From the Archives: The $6-million secretary

Aug. 9, 1943: Joyce Davis holds Victory Bond notes
Aug. 9, 1943: Joyce Davis, secretary to Los Angeles City Treasurer Clifford Steele, holds six $1 million Victory Bonds.
(Los Angeles Times)

During a World War II Victory Bond drive, the city of Los Angeles purchased $6 million in bonds using already approved construction project funds. The war halted civic construction projects.

A Los Angeles Times story explained:

Miss Joyce Davis is more than a girl with a million.

She is a girl with $6,000,000 right in her hands.


The real low-down on it is that she is the secretary to Clifford K. Steele, who is Treasurer for the city of Los Angeles. The six notes – for $1,000,000 each – represent money invested by the city in Victory Bonds purchased in the recent drive to raise $40,000,000 locally to finance building the cruiser Los Angeles.

It was money earmarked for projects that can’t be commenced until after the war and now we’ll get $180,000 interest on the notes in the next three years,” explained Treasurer Steele.


This unpublished 4-inch-by-5-inch negative was found mixed in with some 1943 negatives of Frank Sinatra. After a little research, I found the published story and a different image, from the same shoot, of Davis holding all six notes.

This post originally was published on July 26, 2011.