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Interpreting the Evidence

Liberty Bread Shop Poster

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Liberty Bread Shop Poster, World War I, Dorchester, MA, c. 1917 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Liberty Bread Shop poster, Dorchester, MA, advertising the sale of "wheat substitute breads and cooked cereals" during World War I. This advertisement was included in "Reports from Patriotic Societies," c. 1917.
Historical Context
In 1917, the United States Food Administration began a campaign to encourage the voluntary reduction in the consumption of certain foods. Wheat was one of the items that appeared on the food shortage list. The government did not want to appear as a dictatorship, like those in the Central Powers, by demanding compliance. Therefore, a campaigning appealing to the patriotism and conscience of the citizens was launched. Government agencies, local businesses, and educational institutions were solicited to help spread information on how to help conservation efforts.
Advertisements were used to encourage and educate the general population on using wheat substitutes. Many communities adopted strategies like “Wheatless Wednesdays.” The pamphlets, posters, and educational brochures included recipes using acceptable substitutes and other ways of reducing the consumption of the items in short supply.
Essential Question
How does military conflict impact a national economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the strategies used to counter the economic strains of the war and explain how these strategies would contribute to the war effort.
Historical Challenges
Besides food items, what other products were Americans asked to conserve during World War I? Why was there a shortage of these items? How did Americans respond to the request for conservation of these products?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: If free demonstrations increased the Liberty Bread Shop’s sales by 22% daily and the sales on days without demonstrations were $200.00, how much would the shop increase its profits if it offered demonstrations for 7 days in a row?
Art: Design your own poster advertising conservation of an item that is in reduced supply today.