The United States Food Administration was established to conserve the supply of food distributed during war time. The goal was to preserve food and supplies for the soldiers, in order to maintain their strength while fighting in combat. The use of ration books started when the Office of Price Administration warned Americans that soon, there would be shortages of gasoline, steel, aluminum, and electricity.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Office of Price Administration established the use of ration books throughout the United States. War ration books were distributed to almost every citizen during both WWII. These books are representative of the ration books of that time period.
The ration books are preserved in a flattened, dark brown, leather case that has one flap The leather holder appears to be starting to deteriorate; the threads are pulling apart, creating additional space between the flap. The majority of the case is a thin layer of leather that is surrounded by an olive green border. Enclosed in the 6in by 6 3/4in (15cm by 14 1/2 cm) case are four paper books: the certificate of registration (Book 1); Book 2 which contains ration coupons; Book 3 is an application for war rations; and Book 4 contains ration coupons for sugar, wheat, processed foods, meats, and fats. On the front or back of each ration book are instructions on how to use the books and an explanation describing why rationing is important. Each internal page includes 48 ration coupons per item and items such as wheat and sugar have two pages of ration coupons.
Many civilians were told to limit their consumption of meats, wheats, fats and sugars in order to supply the soldiers with the proper amount of nutrition needed to sustain their energy on the battlefield. Each American was issued a new ration book every month. If a ration book had either been misplaced or left at home, citizens were unable to purchase these goods. Without war ration books, limiting the distribution of food, our soldiers would not have been able to survive the extreme conditions of combat.