South Portland in Cumberland County, Maine — The American Northeast (New England)
WWII: On the Home Front
During the war we all did our part to contribute. At first I worked at the shipyard as a welder. Then I served on board the Francis Retka, a Liberty ship we launched from the East Yard.
Welder, 1941-1944, New England Shipbuilding Corp.
Whether buying war bonds, planting Victory Gardens, rationing, or recycling everything from rubber tires to bacon fat, Americans united in their effort to help their family, friends, and fellow citizens who were fighting to end World War II. The citizens of South Portland were no exception.
The economic prosperity brought on by World War II stood in sharp contrast to the poverty of the Depression era. For those who recently endured the hardships of the previous decade, sacrifice, unemployment, and scraping by all remained fresh in their minds. They accepted the shortages of gas, food, and many other staples as a necessity to help win the war.
During the Depression years women had been discouraged from taking jobs away from the men. Ten years later, defense plants and factories actively recruited women into the work force. The federal government
Maine citizens planted gardens in backyards, in community gardens, even on unused corners of land at the shipyard to meet the U.S. government's nationwide goal of planting 36,000,000 gardens in one year. The summer issues of the shipyard's newsletters included recipes featuring ingredients from the Victory Garden columns gave advice on preparing soil, fertilizing, and selecting seeds. South Portland resident Belle Graney recalls canning workshops set up at the high school. "People brought produce from their Victory Gardens and cans they reused or purchased at the school, and the Home Economics instructor would show us how to use the pressure cooker to put up our fruits and vegetables."
Victory gardeners planted their crops with the confidence they were helping the war effort by not depleting the supplies of commercial farms and "assuring the fighting men and the home front of enough food."
[Photo captions read]
1. In 1941, Maine Maritime Academy opened in Castine, Maine to train young men as licensed deck and engine
2. Troops board the train at Union Station in Portland, Maine on March 11, 1941. Over 93,000 men and women from Maine served in the military during World War II.
3. Rallies at the shipyard, like this one with singer, Lucy Monroe, bolstered employee morale and war bond sales.
4. This Victory Edition of the Portland Press Herald proclaims the news of Japan's surrender.
5. With the good wages shipyard workers earned, many saved for the future by purchasing war bonds. New England Shipbuilding Corporation earned the Treasury Department's "T" Flag for exceeding quotas of the Fifth and Sixth War Loan drives.
6. The Ships for Victory slogan was used by the U.S. Maritime Commission (USMC), the federal agency responsible for the massive build up of the U.S. Merchant fleet during World War II. The USMC constructed over 5,700 vessels including the Liberty ships.
7. The war's demand for materials such as rubber, steel, and even shellac inspired some creative recycling efforts. Boy Scouts get in the spirit at this rubber tire drive at a Portland service station. Young people (left) recycle their records at a Portland theater.
Every meal you have in which you eat something from your own Victory Garden "means that you have helped the War Effort just that much. In order to assure our fighting men and the home front of enough food, 36,000,000 Victory gardens must be planted this year - they are, of course, in addition to the large commercial farms. So if you want the best of exercise - a lot of fun and really contribute to the War effort, do your part; plan now to have a Victory Garden.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Industry & Commerce • War, World II • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 43° 39.206′ N, 70° 14.018′ W. Marker is in South Portland, Maine, in Cumberland County. Marker is at the Liberty Ship Memorial in Bug Light Park, on Cushings Point, off Madison Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: South Portland ME 04106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Yard (here, next to this marker); Voyages for Victory (here, next to this marker); The Work Force (here, next to this marker); South Portland and Its Liberty Ships (here, next to this marker); The Ugly Ducklings (here, next The Ultimate Sacrifice (here, next to this marker); Liberty Ship Memorial (here, next to this marker); South Portland's Ships for Liberty (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Portland.
Also see . . .
1. Mobilizing the Home Front: An Annotated Bibliography. (Submitted on May 28, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. South Portland Shipyard Oral History Project. (Submitted on May 28, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. World War II and the Home Front. This is a huge file that takes a long time to load. Be patient. (Submitted on May 28, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. (Submitted on May 28, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 28, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 661 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on May 28, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.