You are now in the GOVERNMENT HISTORY GALLERY of the Museum Of Yesterday. In this gallery you will have an opportunity to explore the 20th Century people and things that made our country great.

20th Century Commerce and Government
December 7, 1941: The world is changed forever as Japan brings the United States of America into World War II with the attack and bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Click here to listen to Franklin D. Roosevelt address to Congress requesting a Declaration of War.
The concept of rationing is totally foreign to America's present generations. During World-War II, items which we take for granted in today's plentiful society such as sugar, tires, meat and other food products, were rationed to insure that the military had adequate products and goods with which to fight the war. Each individual or household received ration coupons, as shown above. These coupons allowed the purchase of a limited amount of goods each month. Other items such as radios, certain electrical goods, automobiles, household appliances and machinery were unobtainable in the civilian markets. Gasoline was also seriously regulated, and most citizens were only allowed enough gasoline to travel to their war plant jobs. This was a far cry from our world today where items of every description are plentiful and easily obtainable. This serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that people of the era were willing to make in the interest of preserving Freedom and Liberty.
The government's wartime pricing authority authorized the issuing of service awards for civilians who had performed volunteer service in support of the war effort. This is an actual un issued certificate from the Virginia area.


It is extremely difficult for today's youth to comprehend the sacrifices that were made by their ancestors and fellow Americans during the dark days of World War II. In our attempt to recreate the atmosphere that was the "War Years," we have called upon our communications archives in order to allow our guests to experience a "typical day" in wartime America. The following links comprise a complete broadcast day in the mid 1940's, as captured by WJSD, a Washington DC radio station. The files cover the broadcast day starting at 6 A.M., and continue until sign-off at midnight. The listener can experience a feel for the action that brought hope to the nation that the war may soon be drawing to a close.

Our guests are welcome to download and play the files. Please do not try to play the files directly from the Internet as that clogs our servers and prevents others from enjoying the museum's web site. Please right click and download the files to your computer before attempting to play them. Enjoy!

PART 6 PART 13  
PART 7 PART 14  
The Liberty Bond drive, which was crucial in financing World War II, was continued into the era of the Korean war. As a young child in school in the early 1950s, we had "Bond Day" each week. On those days, a representative would come to the school and sell special US Savings Stamps. As children, we were encouraged to cash in our snack and allowance money in order to purchase these investments in Freedom, which, when accumulated, could be converted to a real U.S. Savings Bond to save for our college educations. Many "Baby Boomers" continued this practice into adulthood through deductions for the Payroll Savings Plan through their employers. For today's generation, that ethic of saving has all but disappeared as our socialist government leaders now promise cheap student loans with the possibility of the government forgiving the debts when it becomes politically expedient. Furthermore, the current trend seems to be to punish those who do save their money through disproportionate taxing of return on savings.
The deployment of America's first atomic bombs against the empire of Japan was successful in ending World War II, but the unleashing of the atom signaled the beginning of a new age in American History. For those who were around in the 1950s, the "Nuclear Age" brought a whole new realm of concerns for this Nation and the world.

A familiar fixture in many buildings during the 1950's was the official Civil Defense "Fallout Shelter" sign. In the event of a disaster, which Civil Defense planners thought at the time would most likely be a nuclear attack on America by the Soviet Union, citizens were instructed to report to the nearest Civil Defense Fallout Shelter. These shelters were typically designated areas in the basement levels of commercial buildings, police and fire stations, and other substantial structures in a city. In preserving those mid-20th Century historical memories of the "Cold War Era" for today's generations, the basement of the Museum Of Yesterday has been designated and outfitted as an official 1950's style Civil Defense Fallout Shelter.
Another icon of the "Cold War" era was the yellow V-777-2 Civil Defense radiation kit. Designed with the intent of measuring radiation levels after a nuclear attack, the kit contained a geiger counter, calibration kit as well as instructions for the layman. As nuclear weapons became more powerful with the discovery of the hydrogen bomb, the idea of anyone surviving a nuclear attack, began to diminish.
1950's school children participating in a cold war era Civil Defense "duck and cover" drill. In New Orleans Public Schools, these random drills were conducted, alternately with standard fire drills, on a monthly basis. As students, we were often shown movies of the destruction of Japanese cities where the A-bombs were deployed at the close of World War II. This served to instill awareness in young children of that era so that they would realize what devastation such an attack would unleash.


