Home Front Mobilization

Give More. Use Less. Dutchess County raised $18 million (about $292 million in today's dollars) across five loan drives 1917 to 1919.

This includes contributions, published in the newspaper, from the Astors and Vanderbilts to the most rural farmer and schoolchild. Dutchess County’s large agricultural economy was under great stress as farms needed to produce more at the same time farm labor was being drawn into the military or manufacturing to support the military.

Residents were asked to eat potatoes instead of wheat, saving the latter for the troops (see cartoon). Canning clubs helped ensure that food had the longest shelf life possible. Coal shortages meant limiting how long stores could be open, and how warm your house could be in the winter.

Obviously with a sense of relief and release, the Welcome Home Victory Parade in 1919 featured an extraordinary display of electric lights captured by Van Vlack. The Defense Council was the central, operational hub in Hyde Park.

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