Exactly a century ago this summer, the United States began borrowing money from its own citizens. World War I brought with it the need for dramatic increases in government spending, and appealing to patriotism was one way to find the funding. The Liberty Loan Committee, one of the largest committees in American history, organized highly successful advertising campaigns to convince average Americans to buy Liberty Bonds.
Though today’s Americans consider the purchase of government bonds as routine for investors, it was a major innovation. Borrowing and lending moved to the social mainstream. The Liberty Loan Committee innovated in another way, too, however. Among their many different campaigns was one targeted at women as investors. The Report of National Woman’s Liberty Loan Committee for the First and Second Liberty Loan Campaigns gave the text of an ad they ran in newspapers nationwide, including the line, “For the first time in our remembrance women are asked to come into BIG BUSINESS as partners.”