World War II Ration Books

Times are tough now, but in World War II it was especially difficult to get many goods from stores and elsewhere. Citizens were given a series of ration books during the war years. Each ration book was numbered. All kinds of things were rationed, from food to gasoline and even clothing.

The first ration book was given out in 1942. The first war ration stamps given out were for sugar. A series of four books were given out in the United States, and stamps were used for a variety of goods. On the back of the book which contained the stamps was the slogan, “If you don’t need it, DON’T BUY IT.”

This particular ration book was owned by Julian Sohon, the Head librarian of the Bridgeport Public Library in 1942.

Ration books had descriptions of the owner of the book, including height, weight, color of dyes and age. The address of the person to which the book was issued was also marked, with strict rules not to transfer ration stamps. Dealers had to post prices conspicuously so that buyers would not pay more.