Wednesday, November 14, 2012

1943 Victory Book Campaign Transit Pass

On eBay last week I found this excellent 1943 promotion for the Victory Book Campaign (read my post on the history of the VBC). This promotion appears on a St. Louis, MO transit pass from January, 1943.  As a graphic designer with an interest in 1940s book publishing, I just had to buy it. The package arrived today. I love the colors and typography.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The VBC and the NYPL

From the NYPL Digital Library.

This summer the New York Public Library website posted an article about their participation in the Victory Book Campaign of 1942 and 1943. Read "The Victory Book Campaign and The New York Public Library"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WWII Military Library Book Stamps

Title page from Webster's New Handy Dictionary, Armed Service Edition 717, printed 1945.
In early August I received an email from Brian Anderson, asking me about the above page scan. Anderson is a collector of the WWII era Armed Services Editions. These were cheap paperbacks distributed to the troops for recreational reading during the war. This particular ASE had an interesting unit insignia stamped on the inside. It turns out the book was part of the library of the 13th Major Port, a unit to which my grandfather's battalion was attached during service in Antwerp, Belgium.

The cover of the Armed Services Edition book that has the above 13th Major Port cat stamp.

I was happy to be able to confirm what unit the cat/13 insignia came from, and I was very interested to hear about Anderson's collection. He has multiple books with stamps which show they were held in the libraries of army bases, hospitals, and naval ships. I thought it would be cool to post them here. While the other stamps lack a stylish graphic, the variety of rubber stamp typography is interesting for a designer like me to see.

The stamps also provide a little bit of context into the book's life, that would otherwise be lacking. For instance, one of these stamps says "U.S.S. Ranger Library". It's fascinating to know that this copy of A. Wolcott: His Life and His World was read by sailors who were aboard the aircraft carrier that took part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.

Title page of  A. Wolcott: His Life and His World. ASE 931, printed 1945.

Title page of  Mr. On Loong by Robert Standish. ASE 1281, printed 1947.

Title page of Klondike Mike by Merrill Denison. ASE B-58, printed 1943.

Title page of The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle. ASE B-51, printed 1943.

Title page of Colonel Effingham's Raid by Berry Fleming, ASE D-095, printed 1943.

Title page of Deep River by Henrietta Buckmaster. ASE R-39, printed 1945.

Title Page of Round Up by Ring Lardner. ASE F-172, printed 1944.

Title page of Mr. Winkle Goes to War by Theodore Pratt. ASE A-07, printed 1943.

An Actual Victory Book Campaign Book

This month I bought a book which had actually been part of the Victory Book Campaign. It's a 1916 edition of The Beasts of Tarzan. This is clearly an example of someone cleaning out their home shelves, rather than buying a new book for the troops. The VBC asked for books published no earlier than 1930. Organizers specifically asked that people donate adventure stories, so the subject of this book was appropriate even if it was an older title.

On the inside cover is a rubber stamp crediting the American Library Association, the American Red Cross, and the United Service Organizations. The appearance of the plain text stamp is a little disappointing when one considers the Victory Book Campaign had an excellent logo.

Newspapers articles promoting the campaign suggested that people write their name or a personal note for the GI recipients. I'll keep my eyes open for one of these personalized books but they'll be hard to find. Vintage book dealers usually don't make mention of the inscriptions in their books. I did manage to find a few interesting book inscriptions through Google's news archive.

An eloquent book inscription was printed in an article about the VBC, appearing in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, February 25, 1943:
"From Miss Patricia Heffner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Heffner, 1706 McElhinny Ave., Lincoln Place, Pittsburg, Pa. Born September 1, 1939, at 5:44 a.m., Pittsburg time—at the same minute that the war started officially, through the Nazi invasion of Poland. May the time soon come when war will become impossible and the principals upon which the United States of America is founded may be free for all people to enjoy."

