Christine Gauvreau, Project Coordinator, Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project,
Connecticut State Library
Do government campaigns to promote “voluntary” patriotic efforts in a time of war strengthen or weaken American democracy?
- What did the U.S. Food Administration and the Connecticut Committee on Food Supply hope to accomplish with the food pledge campaign?
- What methods were employed to achieve these goals, who employed these methods, and to whom did they appeal?
- How did gender, income level, religion, and place of national origin affect how residents experienced or evaluated the food pledge campaign?
- What opposition, if any, was there to home front mobilization campaigns?
Things you will need to teach this lesson.
|Download the article “Hoover, How Can You?” Four Lights: An Adventure in Internationalism, July 14, 1917, p. 2. Published by the Women’s Peace Party, New York.|
|Download the article “State Food Conservation Committee Save Quantity Food Through Girls Army.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, December 20, 1917, 9:1-2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.|
|Download the article “Thousands Working in Campaign: Canvassers Explaining Food Pledge Movement to Housewives Throughout the Country—Those Who Refuse to Sign Are Pro-German—Norwich Expected to Net 4,500 Pledges.” Norwich Bulletin, November 3, 1917, 3: 3-4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.|
|Download the article “German Agents Hindering Food Savings Plans.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, October 31, 1917, 1:1-2. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.|
|Download the article “Housewives in This City Are Being Fleeced.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 1, 1917, 1:3-4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.|
|Download the article “Pacifist Pastor Refuses to Sign a Food Pledge.” Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 2, 1917, 1:4-5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.|
|Download the article “Letters to the Editor: But Few Slackers.” Norwich Bulletin, August 11, 1917, 4:6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.|
- Introduce the compelling question and the initial supporting questions that will drive the inquiry.
- Together as a class, examine Source #1 (“Food will Win the War” poster.) Track students’ observations and questions about the source. What clues does the poster provide about the goals and methods of the U.S. Food Administration?
- Next, break the class into smaller work groups/pairs.
- Assign 1-3 primary sources from Part 2 of the toolkit to each group/pair. Allow the small groups time to develop responses to the initial supporting questions based on the primary sources and generate additional supporting questions.
- Ask each work group to briefly share their source(s), findings, and questions with the rest of the group.
- Discuss responses to the compelling question based on the evidence from the primary sources provided.
- Have the class (as a whole) propose avenues for further research that interest them, explaining why they think such research might be important.
- Students will write a response to either the original compelling question or another student-generated question, citing the primary sources they relied upon. Students will include thoughts about what kind of further research would be needed if they were to pursue the question further. Students will then gather with their work groups, share their answers, and gently critique each others’ work, choosing one response to share with the class as a whole, if desired.
- Imagining themselves as a Connecticut resident in 1917, students will write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper in response to the question: “Should the names of those families who do not sign the Food Pledge be published in our newspaper?” Students may select or be assigned different perspectives from which to respond, such as a struggling immigrant housewife, the mother of a soldier fighting in France, a local pacifist, etc.
- Students will investigate the dietary/food conservation recommendations made by the United States Food Administration and Connecticut Committee of Food Supply. What kinds of foods/meals were recommended to help with the war effort? What would nutritionists/dietary specialists think of these recommendations today? To get started, students could look at these resources:
- Cutting the meat bills with milk. http://cdm15019.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p128501coll2/id/280334
- Wheatless recipes tested in the experimental kitchen of the Food administration, 1918. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gdc/scd0001.00128222273
- Save the products of the land–Eat more fish-they feed themselves. https://www.loc.gov/item/2002708881/
- War time cookery: a collection of recipes that will not only reduce the high cost of living but are especially adapted to wheatless and meatless days, 1917. https://archive.org/details/wartimecookeryco00club
- Economical war-time cook book, ca. 1918. https://archive.org/details/economicalwartim00hill
- Eat more corn, oats and rye products – … Eat less wheat, meat, … https://www.loc.gov/item/94507600/
- Wholesome – nutritious foods from corn. https://www.loc.gov/item/93502253/
- War economy in food, with suggestions and recipes for substitutions in the planning of meals, 1918. https://archive.org/details/wareconomyinfood00unit
- Sugar–save it. https://www.loc.gov/item/00653194/