WWII Defense bond display, Grand Central Station, New York City

Defense Bond display at Grand Central Station, 1942 (Photo Credit: Arthur Rothstein/Westchester Magazine).

War is expensive, no matter when or where it is fought. During the World Wars, the United States government issued war bonds to help finance military operations. The purpose of these bonds were two-fold, they generated capital for the government as well as making citizens feel as though they were involved in helping the war efforts. The push for selling war bonds during the Second World War was important. The country just dug itself out of the Great Depression and the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 struck a deep chord. In an effort to increase citizen participation and reiterate the sense of patriotism, war bond drives became successful campaigns. Mass media and Hollywood stars and starlets helped to sell defense bonds. Drives and displays were created all over the country to promote homefront efforts. One such display is a massive mural by the Farm Security Administration in New York’s famed Grand Central Station.

The Library of Congress documents the progress of how the massive display at Grand Central Station came to be.

Fabrication of the mural by Farm Security Administration:

Photo Credit: Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration (Library of Congress)

Installing the defense bond sales photomural in the concourse of the Grand Central terminal:

Photo Credit: Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration (Library of Congress)

Photo Credit: Edwin Rosskam/Farm Security Administration (Library of Congress)

Photo Credit: Arthur Rothstein/Farm Security Administration (Library of Congress)

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