A February 21, 1943 article in The Milwaukee Sentinel recorded another interesting inscription:
"Members of the campaign committee have asked that donors write their names in the books the contribute. One which came in Saturday not only contained the name of a veteran of World War I and his division and company, but also the following notation: 'I was a sergeant top kick. I hope I hear from one of you boys. Good luck to all of you."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Victory Book Campaign Logo
and Clarence P. Hornung

Poster featuring the VBC's eagle trademark designed by Clarence P. Hornung.
Image from The University of Illinois library.

In 1942 and 1943 the Victory Book Campaign collected millions of donated books to give to American troops entering the war. To research the VBC, one of the first things I did was find a copy of the organization's annual report. The following quote appeared in a paragraph about coverage in the media:

"The flying eagle with his bundle of books was widely used, some papers carrying it and its V.B.C. message daily throughout the campaign. This was a most successful symbol and a superior design made for the committee by Clarence Hornung, America's leading artist in the field."

As a graphic designer I was immediately interested in this Hornung guy. Why had I never heard of "America's leading artist in the field"? A search on Google didn't turn up much. I found a couple blogs with short posts about Hornung. From these I learned that he designed logos for many of the top book publishers and book printers of the day.

Clarence Hornung sketching logos for Richfield Oil Company in his 47th Street Manhattan studio.
Photo from my collection.
The faded spine of my copy of Hornung's 1930 book Trade-marks. Unfortunately, my copy is missing its dust jacket.
In 1930 Hornung authored a book featuring some of his best logos up to that time. Last month I bought a copy of Trade-marks, and was impressed to see a book with such a high production value. A single logo was printed on each page, surrounded by an debossed border. To accommodated the debossing, the signatures were not trimmed (the pages are double with a fold at the top edge). What an extravagant use of paper! I doubt a book like this could have been published ten years later when wartime paper rationing was in effect.

Spread from Trade-marks featuring logos for publisher Farrar & Rinehart.
The book presents an impressive collection of logos, many of which belong to book publishers. The word "logo" was never used in this 1930 edition. They are all labeled as "trademarks". places the origin of the word "logo" as 1937. Fellow book designers will be interested to learn that Hornung's book was one of the 1932 winners of the AIGA's 50 Books of the Year, a design competition which evolved into 50 Books, 50 Covers (2011 was the last year the AIGA sponsored this 90-year-old competition).

Detail of page showing Hornung's logo for Maple Press Company. If you are in publishing you'll recognize this printer my it's current name of Maple Vail. Also note the debossed border.
Trade-marks unfortunately has no information about the man himself. A blog post metioned that there was a description of Hornung in the 2004 book Logo, Font & Lettering Bible by Leslie Cabarga. I quickly bought a copy, but I was disappointed to see there is only a few pages about Hornung, and the only text is limited to short captions. I contacted the author to see if he had any more information to share. It turns out that Leslie had known Clarence Hornung personally. He had a collection of Hornung's work, along with a short type-written autobiography. He was willing to sell me the collection, so I eagerly purchased the portion of the design work relating to WWII.

I'm pleased to say I know now all about this remarkable designer and the part he played in supporting the war effort. Clarence was a great admirer of the eagle in American art. In fact, in 1943 he loaned his extensive collection of historic eagle coins, medals, and sculptures to an exhibit at the Cayuga Museum of History & Art. When he received the VBC assignment he must have been thrilled to have the opportunity to work with his favorite motif. The eagle is, of course, an appropriate symbol for an organization charged with assisting America's military men. I especially like that the wings form a "V" for victory.

Cover of Harnung's
wartime self-promo 
The Victory Book Campaign wasn't the only patriotic project Clarence Hornung designed. He created logos for a variety of US government programs shortly before and during the war. He displayed these in his self-promotional booklet, How to Make Government Propaganda More Effective. This is one of the pieces now in my collection. It seems Hornung produced the booklet to encourage government organizations to hire him to design symbols for their wartime programs. His text in the booklet describes the importance of a strong visual mark to influence the audience:

"These trade-mark emblems are the simplest and most forceful means by which an association of ideas can be presented to the public. ...The recurring symbol, so thoroughly American in its characteristics, becomes a bull's eye of thought and action, hitting squarely, fiercely. Let us have more direct knock-out blows whether these be on the battle front or the home front. Let our propaganda efforts be representative of the best available advertising genius."

