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Interpreting the Evidence

World War II Ration Book, Diana Mujica, ca. 1945

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    The Great Depression and WW II (1929 - 1945)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War II

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load World War II Ration Book, Diana Mujica, ca. 1945 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
War ration book of Diana Mujica, an eleven-year-old Puerto Rican girl, ca. 1945. Ration books were used during World War II for identification, and to control the amount of food and certain goods allowed per person. Many items were in short supply due to a transition to military production in place of consumer goods. Rationing was initiated by the United States government to ensure that everyone got his or her fair share of staples.
Historical Context
The United States started nationwide food rationing in 1942 during World War II.  Each member of the family was given a ration book. These books contained stamps and gave precise details about the amount of meat, gasoline, sugar, and other important items that a person was allowed to buy. An individual was limited to the amounts dictated by the stamps, even if he or she could afford to buy more. Stores had to collect both money and stamps when rationed items were purchased. These books insured that all citizens were given a fair share of food and other materials that were in short supply due to the war.  Rationing was one of the sacrifices Americans were asked to make to help the war effort on the home front.
Essential Question
How does war impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Identify the purpose of this document and explain why this system was necessary during a time of war.
Historical Challenges
What other sacrifices did American citizens make during World Wars I and II?
Interview an older American who lived through World War II and ask him or her about his/her experiences with rationing.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Create your own World War II poster to try and convince civilians to help the war effort.
Math: Create your own family budget subject to the restrictions of rationing stamps. Make a shopping list of items to buy.