A major public concern in the 1950's was the rise of Communism, and the threats by Soviet leaders to infiltrate the United States with "planted" Communist operatives whose mission it was to destroy the United States from within. At that time, an anti-Communist movement grew to great proportions in this country. A number of radio and television programs were produced to alert Americans to the danger of impending Communist takeover. Through the links below, we offer a sampling of the patriotic material that was offered through commercial media at the time.

NOTE: Please right click and download these programs rather than trying to view them over the internet connection. The two videos are not streaming files.

View the 1950 television series "What Is Communism"

Listen to an early 1950's radio show called "I Was A Communist For The FBI"

And the most famous of all "Cold War Era" TV programs, "I Led Three Lives"

Early in the 1950s, the age-old noon tolling of church bells for the Angelus, was suddenly supplemented by another sound. Across most American cities, the United States Civil Defense agency installed air-raid sirens to warn of impending nuclear attack. It was standard practice in most localities to test these devices each day at Noon. In New Orleans, the abundance of Catholic churches, with their synchronized tolling bells of different tones, rendered a strange symphony against the backdrop of the wailing air- raid siren. To hear an air - raid siren, click the photo above.

The CONELRAD system was another development of the "Cold War" era. Based on experience from WW-II and Korea, the government and commercial broadcasters had become well aware that signals from radio stations could be used to guide bomb carrying missiles to a target city.

The CONELRAD system established a cooperative among broadcasters where, in time of suspected attack, stations would all switch their broadcasting to either 640 or 1240 KHZ. Stations would then broadcast in short segments, in round-robin fashion, with each local station transmitting for very short periods. This way, a missile trained on a particular transmitter, would never be able to lock onto a target as it would loose that signal after a few seconds when the next station took over broadcasting the same program information from another geographic location.

Regular tests of the system were conducted throughout the 1950's, but the system became obsolete with the advent of communications satellites which could be used to more effectively position missiles toward a target. Today, the "Emergency Broadcast System" is still used as a means to transmit weather, earthquake and other emergency information to the public, however the EBS does not involve stations changing their broadcast frequencies as was the case with CONELRAD.

Most AM radio receivers made in the 1950s through the 1960s, have the CONELRAD frequency indicator marks (shown below) at the 640 and 1240 KHZ position on their dials.

Another "Cold War" era development was the municipal bomb shelter. This facility, which was located 40 feet below ground in New Orleans. Louisiana, was typical of Civil Defense operations centers that were constructed across the nation during the 1950s. The shelter shown here was comprised of a two story concrete building, below ground, which contained an operations center for public officials, dormitories to sleep 150, a fully equipped hospital, radio communications center, water and sewerage treatment plant, and a completely self sufficient electrical generation system. Portions of the structure still existed as of late 2012, but it has been abandoned by the government since the mid-1980s.

The Constitution of the United States is the basis for the greatest government and civilization in the history of the world. For over 230 years, the U.S. Constitution has proven to be a time-tested document that truly guarantees Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for those who live under it's authority. In the mid-20th Century, agents of foreign governments, who are focused on the destruction of our free country, began to infiltrate our government, courts, universities and educational system and most recently, many of our churches. Children today are not taught the truth about the great people who made our Country great, nor are they given the straight story on the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Most recently, even the official U.S. Government web site was corrupted with ms-represented text concerning the Second Amendment.

As a service to those who want to see the actual text of the United States Constitution and Bill Of Rights, a copy of the document is posted here. For those who wish to learn more about this monumental document, we suggest visiting The Freedom Foundation web site and also Hillsdale College, an independent college dedicated to teaching the Constitution as our Founding Fathers constructed it.


A reminder that in the 1960 school year, segregation was still in effect in most school systems. This official teacher's grade and attendance register from the Richmond, Virginia School System still required the teacher to record whether he or she was teaching in a "white" or "negro" school.


At the end of World War II, 98% of all products used in American homes were made in America. Today, only a few American manufacturers of durable goods exist. Today, less than 10% of our durable goods are made at home in the USA.

One of the significant economic factors of the mid-20th Century, that has been severely impacted by the government, is the use of tobacco. The government has used the issue of tobacco as a test case for determining how much of our civil rights they could take away before Americans rose up and called a halt to government intervention in private industry. The attack, which began in the 1960s, has now progressed to include products that Americans previously took for granted. With the successful government intervention in the Tobacco Industry, power grabbing progressive politicians have now successfully banned, or placed excessive controls on products such as light bulbs, coal, oil, most insecticide chemicals, certain foods, and they are now actively attacking private ownership of land and farming.

