#TBT: Saratoga School Days During World War II

One Saratogian looks back on the days of defense stamps and ration books.

Two young boys at School 2 on Van Dam between Clinton and Lawrence streets during World War II. (George S. Bolster Collection)

In the early 1940s, World War II was on everyone’s minds, including those of elementary school students in Saratoga. “All the guys were just waiting to get old enough to go into the service,” says Paul Eichman, who attended School 3 on Catherine Street from 1937-1945 and now lives in Tennessee. “You had a coupon book that would get you sugar and gasoline and a few other things. What you wanted to eat, you grew in your backyard.” 

Saratoga schoolchildren, including those in this 1942 photograph from School 2 on Van Dam, were able to help with the war effort by purchasing defense stamps for as little as 10 cents and pasting them into a booklet. Once the booklet was filled with stamps totaling $18.75, it could be turned in for a war bond, which would be worth $25 years later. “Everybody had a book,” Eichman says. “I think most kids did it.” Most adults did it, too—some 85 million Americans purchased bonds totaling $185 billion between February 1942 and December 1945. “The whole attitude of the country was different,” says Eichman. “It was a different era, to say the least.”

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the director of content at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living.


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