The beginning of January is usually a time to limit certain foods, to budget, to make a decision to better yourself and maybe others as well. 100 years ago, rationing was part of life. There were no choices. It was done for the greater good. It was the First Great War and not only did they need young men to enlist, and women to sign up to become nurses, they also needed all the people at home to do one important task: ration.
Yesterday, Library as Incubator Project tweeted and brought my attention to The McLean Museum and Art Gallery's online collection of World War I posters featured on a website created by the museum, titled Inverclyde’s Great War. I quickly clicked the provided link (as I am passionately interested in World War I, those who sacrificed, and the aftermath that occurred between the two world wars). There are countless stunning posters encouraging the purchase of war bonds or thrifts stamps, calls to enlist from various branches, words to encourage women to do their part, but the ones that caught my attention first were those asking people to ration. Save Food, Eat Less Bread, Don't Waste It, and Save or Starve. Not just food, of course, but coal, gas, and clothing. Those deep in the trenches needed not just food, but ways to stay warm. Salvage and save, not just for those at home, but those fighting on the front lines.
These images are beautiful and a bit haunting to think not very long ago people were motivated by the word "ration" and not "resolution."
Here is a collection of posters belonging to The McClean Museum and Art Gallery. I do not own them, but share them for educational and aesthetic purposes. Please do make time to check out the whole collection, which you can find here.