Thursday Night Post

This week, all War Bonds, all the time, in the 18 November, 1944 Saturday Evening Post. (Hover over images to see descriptions/text transcriptions, click if you’d like to see larger versions on Flickr.) These advertisements fascinate me, especially some of the language used; I’d be interested to hear from readers who were around in 1944 about War Bonds and the social pressure to buy them. The language in many of the ads I’ve seen is pretty intense, making it clear that people should feel heartily ashamed of themselves if they don’t buy War Bonds. Indeed, we have ads coming out and saying that people should overstretch themselves and buy more than they can afford or they will be bad citizens.

Interesting counterpoint to the culture of thrift which we generally assume was present in the 1940s. And chilling to read now, in the throes of an economic crisis caused by lack of thrift among many Americans.

Ad is dominated by a black and white image of a father and son in front of a display case which holds the Declaration of Independence.  Text reads: Son, money cannot buy these words, but it can defend them!  The priceless heritage of freedom written into the Declaration of Independence belongs to us today because of the sacrifice of men who are fighting and dying to keep that freedom alive. You can help defend our sacred trust by buying War Bonds.  In support of the 6th War Loan*The Electric Auto-Lite Company, Toledo, 1, Ohio

Advertisement is dominated by a full colour image of an oversized hand, holding a blue tie with red circles superimposed over the image of a smaller white man in a suit, holding his suit jacked in his right hand and grinning.  Text weaves around the image, reading: Heres something wed like to hold against you.  If youre pardon the brag, theres nothing thatll tone up the front of you like a colorful, perfect-knotting Arrow Tie.  We dont say this simple because we make Arrows. We have the assurance of millions of American men that such is the case.  So drop in at your Arrow dealers and look over his selection of Arrow Ties. Youll like what you see. Cluett, Peabody, & Co. Inc.  $1, $1.50, and $2  At the bottom of the image, another man in a suit, with papers reading War Bond sticking out from his pockets and hat band.  Text below reads:  ...but dont have this held against you!  The American civilians duty is to buy and buy War Bonds...more--yes, more--than he can afford! Dont shirk your duty. Buy Bonds till it hurts!  Arrow Ties  [drawn arrow logo]  Shirts, underwear, handkerchiefs

Note this: “The American civilian’s duty is to buy and buy War Bonds…more—yes, more—than he can afford! Don’t shirk your duty. Buy Bonds till it hurts!”

Half of this full colour ad depicts a painting of a busy downtown, with a blue news van in the foreground. The side of the van reads Buy an Extra War Bond. A newsboy is unloading the van, passing piles of papers to people with astonished facial expressions. Small text under the painting reads buy more war bonds now!  Advertising text below the main image reads: Today, our armed forces still have first call on rubber! Today, tires are still scare! That's why Kellys extra mileage is as timely as a headline. Today, as always, thousands of American motorists are counting on Kellys to see them through.  And so its been for 50 years--ever since the first Kelly solid rubber tires were made by hands for carriages of the Gay Nineties. Through the years Kellys have been known for the extra tire miles built into them by skilled craftsmen. Today, this reputation for dependability is your assurance that you can count on them to see you through.  Remember, for more trouble-free miles per tire, you cant beat a Kelly--dependable for 50 years.  The Kelly-Springfield Tire Company  Cumberland, Maryland  Small box at the side of the text shows war bonds, illustrated in black and white, with text: Our Dougboys are counting on your dough--Buy an EXTRA WAR BOND TODAY!  Yes, dig down deep into your jeans. Make your idle dollars fighting dollars. Shorten that long road to Tokyo by buying more bonds than you can afford. Our boys need your help.  Bottom of the ad has another full colour illustration of a Kelly tire on a light green background. In large black, green, and red lettering, text says: Proved and Improved for 50 Years Kelly Springfield Tires, with the company seal, showing a horse and carriage and the dates 1894-1944, in gold on the lower right.

Again with the not subtle: “Yes, dig down deep into your jeans. Make your idle dollars fighting dollars. Shorten that long road to Tokyo by buying more bonds than you can afford. Our boys need your help.”

Buy till it hurts, indeed.

One Reply to “Thursday Night Post”

  1. I was five when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

    War Bonds–lots of pressure to buy. You didn’t have to buy a whole bond at once–you could buy savings stamps and fill up a little booklet, which then turned into a war bond.

    And there was a significant degree of competition in the schools as to which classroom bought the most stamps/bonds. As I recall there were 10 cent stamps and 25 cent stamps.

    (Now we call them Savings Bonds.)

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