Treasures That Leave a Mark on History

Posted on 27th April, 2022

Our client was not aware of this part of his mother's past:

"It's such a little book, in this collection of enormity: Pearl Harbor, a Roosevelt speech, the invasion of Normandy, my father being in the South Pacific, and yet, you know, here's this one little token of that war. There's so much that it evokes."

A scrap of paper, fully intact, that entitled an American to a portion of flour and sugar during WWII.

Supplies were low and to ensure everyone was taken care of, the government handed out coupons. This war ration booklet was issued to a young student at Smith College. A nineteen-year-old who had left home for the first time as friends were becoming soldiers and world powers were going head-to-head.

She had left a large extended family behind- parents, siblings, grandparents- all under one roof. It would make sense that the household would be issued their own coupon booklet. But since this young woman was now on her own, she was given her own.

And that little piece of history was buried in our client's boxes of family photos and mementos.

Keeping the Stories of Family Memorabilia Alive

When we showed this artifact to our client, he found a new connection to his mother:

  • he realized how quickly she had to grow up because of that war
  • seeing all the boys she knew running off to enlist
  • standing in line, without her family, to get food
  • forging ahead in a scary time, finding strength through independence

He thought he knew everything about his mother, but he had never seen this war ration booklet before. "To have your whole life be changed in such a dramatic way. I think that coupon book is just a symbol of that, a token that it was hard. It was mind-boggling enough to have that be true. It helped me think of my mother in a whole new light."

It's a reminder that generations before us have gone through hard times, too. And made it to the other side. It's a symbol of hope. A message from those who have gone before you. And it's just waiting to be discovered.

Even the tiniest token can reveal beautiful - and unexpected - tales of a family's history. What treasures are waiting to be discovered in your photos and mementos? What dramatic stories from the past will you retell to your children and grandchildren? We can find them for you.