The Homemaker’s War Guide was provided by the Office for Emergency Management, Office of War Information and was in circulation from 1941 to 1945 during World War II. Looking at the Homemaker’s War Guide poster below, we can see that retro housewives were encouraged to support the war effort by making specific changes at home. The three main categories were 1) Plan, 2) Conserve, and 3) Salvage. Doesn’t this sound like exactly what we frugal homemakers and thrifty moms do today? Going back to our frugal roots, we really need to examine the World War II retro homemakers who kept things running while the men were away saving the day. Also among the topics of interest on the Homemaker’s War Guide were: Spare time war activities for a retro homemaker: volunteer in day nurseries, diet kitchens, and clinics. Saving all types of fat to make explosives for the soldiers: Strain it, cool it in the refrigerator, then sell it to the butcher when you have at least 1 pound.
Photo credit: NARA for providing 513833.
Plan meals to include healthy foods, but ration meat and sugar. “The fighting forces need meat’” preaches the poster, and “sugar makes gunpowder.” It encourages the homemaker to get her free booklets ‘99 Ways to Share the Meat’ and ‘Recipes to Match Your Sugar Ration.’ Conserve food: Ask for “Victory Food Specials” at the market. Conserve pots and pans: “Leave black on bottoms of pots, don’t scrub until shiny, heat takes longer through shiny surface.” Conserve clothes: The big takeaway from this category was that retro war homemakers should be mending worn out clothes and making over or refashioning clothes. Of course, no Homemaker’s War Guide poster would be complete without thorough air raid protection instructions. Everyone, even the stay at home housewives, had buy-in and responsibility for helping us win the war. The poster asserts, “Your block leader can tell you about civilian war services. In other lands, war is being fought block by block. You can fight it that way here. Help your block leader’s campaigns which speed our victory.” I love how everyone was encouraged to get back to basics and live responsibly, not wastefully.
“Victory Begins At Home. Do Your Part.”
Retro Homemaker: Homemaker’s War Guide (1941) was originally published on Home Ever After on October 24, 2011.