Information provided by polling giant Gallup, indicates that in 1954, cigarette use in the United States had peaked at 45% of the population. Today, that number has been reduced to around 20%. This is due mainly to awareness by the general population, that tobacco use does contribute to health problems. In studying the history of the -20th Century however, one cannot avoid observing the impact that the tobacco industry had on the US economy.

Our museum is based in Richmond, VA, which could be said to have been the Tobacco capital of the United States. Entire sections of the city were once devoted to factories and warehouses where tobacco was processed and produced, and farms around Richmond and Central Virginia, claimed Tobacco as one of their primary crops. Cigarette advertising, while banned in most media today, once served as a major supporting factor in radio, TV and magazine advertising. A large percentage of the "golden era" network radio programs were sponsored by tobacco companies. The stars of these shows, many of whom were associated with the products they advertised on their programs, ended up dying of tobacco related illnesses such as lung cancer; a testimonial to their undying allegiance to their sponsors.

In viewing the photos and items shown below, the history student can get a general idea of the impact that Tobacco had on our daily lives in the early and mid 20th Century.

Richmond's "Tobacco Row" once the home to such brands as Lucky Strike and Philip Morris.
Cigarette ads often alluded to the products being a means of preserving health.
Almost anyone could show up in a cigarette commercial or ad!
And today, this perky 1940's cheerleader would surely be arrested and charged with breaking the law were she to show up at school with a Chesterfield.
The irony of the entire tobacco industry fiasco can best be exemplified in the fact that Richmond, Virginia, home to many of the country's tobacco producers and processors, has now banned smoking in most public places. In recognizing the impact of tobacco on the economy in mid-20th Century America, the Museum Of Yesterday maintains a large collection of mid-century cigarette packs, smoking paraphernalia and advertising material.
A small sampling from the museum's mid-century tobacco products collection

No study of Mid 20th Century America would be complete without an honest look at family life and child rearing in that era. In this section, we take a look at some comparisons between the upbringing that we Baby Boomers enjoyed, as contrasted against common practices and problems facing parents today.

Some interesting comparisons can be made between the essentials of parenting in the Mid-20th Century as compared with today's "It Takes A Village" child rearing mentality. Interestingly, a look at statistics of serious childhood injuries and deaths, from the 1950's, shows no significant difference in the percentage of children who were killed or who received disabling injuries as compared to raising children with today's intrusive methods and parenting partnerships where children are considered to be the property of the State and not of their parents. Here are a few examples of things that were different back then:

There was no requirement in the 1950s that children travel in special car seats, or that any kind of restraints were required for children or adults. Child seats for small infants typically consisted of a canvas restraining chair which was simply slipped over the back of the standard passenger seat in a car. The fancy ones even came with a make-believe gear shift and steering wheel.
Not as safe as today's car seats? Probably yes, but never the less, we survived!


There was no such thing at the time. All children, including those who were hyper-active, were sent outdoors to play and expend their excess energy playing such games as "Cops and Robbers," Cowboys and Indians" and other games that would be considered politically incorrect and downright dangerous by today's standards. Despite the evil and politically insensitive games that we played, the Baby Boom generation is probably the most peaceful, law abiding and charitable generation in the nation today.


There were no disposable diapers. All babies were diapered with cloth diapers which were washed in detergents such as Ivory Snow (99 and 44/100% pure) and then hung in the yard to dry in the sun. This was considered "recycling" at the time. When in use, diapers were secured with steel safety pins. Despite all of this, the life expectancy of a baby boomer today is greater than any previous generation.


Mother's two most indispensable medicines. Whether it was teething pain, tummy ache, colic, or most common baby complaints, Paregoric or Whiskey was sure to cure it. Paregoric, a narcotic opium derivative, was sold over-the-counter at drug stores in the 1950s.


Breast Feeding of babies was the general rule rather than a subject for debate. There were no fancy formula products and no disposable feeding bottles. Bottles were reusable glass with rubber nipples, and they had to be sterilized before each filling. Formula consisted of milk mixed with possibly condensed milk or a cereal like substance called "Pabulum." Babies who were lactose intolerant were given goat's milk instead of milk from cows.

An "EVENFLOW" baby feeding bottle and a typical 1950s electric bottle sterilizer. These were the tools required for proper feeding of the infant "baby boomer."


In stark contrast to today's soft plastic padded sports car design strollers for babies, the baby stroller of the 1950s was an un protecting steel carriage with no safety features whatsoever known as the "Taylor Tot." We can't explain how we survived, but we did!


