World War II erupted in September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland and ended with Japan’s surrender in September 1945. The US, still recovering from the Great Depression, initially remained in isolation as the war blazed in Western and Eastern Europe and North Africa. The Japanese bombing of the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 catapulted the US into war against all the Axis powers in Asia, Europe and Africa. Millions of Americans eventually served in the armed forces during the war.

Citizens at the home front supported the war effort in many ways, including a wide range of volunteer efforts (ex: rail station canteen, scrap drives, civilian defense, victory gardens, war bond campaigns) and submitting to government-managed rationing and price controls.

Items in this collection were donated by community members over several decades.