 1947.


Collection description

This collection contains certificates and stamps which were used for the purchase of bicycles, automobiles, food, fuel oil, gasoline, rubber footwear, shoes, sugar, tires and typewriter rental. It also contains War Ration Books One through Three and Five. These books were intended primarily for use with food items. Books One and Two were distributed through public schools. Book Three was distributed through the mail. Book Four (not included in the collection) was distributed through school systems and lasted, with the addition of ration tokens, until the end of the war. War Ration Book Five was prepared in early 1945, and several million copies of it were printed before V-E Day (May 8, 1945), when work on the book was abandoned.


Container list

Full finding aid (pdf format) with container list