• “Herbert Hoover of the Food Administration visits Boston,” July 1921. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Herbert Hoover of the Food Administration visits Boston
    • Date
    • 1921-07
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Title and date from information provided by Leslie Jones or the Boston Public Library on the negative or negative sleeve.
    • Rights
    • Copyright (c) Leslie Jones. All rights reserved.
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    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "Food Ration Poster, World War I," 1918. Courtesy of Perkins School for the Blind via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Food Ration Poster, World War I
    • Date
    • 1918
    • Description
    • Basket full of vegetables with a battleground and American flag in the background. Text from item: Food is Ammunition- Don't waste it.
    • Rights
    • Samuel P. Hayes Research Library, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA. Contact host institution for more information.
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    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Perkins School for the Blind

  • "Food will win the war. Wheat is needed for the allies," 1917. Courtesy of Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Food will win the war. Wheat is needed for the allies
    • Date
    • 1917
    • Creator
    • Chambers, Charles Edward, approximately 1883-1941
    • Description
    • Image depicts U.S. immigrants in front of the Statue of Liberty, which is an iconic symbol for freedom. Caption below title reads, "You came here seeking freedom. You must now help to preserve it. Waste nothing. Even before the U.S. entered the war, ... more
      Image depicts U.S. immigrants in front of the Statue of Liberty, which is an iconic symbol for freedom. Caption below title reads, "You came here seeking freedom. You must now help to preserve it. Waste nothing. Even before the U.S. entered the war, it was a major supplier of foodstuffs to the Allies and neutral nations. In 1917, 90 percent of the wheat in Britain's daily bread was American. In April 1917, Herbert Hoover was appointed head of the new United States Food Administration and often repeated "Food will win the war" in his efforts to get Americans to show their patriotism on the home front by consuming less food. less
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    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

Herbert Hoover, head of the US Food Administration during World War I, famously declared, “Food will win the war.” Both he and the United States government more generally encouraged Americans at home to decrease their consumption of food and to focus on the production of more foodstuffs at home for soldiers abroad.

With the conflict firing on foreign shores, the United States remained able to produce goods at home, suffering no direct combat interruption. The goods it produced would serve as a source of food to those Allied nations where the battle overran production areas like farms and manufacturing plants. In 1918, the rate of United States food exportationmainly of bread, sugar, and meatincreased three-fold from the amount of exportation prior to the war.

Propaganda posters sang of food as “ammunition,” a commodity that Americans could employ as their own weaponry. By rationing their consumption and increasing food production for Allies in need, Americans on the home front could join the fight.