No, he wasn't the guy with the pointed ears! The 1950s saw early risings of the "I know more than you do about child rearing" mentality. The movement, championed by Benjamin Spock, MD, was the beginning of the "nanny state" and its all-consuming involvement in raising your child.


Unbeknownst to many today, Public Television's 'Sesame Street' was not the original pioneering child educational program that it claims to be. Long before Big Bird and Cookie Monster were even conceived, Miss Frances (Dr. Frances R. Horwich), a noted child educator, had established "Ding Dong School." The weekday morning show on NBC presented an eighteen minute segment in which pre-school children were taught kindergarten level art, history, music arithmetic, and the social skills, followed by a 10 minute session for parents to reinforce what the children had been taught. Although Horwich was a university professor and pioneer in children's education, her approach to child rearing was centered around respect for the children and the rights of their parents, patriotism, and a healthy awareness of God and Country.


Today, the big question, when it comes to the American Family, is "where did we go wrong?" The answer to that question is simple if you take a look at the Baby Boomer generation and the generations that followed. The most profound changes came in the form of the family structure and public education. The 1950s child was, with rare exceptions, raised in a two-parent home where the parents were one male and one female, and were usually in a legally binding marriage agreement. Many mothers were stay-at-home Moms who directly saw to the rearing of their children. Children were taught by their parents, most of whom still exhibited a healthy respect for God and for their country. Corporal punishment was permitted and encouraged both at home and in the schools. The "Board Of Education" had special meaning to those of us who were spanked at school, usually with a wooden paddle notorious for that task. Many baby boomers were the children of fathers who had served proudly in World War II. Most families went to church, and children were routinely given religious education either in Sunday School, Catechism classes, or in the home.

Education was a locally administered program. Our teachers and principals were people from the community who believed in the same values as our parents. Rogue teachers were not allowed to corrupt children, and any subversion at the elementary or high school levels was dealt with by community pressure to have those individuals removed from the profession. Many of our teachers at the time were trained in Normal Schools rather than universities. The instructors in these institutions were seasoned teachers who had successfully educated generations of children previously. There was little or no interference by the Federal Government or teachers' unions in the classroom, and teachers were held accountable for the progress of their students. Incompetence in the teaching profession was not tolerated or protected, and teachers were summarily dismissed if they were unable to prove their competency.

There was no need for weapons rules in the schools, because no one would even entertain the idea of bringing a firearm or dangerous weapon to school. It just would have never occurred to us. Sex Education was not a part of the curriculum, and basic teaching along those lines was reserved for high school level segregated instruction as part of "Health" training in physical education classes. Everyone knew the consequences of promiscuous behavior because they had been taught by their parents what was right and what was wrong. If an unwed pregnancy occurred, the student was removed from the general school environment and placed in an institution designed to deal with such problems. Those who engaged in promiscuous behavior were ridiculed rather than being elevated to heroes. Our role models were people like Roy Rogers, Ronald Reagan, Annette Funicello, and other stars of Hollywood who professed and displayed wholesome values rather than the deviant behavior that our children see from most TV and pop culture stars today.

In presenting this comparison, we are not necessarily advocating the imposition of 1950s moral standards, however, the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes, and comparing the ethics, morality and beliefs of today's youth to those of us who were products of the Mid-20th Century, reveals that something has been lost in our culture between then and now.



Here is an interesting little set of facts to consider, especially for those who want the government to control our health care, our banking, and every other area of our lives. In the mid 20th Century, a mailbox, just like the one above, existed on almost every major corner in every town in the United States. Try and find one today! It's now necessary to drive to the nearest post office, which might be miles away, just to mail a letter.

At the end of World War II, the cost to mail a first class letter was 3 cents, and what had previously been known as a "penny post card" now cost 2 cents to send through the postal system. Packages were delivered by something called "Parcel Post" where the mail carrier came to your door, blew a whistle, and handed you the package, usually in excellent condition. By 1970, the postal strike that year resulted in the unionization of the postal employees. The cost of postage continued to rise almost every year, and by 2011, the United States Postal Service was amassing a yearly loss. Today, the cost of mailing a first class letter has escalated to almost twenty times the cost in 1950, and it is not unusual for mail to get lost, shred ed, or even buried by a wayward postal worker. So think hard about whether you really want the government to control your medical care, food supply, your bank, your utility company, and every other area of your life.

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