Boise's Minute Maids Art and Photograph Collection consists of three pieces of original art and twelve oversize scrapbook pages of the World War Two Era Minute Maid's.
After the United States entered World War II, citizens across the nation wanted to support the war effort. Some found their role easily by enlisting in the armed services. Others sought creative ways to contribute.
In early 1942, several Boise women formed a group to raise funds for the war effort by selling bonds and stamps. They named themselves the Idaho Minute Maids, after the Minute Men of the Revolutionary War, and soon became local and national icons.
Marion Falk is credited as the founder of the Minute Maids. Marion was known as a local philanthropist and socialite. Marion’s husband, Dr. Ralph Falk, was the son of long-time Boise merchant Nathan Falk.
What are war bonds?
Purchasing a bond during World War II was like lending money to the United States Government. Equivalent to an IOU, war bonds allowed the federal government to remove money from circulation and help deter inflation. Bonds also united a wide range of people with the war effort.
What are war stamps?
The government issued war bonds in denominations ranging from $25 to $1,000. Many Americans found them too expensive so they first purchased stamps for as little as 10 to 25 cents, and “saved-up” to exchange them for bonds.
The War Finance Committee and the War Advertising Council regulated the sale of war bonds. Together, these agencies coordinated a major advertising campaign to motivate as many Americans as possible to invest in the war effort.
Advertisements for stamps and bonds infiltrated American daily life— appearing in everything from children’s comics, to magazines, and popular films. They proved effective. It is estimated that by the end of World War II, war bond sales totaled 185 billion dollars.
The inspiration for the Minute Maids came from such advertisements. “The whole idea started when Mrs. Falk looked at a poster with its war-bond and stamp appeal. She wished that the attractive girls on the posters could step out and actually sell the bonds and stamps – then she thought, ‘Why not?’ Why not organize a group of girls who were pretty as pictures, but also could sell for the treasury department.” - Idaho Daily Statesman, November 11, 1945
After the group’s creation in April 1942, the ranks of Idaho Minute Maids increased rapidly. What began as one group of six women eventually expanded to more than 100. Organizers separated the ladies into ten distinct groups that each toted their own signature accessories and appeared at different events throughout the city.
The Minute Maids were just one of many women’s groups that sold war bonds and stamps in the United States during World War II. But the Idaho Minute Maids were “the first to make appearances on Sunday before and after church services and… the first to inaugurate sales of war stamps and bonds by mail.”
Part of the Minute Maids’ appeal was their “look” and respectable image. According to the Idaho Daily Statesman in 1945 “The Maids were chosen for beauty, but also for intelligence and dignity…”
The Minute Maids wore white collars (often compared to those worn by nuns), dark dresses, and heels. Their hats, known as “halos,” were blue with a white ‘V’ for victory.
The Minute Maids not only sold stamps and bonds, they also planned and attended events for the men stationed at Gowen Field.
The Minute Maids were housed in the basement of City Hall, at its former location on Eighth and Main streets. Their barracks were “brightly painted and ready for use; the maids leave their hats and collars in the barracks and can go there to change clothes any time of the day or night.” - Idaho Statesman, May 12, 1942
The Minute Maids were the subject of several art exhibitions and contests in the city.
Image credit: Boise's Minute Maids Art and Photographs, 2018-10-001, Boise City Archives.