Bureaucracy: War Bond Budget Portfolio

War Bond Budget Portfolio. Detroit, MI: Norge Division, Borg-Warner Corp, 1942. Print.

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“This convenient Budget Portfolio will serve you in two ways: (1) as a compact, handy container for your War Bonds, and (2) as a systematic method for budgeting each bond for a specific after-war use.” So begins the description of the War Bond Portfolio, a statement that highlights the portfolio’s streamlining functions. This War Bond Portfolio is from 1942; it was available during World War II and was issued by Norge Household Appliances. War bonds were issued in order to help fund the war effort. During World War II, individuals could purchase a bond for $18.75 that would mature to $25.00 in ten years. Citizens were encouraged to purchase bonds as part of their patriotic duty. Many companies donated advertising and products in hopes of raising money for the war effort.

Norge Household Appliances offered this portfolio for free, and advertised for it through publications such as Life Magazine. Kathryn Cramer Brownell explains that during World War II, “appeals to citizens to purchase war bonds permeated every aspect of daily life. Newspapers, radio spots, theaters, and broadsides reminded individuals daily of their responsibility to buy war bonds” (69). Advertisements and pamphlets such as this one were not uncommon. They were found in nearly every individual activity, but print media was extremely popular. The portfolio urged citizens to buy war bonds, and it also advertised products or companies endorsing the effort.  Portfolios allow companies to advertise products that would serve a purpose in the user’s life, and they promoted America and the company’s products simultaneously. Within this particular pamphlet, Norge Appliances advertises for both the war effort and its appliances. Along the bottom of the back of the portfolio a banner reads, “When we win—see Norge before you buy.” Such statements connected patriotism to purchasing consumer products.

Although the primarily goal of the portfolio was advertising, the War Bond Portfolio was also a tool for streamlining the collection and storage of war bonds and the planning process for spending bonds after the war. It contains six sections for storing war bonds: savings, children’s education, new car or plane, vacation or travel, new house or farm, and miscellaneous. The last panel of the inside of the portfolio also contains a template for budgeting out the costs of Norge Appliances. In foregrounding streamlining, therefore, the War Bond Portfolio indicates that its bureaucratic form and functions are inextricable from its consumer appeal.

Find War Bond Budget Portfolio in the UNT Libraries Catalog.