top of page
  • Hanna Rashidi, Intern & Guest Blogger

A Taste of Providence: World War I & Self-Rationing

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

During WWI, May Lippitt Steedman, daughter of Henry and Mary Ann, worked with the Providence Red Cross heading the knitting and garment workshops, the motor corps, and canteen. These supply support activities were in response to pressures from the intensifying war in Europe. An area of particular stress in the American supply chain was food. The strain on food sources was not simply caused by feeding U.S. soldiers, but also because of American relief efforts to address widespread famine in Europe. A lot of the farmland of Europe had been turned into battle grounds and many farmworkers were serving in the military; the continent faced extreme shortages for millions of people. During the period between 1914 and 1923, the U.S. sent approximately $6 billion worth of food and other supplies to Europe. (source).

Cutting down on food consumption was emphasized as a way of assisting the war effort. Herbert Hoover, appointed by Woodrow Wilson as the head to the U.S. Food Administration, was quoted as saying "Food will win the war." (source).