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World War II Ration Book, 1942
Courtesy, Private Collection.

When nationwide food rationing was instituted in the spring of 1942, every New Jersey housewife became part of the World War II home front effort. The ration book pictured here is for a five-year-old girl, Barbara Kellog, of Union City. Each member of the family was issued ration books, and it was the challenge of the homemaker to pool the stamps and plan the family's meals within the set limits. Sugar, butter, coffee, and beef-steak were especially scarce and valued items. Home canning and the "victory garden" were added to the homemaker's concerns. Ration stamps became a type of currency, and lost ration books a major headache.

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