administration poster

Herbert Hoover to Head US Food Administration

A poster from the US Food Administration from late 1917, aimed at immigrants.

July 30 1917, Washington–The United States’ entry into the war on the side of the Allies brought along with it their substantial food production, sorely needed in a Europe ravaged by war and beset by German U-boats.  Of course, the United States also needed to manage its supplies for domestic use, as well.  Wilson wanted a centralized body to manage the food supply, under the direction of one man–Herbert Hoover, who had already achieved fame organizing American food relief efforts in Belgium.  Congress was at first reluctant giving so much power to one man, but on July 30 acquiesced.  The President would sign the act creating the U.S. Food Administration under Hoover on August 10.

The Food Administration was responsible for the purchase and sale of large quantities of food, to be used for the provision of the US Army in Europe, relief for American allies, and to provide a stable price for American wheat.  This last provision eventually became extremely contentious, with many farmers arguing that the price (initially aimed for $2/bushel) was too low.  Hoover also had authority to go after hoarding and profiteering, including cracking down on the distillation of spirits from grain.  He also now headed up a large propaganda arm with the aim of convincing Americans to conserve food.  A similar Fuel Administration was set up later in August, under Harry Garfield, president of Williams College and son of the late President.

Today in 1916: German Attack on Jersey City Damages Statue of Liberty
Today in 1915: Germans Use Flamethrowers at Hooge Crater
Today in 1914: Czar Nicholas II Orders Russian General Mobilization

Among the original silk-screened Work Projects Administration (WPA) Posters (900 posters, 1936-43) produced by various branches of the WPA, there are several that address women directly, promoting prenatal care, advertising employment opportunities, and offering advice about health and child-rearing matters.