ODN Item of the Week: World War II Ration Memorabilia

World War II Supplemental Mileage Ration

The State Library of Ohio, located in Columbus, is officially designated as a depository for U.S. Government Publications. What does this mean? It means that the State Library both stores and provides access to documents published by the Federal Government. That can mean published and bound books, printed material and pamphlets, microfilm and fiche, maps, and more. Selected libraries across the country have been receiving these items since the 1800s, so that members of the public can have unfettered access to them when needed.

At over 1 million publications, the State Library’s Government Documents collection contains a wealth of treasures both interesting and unique. One such collection is the Word War II Ration Memorabilia you can find on DPLA. Dozens of ration application packets and stamp books have been digitized and can now be viewed online. You can view¬†“both certificates and stamps which were to be used for the purchase of bicycles, cars, food, fuel oil, gasoline, rubber footwear, shoes, sugar, tires and typewriter rental”, and learn more about the methods and systems of rationing that were employed during WWII.

Today we are looking at a Supplemental Mileage Ration booklet, issued by the Office of Price Administration. Many ration programs were divided into subcategories based on need. Mileage (gasoline) rations were distributed to a driver based on whether their car was essential to to the war effort or not, or if they were a government official. Average citizens (A stamp) were allowed the least amount of gas per week, usually 3-4 gallons. These B stamps were for driving considered essential to the war, but there were C, T, and X stamps in addition to those. Individuals with B stamps were allowed 8 gallons of gas per week. I imagine that didn’t get you too far, with 1940s-era gas mileage quality!