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Tag: world war i

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pull out that sweet tooth!

This poster, created by the U.S. Food Administration, reminded citizens that their consumption of sugar drew resources away from the war (ARC 512526, ca. 1917-ca. 1919).

To celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” we are featuring a food-related blog post every Wednesday. Today’s post comes to us from the National Archives at New York City.

“Do you know that the money spent in the United States for candy in one year is double the amount required to feed Belgium for one year?” This statement is not from a modern anti-obesity polemic, but rather from the World War I pamphlet A Sugar Program: Household Conservation Policy to Meet the Sugar Situation for the Summer of 1918.

Why was there a sugar situation? When the United States entered World War I, ships were needed to transport soldiers and supplies across the ocean. Since much of the U.S. supply of sugar was imported, the war interrupted the supply chain of sugar.

Ships crossing over to the United Kingdom with supplies also faced the dreaded German U-boats, which sank large numbers of the Allied merchant fleet when Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917. This danger threatened to worsen the Allied food situation in Europe, which was already severe. The woman in the poster above is literally draining away resources that the Allies need to win the war.

To inform U.S. citizens on … [ Read all ]

What’s Cooking Wednesdays: Eat your peas in NYC

World War I poster encouraging U.S. citizens to eat less wheat, ca. 1917-1919 (ARC Identifier 512442)

 

To celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” we are featuring a food-related blog post every Wednesday. Today’s post comes from Christopher Zarr at the National Archives in New York City.

The National Archives maintains the primary source documents of the U.S. Food Administration (USFA). Thousands of documents illustrate the local sacrifices and quality of life on the home front during World War I. The documents of the National Archives at New York City detail the actions taken by the USFA in New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.

The Federal Government tried to influence local neighborhoods. In the New York City market,  particular attention was paid to the multicultural nature of the city.

Pamphlets were translated for Jewish and Italian immigrants to explain “Why Shouldn’t We Eat What We Want?” and to support the benefits of drinking milk in “Food for Children.” The New York food board also created an exhibit at Grand Central Terminal to show why limiting wheat, meat, fats, and sugar would not be a detriment to your health.

Some of the most fascinating documents to come from our records are recipe pamphlets. Thousands of these recipe brochures were distributed throughout the city. With titles such as “Without Wheat” and “Potato Possibilities[ Read all ]

Cooking for your family and your allies

A cooking demonstration in Colorado. State and Local Food Administrators, Colorado, General Correspondence, 1917-1919, ARC # 1067513, National Archives at Denver.

A cooking demonstration in Colorado. State and Local Food Administrators, Colorado, General Correspondence, 1917-1919, ARC # 1067513, National Archives at Denver.

“What’s Cooking Wednesday” continues with this post from our colleagues at the National Archives at Denver. These Wednesday features celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which opens on June 10 in Washington, DC, and looks at the role that the Federal Government has taken in food production, safety, advertising, and nutrition.

It’s hard to image Rachel Ray or an Iron Chef looking so solemn during a cooking demonstration, but these ladies were showing an audience how to feed their family on the war front—and still have food for an unknown family on the war front.

On the home front during World War I, a forced food rationing program never took place, but a volunteer food conservation system became commonplace. Civilians were advised to give up food commodities that were greatly needed for the war effort.

Despite being the largest food producer in the world, the United States of America was ill equipped to shoulder such an overwhelming food and material distribution; vast amounts of food and supplies were required to feed the newly assembled overseas army, our allies, and demoralized European civilians. An abdundance of cooking fats, sugar, wheat, meat, and vegetables was necessary to meet the daily task of feeding so many.

In the United States, volunteerism … [ Read all ]

The “Wilsonian” Path to War

wilson

President Woodrow Wilson (111-SC-4984; ARC 530713)

President Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan throughout his 1916 reelection campaign was “he kept us out of war,” but on April 2, 1917, Wilson reversed course and called on Congress to provide a declaration of war for American intervention in World War I. Although this shift in policy contradicted Wilson’s isolationist principles and firm commitment to American neutrality, the Central Powers had begun to pose a clear and formidable threat to the United States by 1917.

Americans felt the brutal impact of the war even during Wilson’s first term. On May 7, 1915, while engaged in submarine warfare, a German U-boat sank the RMS Lusitania, a British ocean liner carrying American citizens. The death toll included 114 Americans. Following the sinking, the United States increased its various modes of aid and assistance to the Allies. But Wilson still publicly discouraged anti-German rhetoric in the U.S. and held out hope that he could mediate a resolution to the conflict between the Allies and the Central Powers.

Wilson’s vision of the war began to change by the winter of 1917, when the British government intercepted a telegram sent by German Foreign Minister Author Zimmerman to Germany’s ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. The telegram was a proposal to Mexico asking the nation to ally with Germany and to attack the United States … [ Read all ]

Hemingway, JFK! What else do I have to say?!

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son, ca. 1927 (ARC 192694)

Ernest Hemingway holding his son John ("Bumby"), 1924 (Kennedy Library. ARC 192694)

Americans love Paris. They even ended the Revolutionary War by writing and signing the Treaty of Paris in that city on September 3, 1783.

War brought other Americans to Paris. Almost 150 years later, it was home to Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway’s experience in Paris was colored by war. He arrived in Paris during World War I and went to the Italian front, where he worked briefly as an ambulance driver until injured by mortar fire. He returned to Paris as a correspondent for the Toronto Star in the 1920s, and it was during this time he wrote The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, novels inspired by those experiences.

He returned again to Europe during World War II, and was present at the D-day landings at Omaha Beach (although as a noncombatant, he did not go ashore.) He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for the Old Man and Sea in 1954, but ended his own life in 1961.

But before that, he loved Paris too. The proof is in his dashing moustache and his stylish beret, evidenced in this picture.

In the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA, there are thousands of pictures in the Hemingway Archives, which is part of the collection of the National Archives. Hemingway … [ Read all ]