“Make This World Safe for the Babies”: The Liberty Loan Committee’s Appeal to American Women

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.”

Liberty Loan Committee Records (MC089), Box 14, Folder 29.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 22-28

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, protesters are arrested at Nassau Hall, a professor urges Princetonians to buy Liberty Loan bonds, and more.

May 22, 1949—Nassau Hall’s flag flies at half mast as a tribute to James V. Forrestal, a member of the Class of 1915 and the nation’s first Secretary of Defense, who died after jumping out a window on the sixteenth floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital on this date.

James Forrestal, ca. 1940s. Official U.S. Navy Photo. James V. Forrestal Papers (MC051), Box 188.

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