1943 War Ration Booklet Evokes Compelling Story of a United America

Ken Lopez
Posted by Ken Lopez on Nov 13, 2021 9:41:37 AM

There was a time when the United States was aligned in purpose, thought, and action. War ration booklets of World War II are tangible evidence of this era. They helped prioritize each household's spending with an eye towards the greater good. In today's climate, it's hard to believe that every household in America was required to have one of these booklets and participate in this program.

The Warner Brothers film below describes the concept best:

 

Every American and every store that sold food was required to participate. Foods were assigned point values, and purchases were limited to a certain number of points over a certain amount of time. Canned foods were assigned a high point value, and fresh produce was given a low or zero point value. The idea was to save and ship non-perishable food to soldiers and allow everyone on the homefront to get their "fair share."

Can you imagine this today? I cannot. More people are dying every week of COVID than died at Pearl Harbor. Even more shocking, close to twice as many Americans have been killed than in all of World War II. Yet, we cannot seem to unite.

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Turning our attention to the actual booklet, we see some interesting details, starting with the owner. 

Arthur Adolf Hollman was 44 years old when he was issued this booklet. He was born on December 28, 1898, in Evansville, Indiana. He married Irene Ingram in 1918. They had a daughter. That same year he registered for the World War I draft. He registered for his second draft in 1943. Presumably, he was reenlisted or worked as a civilian and moved to Alexandria, Virginia, to work at the Naval Torpedo Factory (now a space for artists and tourists).

Here are some related images:

Arthur's World War I draft card.

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Arthur's World War II draft card noting his employer was the US Naval Torpedo Station.

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Arthur's war ration book.

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Although the building depicted on the 1941 map still exists, 614 Bashford Road no longer does. Not only was it changed to Bashford Lane, but the building was also re-addressed to 1251 Abbington Drive. Presumably, this happened when the George Washington Memorial Parkway was reconfigured, removing a large roundabout.

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Here is a Google Maps view of the building, looking from the left side of the map above toward the right side.

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Arthur died in 1956.

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Irene, his wife, died five years later. 

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Incidentally, here's the front & back of the war ration book, the Torpedo Factory today (a still photo and a movie), and the building at 218 N. Colombus Street, Alexandria, Virginia that the war rations board operated out of, which is now upscale apartments.

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The Torpedo Factory is now a tourist attraction.

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Below is a mini-documentary about the Torpedo Factory.

 

218 N. Columbus St. was the home of the War Rations Board.

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We all could look to Arthur Hollman, and millions like him in this era, for an example of how to be an honorable American.


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Topics: Alexandria, VA, Torpedo Factory, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Columbus Street, People, Places, Things, Arthur Hollman, Irene Ingram, Bashford Lane, Abington Lane, Evanston, IL, War Rationing, Warner Brothers, World War I, World War II

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