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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: Life in Austin during World War II graphic: Let's go USA
Exhibit Overview
For the Duration Doing Our Part
For the Duration
Military Installations
Photograph of man on back of truck receiving bushel of sweet potatoes from two gentlemen on ground
Home Away From Home
Serving Our Country
Elnora Douglass
Victory at Long Last
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Photograph of men with mule-drawn plow in cultivated field Workers harvested a bumper crop of sweet potatoes from the City's 1943 victory garden located along the banks of the Colorado River. Fresh and canned vegetables from the garden were donated to local hospitals and other public institutions. As mounting war efforts created greater demands on the nation's food supplies, those on the home front were encouraged to become "backyard patriots" by planting their own victory gardens.
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Photograph of aluminum collection bin in front of Capitol The kick-off of the "Aluminum for Defense" drive was held nationwide on July 21, 1941. Locally, Mayor Tom Miller served as chairman for the event and over 1,000 youngsters lined up at the Paramount Theater with their aluminum "admission tickets" for a viewing of the movie "They Met in Bombay," starring Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell. According to the plan, the scrap metal was to be used for civilian purposes so that first-grade aluminum would be available for airplanes and other defense needs. Austinites collected a total of 25,000 pounds which was sent to an approved smelter in Chicago.
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"City Workmen today were preparing a collection station for scrap aluminum at 11th and Congress where Austin citizens may, without leaving their automobiles, toss the metal as part of the nation-wide campaign."
The Austin Tribune, July 17, 1941
War Ration Book cover

War Ration Book with ration stamps
The federal government restricted building materials during the war. This brought virtually all major construction in Austin to a halt. There was, however, one glaring exception. The number of building permits issued for residential garages rose dramatically as gasoline, tires, and automobiles became scarce commodities.

The need to keep the frontline troops supplied with food, fuel, and weapons necessitated homefront limitations on everything from coffee and sugar to work shoes and home appliances.
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"Chalk this one up to sugar rationing. A prowler (who had a severe case of sweet tooth) entered the home of Mrs. Eugene Johnson, 3404 Hollywood Streetů.He contented himself by eating several pieces of candy. Nothing else was touched, according to police reports."
The Austin Statesman, June 27, 1945
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