History of rationing WWII: FDR's ration book.

A WWII Ration Book Issued to FDR

A WWII Ration Book Issued to FDR

The Vault
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Nov. 18 2014 12:58 PM

A WWII Ration Book Issued to FDR

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This ration book, issued to President Franklin Roosevelt, can be found in the President’s papers at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. The Roosevelts adhered to mandatory rationing along with other voluntary wartime homefront initiatives, like planting a victory garden and installing blackout curtains on the White House. The standard ration book includes coupons for staples like flour, wheat, sugar, and meat.

Food in the Roosevelt White House was famously poor. In a 1949 installment of her weekly newspaper column “My Day,” Eleanor Roosevelt defended the White House cook Henrietta Nesbit, who had been a longtime friend of the First Lady, from allegations that the food she had made had displeased the President. Roosevelt wrote, “All food ceased to be interesting to [Franklin] in the last year or two of his stay in the White House”—presumably due to his declining health and the stresses of office.

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Roosevelt admitted that unappetizing meals had occasionally been served at the White House, but argued that this had been done at her own behest, and from patriotic motives. For example, she had “had some menus served which were intended for people on relief” during the Depression. And during the war, she asserted, “We lived up to rationing strictly.” 

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.