Education

Westchester School Wins Prize for Selling Stamps, World War I, 1918


Historical Context
The U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, but lost no time in producing many more propaganda posters than any other single nation.  These encompassed recruitment to the various armed services, and raising money to finance the war via the hugely successful sale of liberty bonds and the sale of war savings stamps.



The war savings stamp (WSS) was a patriotic program used by the United States Treasury to help fund participation in World War I  and was principally aimed at school-age children. Stamps were available in 10 and 25 cent versions. In some cases collections of stamps could be redeemed for war bonds.



Two popular slogans for war savings stamps were "Joan of Arc saved France--Women of America, save your country--Buy War Savings Stamps", and “Every Scout to Save a Soldier”.  “Every Scout to Save a Soldier” was a slogan used to motivate Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help sell the stamps.



Quaker Ridge School in Westchester County, New York was recognized for having the largest per capital sales of war savings stamps during the year 1917-1918.
Essential Question
How do citizens contribute to a war effort?
Check for Understanding
Identify the key ideas of this article and evaluate the impact this article would have on the general public.
[click to enlarge]
"Westchester School Wins National Prize for 1918 W. S. S. Sales", New York State Archives, NYSA_A0412-78_B33_F16_QuakerRidge
Document Description
Quaker Ridge School in Westchester County wins a national prize in 1918 for selling War Savings Stamps, World War I.
Questions
  1. Why do you think the government targeted school-age children in their war savings stamp posters?
  2. Why would Joan of Arc be a powerful symbol for the selling of war savings stamps?
  3. How much in per capital sales did the Quaker Ridge School in Westchester County, NY achieve?
  4. In what future war(s) would war savings stamps be sold to help pay for the war?
Historical Challenge
Research 10 propaganda posters used during World War I for either the selling of Liberty Bonds or War Savings Stamps and answer the following questions for each poster: -Who is the target audience? -What emotions is the poster appealing to? -Who are the main characters/figures in the poster? -What symbols are used to promote patriotism?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Create war savings stamps using the 2 slogans mentioned.
Math: If every person in your class purchased twenty 25 cent war savings stamps, how much would your class raise toward the war?
Resources
  1. Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  2. http://www.firstworldwar.com/index.htm