Old Stockings and Victory Gardening : How Tactical Recycling Won World War Two

Back to a spot of history! Here I am talking about how the success of scrap metal and other public resource drives, including the drive to “recycle” public and diseases lands as food and crop gardens, assisted in bringing Victory to the Allied forces in the Second World War.

Something that I fail to mention in the video in regards to Victory gardening: the concept of Victory Gardening has had a more recent resurgence thanks to the mass lockdowns that have left many people concerned about the world in general, whether that is pandemic related, climate change related, or food security related. Victory gardens, even simple backyard versions thereof, have a powerful way of providing comfort to those experiencing loss and uncertainty, and I personally believe some of that stems from the visible, tangible, direct action that Victory Gardens represent. No matter what happens in the world, your tomatoes and pumpkins will still be growing there tomorrow.

I would argue that this is part of the reason I too have started my own little Victory Vegetable Patch (Which you can see in my Cottagecore Video HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u7A-HPOZGY

As always, some of the resources I read to engage with this topic:

Patsy Adam-Smith (2014) Australian Women at War.

C. Gowdy-Wygant (2013) Cultivating victory: The women’s Land Army and the victory garden movement.

L.J. Lawson (2014) Garden for victory! The American victory garden campaign of World War II.

Oregon State Archives. Salvaging Victory: Scrap Drives for the War Effort. https://sos.oregon.gov/archives/exhibits/ww2/Pages/services-salvage.aspx

Ann Arbor District Library: A Collection of historic photographs displaying the results of a metal scrap drive during World War Two: https://aadl.org/scrapdrives

Image Credits:

1. Barclay, McClelland. 1943. “Save your cans : help pass the ammunition: prepare your tin cans for war.” Courtesy of UNT Libraries Government Documents Department and the UNT Digital Library.
2. State Archives of North Carolina. “Scrap metal awaits pick up”.
3. National Archives and Records Administration (USA). “Half the metal in every ship, every tank, every gun is scrap!”. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
4. National Archives and Records Administration (USA). “Save Waste Paper”. Courtesy of sarahsundin.com
5. National Archives and Records Administration (USA). “Save rubber”. Courtesy of sarahsundin.com
6. “Young lady having Glaide liquid hosiery applied to her legs in a store, Brisbane, September 1941”. Courtesy of John Oxley Library Collections, State Library of Queensland.
7. Peter Fraser. “Dig on for Victory”.
8. “Dig for Victory: Working in Kensington Gardens”. Courtesy of Imperial War Museum, London.
9. “Victory Garden in a New York Elementary School, 1944”. Courtesy of Yale University.
10. “Dig for Plenty”. Wikimedia Commons.
11. “Plant A Victory Garden: Our Food Is Fighting”. Courtesy of UNT Libraries Government Documents Department and the UNT Digital Library.
12. “Your Own Vegetables all Year Round: Dig for Victory Now.” Courtesy of Imperial War Museum, London.
10.”Digging for Victory, 1941.” Courtesy of John Oxley Library Collections, State Library of Queensland.

Music is “sad day” bensound, “Musical Snapshots” by Columbia Orchestra, and “Just Gone” by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band.

3 Comments

  1. Margatatials on December 30, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    almost everything we use today that is disposable had a non disposable version somewhere in history, I love hearing about what those historical alternatives where

  2. burningb24 on December 30, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    " Bet India would kill you dead in Stockings never mind parachute cords "

  3. Sarah on December 30, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    Loved hearing about this! I knew about women using an eyeliner pencil to draw the lines but not about how they got the color on their legs. So interesting!

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