Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WWII Victory Pins! - Part 1

At last, here it is!! This is part one of a two part post on WWII Victory pins. I do not claim to be an expert on any of the topics I post about but I do hope you will find my research helpful and enjoyable. :) (See part 2 here.)

There are two categories of what I would call "Victory Pins." These are the various pin back buttons and sweetheart jewelry worn during the Second World War to show support for your country and loved ones serving in the military.

Poster source, red Victory pin source, Liberty Loan my own, Remember Pearl Harbor pin from Ebay
The first category includes the little metal pin back war bond and Liberty loan type buttons as well as buttons from different groups or organizations that supported the war effort in some way - savings bonds, civil defense bonds, victory clubs, etc. These differ a little bit in size. Some are about the size of a US quarter while others are closer to the size of a US dime. Many are marked on the back but not all. My blue and white "Liberty Loan" pin is marked "Made by American Art Works Coshocton, Ohio". The back side of my other pins are blank.

According to Wikipedia-
    A pin-back button or pinback button, pin button, button badge or simply pin-back, is a button or badge that can be temporarily fastened to the surface of a garment using a safety pin, or a pin formed from wire, a clutch or other mechanism. This fastening mechanism is anchored to the back side of a button-shaped metal disk, either flat or concave, which leaves an area on the front of the button to carry an image or printed message. The word is commonly associated with a campaign button used in the United States and abroad during a political campaign. The first design for a pin-back button in the United States was patented in 1896, and contemporary buttons have many of the same design features. - Source
File:US patent 564356 partial.png
"Badge Pin or Button" US Patent number 564356 (partial), issued July 21, 1896 to George B. Adams Assignor to the Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey - Image found here.
War bond drives and rallies were popular during the First World War, the federal government raised about $5 billion through the sale of Liberty Bonds. On April 24, 1917, the First Liberty Loan Act was passed which authorized the U.S. Treasury Department to issue bonds and provided loans to the Allied powers.

Here's an example of a WWI era war bond pin - Source Ebay
And the tradition continued during the Second World War with eight different bond drives. As far as I can tell, a different pin was designed for each of the eight war bonds. It was Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who believed that the average citizen could help win the war by buying war bonds. Americans could buy bonds on an installment plan through payroll deductions at their work places. There was even an installment plan established for children! They could buy a twenty-five cent stamp and paste them in a book until they had saved the $18.75 needed to purchase a twenty-five-dollar bond. How neat is that? Between November 1942 and December 1945 Americans invested approximately $150 billion in bonds to finance the war. Popular cartoon characters of the day such as Mickey Mouse and Popeye appeared on war bond posters. Hollywood movie stars like Bette Davis, Judy Garland and many more were among those who traveled the country selling war bonds at huge rallies. I imagine that many of these war bond pins were handed out at those rallies.

Actress Hedy Lamarr selling war bonds - Source

Judy Garland singing to raise money for the war effort, Philadelphia 1944 - Source
Here are some examples of home front pins for war bonds and some from different organizations that supported the war effort.

WWII ear home front victory pins - Source Ebay
Fourth Liberty Loan pin,  - Source Etsy
Here are a few of my own pins. I have not been able to find much information about my Green Mountain Victory Guard pin other then it's from Vermont. I do know that the Vermont branch of the 4-H Club was very active in the 1940s. They promoted make do and mend practices, victory gardens, and organized scrap metal drives.

Pins from my collection
Pins from my collection
One of my favorite posters from WWII, and one of the most famous, is Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter." Notice the collection of victory pins proudly displayed on her coveralls. I made the image below extra large so hopefully you can see them. The one item I'm missing from my collection (ok there are a lot of things I want) is a factory worker's ID badge. While not a victory pin per say, it would certain make a great addition! (For more information on real life Rosie the Riveters, check out the awesome website Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II.)

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.
"Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name." - Source
Just above and to the left of Rosie's ID badge is what looks like an Army/Navy E award pin. This was a highly prized award that went to shops for excellence in the production of war equipment. The award was also known as the Army-Navy Production Award. Each shop received a large flag or pennant and all the workers got a pin. Shops could receive the award more then once which is why you sometimes see the flags with white stars. Each star represents one award. Below is the flag that was presented to the Fellows Gear Shaper plant in Springfield, Vermont. Notice the two white stars. Hanging next to the grandfather clock you can get a really good idea of these size of the flags! The flag is owned by the Springfield Art and Historical Society in Springfield, Vermont.

Fellows Gear Shaper Army-Navy Production Award pennant - Source
E-pin. Donated by Rose Strobel, accession 280. Rose was a turret lathe operator at the Naval Ordinance Plant for 3 years. Size: ½”x1”. Source
My grandfather worked for Bell Aircraft during the war and was one of the many workers there who was awarded the Army/Navy E award. My father still has the pin. I foolishly passed up the opportunity to buy one for myself a year or two ago. Obviously I wasn't thinking straight! There was an antique store that Cori and I liked to visit when he was living in New Hampshire. One day we went in and there was a whole tray of E award pins, campaign pins, and military memorabilia. And of course now that I'm looking for one I can't find any. Go figure. I would be so afraid of loosing my grandfather's pin if I were to wear it (that is if my dad would even let me!) so that's why I want to find one of my own.

There are tons of different pins out there, these are just a few! 

WWII era painted tin lapel or pocket badges - Source


  1. ah, these pins are so neat! i love this time period, everything about it was so patriotic. i have been watching bomb girls on netflix, you might like it if you already don't watch it!

    lindsey louise


  2. I love the patriotism in these pins. So, nice that you are also able to own a few yourself.

  3. I love hearing the history behind these very awesome pins. I've really wanted to own one myself.

    There's no way you'd see that kind of love for country you saw back then. Look at us now after so many years post-9/11. :-( Everyone was patriotic in the 40s, even in Europe {as in England and mainland Europe}.

  4. Thanks ladies. This was a fun one to work on. Sorry it took so long to post! Can't wait to share part two!!

  5. My favorite era! I have been looking at Victory pins and sweethearts pins. Great post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...