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“Why Loyal Americans are Keeping the Pledge to Eat Less Wheat and Meat” was one of many posters issued by the U.S. government during World War I to encourage support of the war. During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration (USFA) was formed by President Woodrow Wilson. The USFA launched campaigns for food conservation and was just as important as other forms of war propaganda. Housewives across America were encouraged to mind the pantry, keep food waste down, and ration. With the United State’s ample supply of food, their first response was to become the foremost supplier in food relief aid in Europe when the war first broke out in 1914. France and Belgium received dedicated shipments and private organizations spent more than $1 billion to distribute 5 million tons of food across enemy lines. A typical ration for a U.S. infantryman consisted up to 5,000 calories made up from a pound or more of meat (bacon or fresh meat when possible), 20 ounces of potatoes, and 18 ounces of bread. The USFA became more heavily involved during 1917 when more focus was shifted on feeding American troops properly (McCowen, 2017).The USFA fixed the price of wheat, commandeered rail lines to improve transport lines, and intervened to prevent food monopolies. Luckily, Americans were still primed and ready, feeding off the high of patriotism and volunteerism when asked to practice food conservation. Homemakers and school children were asked to sign pledges to conserve food and eat less meat, wheat, sugar, fats. The poster above describes the food situation in Europe as being “on the verge of famine” and offers ways to conserve such foods. The artist and publisher of the poster are unknown, but it was most likely distributed in 1917 or 1918. The poster was most likely created and reproduced as a photomechanical print at the time of it’s distribution.


WWI, poster, United States Food Administration, United States Government, photomechanical print, President Woodrow Wilson