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Austin Treasures: Online Exhibits from the Austin History Center Austin Treasures Home Austin History Center Home

Graphic: Uncle Sam Red Points and Ration Cards: Graphic: Let's go USA!
Life in Austin during World War II
Exhibit Overview Home Away From Home
Doing Our Part Serving Our Country
For the Duration Elnora Douglass
Military Installations Victory at Long Last!

Exhibit Overview
Austin in the early '40s: the population was 114,000; I-35 was yet to be built; the average rent per month was $35; Lyndon Johnson was the congressional representative from this area. Newspaper headlines charted the progress of battles in World War II, and President Roosevelt cautioned that a "long hard war" lay ahead.

Smaller, local news stories recorded changes taking place on the home front to help our armed forces win the war. Since soldiers' needs came first, the homefolks did their part by rationing food ("red points" were the cardboard tokens given as change from purchases made with ration cards), planting victory gardens, recycling metals, and buying defense bonds. Austin brides followed their new husbands to military posts around the country. Local businesses reduced deliveries to save gasoline. The University of Texas considered a new class for women in elementary aircraft drafting.

During this time, Austin was known as a "Home Away from Home" for over 20,000 military personnel and their families. Austinites found ways to entertain the troops as they came into the city each weekend from nearby Camp Gary, Fort Hood, Camp Swift, and Bergstrom Field. Join us now for a look at life in Austin during World War II.

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