Verdugo Views: Spend some time with war-bond history

When the United States entered World War II, the nation needed financing in order to build up its defense system.

So the government issued a new series of war bonds. The first one, Series A, had been issued in 1935, as a way of promoting safe investments, according to Wikipedia. It was followed by series B, C, and so on.

By wartime, they were up to Series E. President Franklin D. Roosevelt purchased the first one from Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau. Ranging in value from $25 to $10,000, the bonds were first sold as ‘defense bonds' and later as ‘war bonds.'

Various ‘drives' to sell these bonds were conducted during the war years; each lasted a couple of months. The first began in late 1942, and by April 1944, when the accompanying photo was taken, the fourth drive had just been completed. It had raised $16.7 billion, well over the goal of $14 billion, again according to Wikipedia.

On that April, 1944 morning when Mrs. Robert A. Speed, president of Oakmont Junior Matrons, went down to the Victory House in Glendale to buy the bond, she had $500 worth of club funds with her. She planned to buy a bond in the name of the organization.

No doubt, it was an entirely planned bit of public relations, but she (and the newspaper photographer) found the bonds booth staffed by a fellow Matrons member, Mrs. Jack V. Darling.

The Matrons, who planned to use the bond as the basis of a new philanthropic fund, had raised the necessary monies in various ways, including a series of benefits called “Dance and Defend,” which were very popular; everyone turned out to support the cause and have a good time. “Many were planning to entertain in their homes earlier in the evening, before arriving at the 9:30 p.m. event at the Oakmont Country Club,” according to a Los Angeles Times on file in Special Collections.

The Matrons also supported the community's new War Chest, created by a group of local businessmen. Because of their donations to the War Chest; to the American Red Cross station wagon fund; and to the Home School, they were lauded for their war efforts by the local media.

They were also cited for their part in the Fourth War Loan Drive by the U.S. Treasury Department. Four other women's groups in Glendale were honored at the same time: the Tuesday Afternoon Club, the Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary, the American Women's Volunteer Service group and Business and Professional Women's Service Club.

By the way, the above information was gleaned from a wonderful old scrapbook assembled by Darling and donated several years ago to Special Collections. Turning the pages of the scrapbook — filled with photos, newspaper clippings and mementos of her years in the Matrons group — brought Glendale's war years to life.

And those war bonds? Through the patriotic efforts of the Matrons and the members of other clubs and organizations and private individuals all over town, all over California and all over the United States, more than $185 billion worth of war bonds was raised to finance the war.

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