Spread from wartime self-promo booklet featuring Hornung's logos designed for government organizations.

I should mention here that in the 1940s "propaganda" wasn't the dirty word that it is now. It was merely the propagation of ideas. These days the same efforts go by the friendlier terms of "public relations" or "marketing".

More About the Man:

Clarence P. Hornung (1899–1997) had an impressive design career, yet he is all but unknown today. The son of German immigrants, he was born and raised in Manhattan. During the first world war he was a lieutenant in the US Army, training military students in Stateside. After the war he returned to College of the City of New York to study advertising and commercial art. He worked in-house at an unnamed advertising firm for less than a year when he left to start his own business. In his short autobiography he wrote about becoming a freelancer. As a solo designer myself, I can appreciate his sentiments:

"...I felt encouraged to venture on my own, confident that my ability and youthful enthusiasm would see me through any rough period. one had warned of the uphill struggle which could be either 'feast' or 'famine' when commissions could not be counted on with any degree of regularity."

Hornung's biography includes the text from his first business announcement, which he issued in 1923. I quite like the way this self-promotion is worded:

"Having returned from his wedding trip the artist (Clarence Pearson Hornung) is pleased to announce that he is prepared to accept whatever commissions his patrons or patrons-to-be may entrust to his care for the designing of magazine and newspaper advertising, fine books, brochures and catalogs."

Over the decades Hornung produced a wide variety of works. He engraved decorative borders. He designed typefaces, including a monospace face for IBM's first electric typewriter. He was a design consultant for Coca-Cola. He designed automobile ads and sales catalogs for for Rolls-Royce, Packard, and Locomobile. Of great interest to me, Hornung also wrote about his work in book design:

"The field of book publishing offered many opportunities for me: the design of the complete book, publishers' colophons and especially bookbinding design. One commission, I recall, gave me particular joy as it presented the opportunity to decorate covers of the Encyclopedia Britannica's 14th edition issued in 1929."

If Clarence Hornung had a specialty it was logo design:

"Since 1915 when I received my first commission as a youngster it has been estimated that I have drawn about five hundred trade-marks in great variety including commercial marks and logotypes, personal signets, monograms, printer's devices, publisher's colophons, association emblems, university seals and private press marks."

Hornung authored multiple books, which were collections of historic graphics. He drew great "personal satisfaction" from these pet projects. Today's graphic designers might be familiar with Handbook of Designs and Devices, which was first published in 1946 and is still available from Dover Publications.

In studying the Victory Book Campaign logo my initial goal was to offer some insight into marketing the WWII program to the public. Having been impressed by Hornung's career, I hope that my post will also help illuminate the accomplishments this forgotten personality of graphic design.


"Clarence Hornung, The Master of Marks" on Letterology blog.

"Printer, Publisher, Typographer, etc. Trademarks Designed by Clarence P. Hornung" on Lux Mentis Booksellers blog.

Cabarga, Leslie. Logo, Font & Lettering Bible. HOW Design Books. Cincinnati, 2004.

"Eagles Added to At Museum..." The Citizen Advertiser. Auburn, NY, August 11, 1943.

Hornung, Clarence P. Boyhood Days in New York, 1992.

Monday, July 16, 2012

1943 Detroit Book Drive Photo

(click for larger view)
I just bought the above 8 x 10 photo on eBay. It was a publicity photo which appeared in a Detroit newspaper in February 1943. The original caption read, "St. Charles Church Book Drive: Boy Scouts John Uren, Fred Fournier, and James McGill. Mrs. James M. Payne and Mrs. Arlon B. Clarke." Based on their uniforms I can tell the women are members of the American Women's Voluntary Services. You can see the pin at left on the women's caps. This organization and the Boy Scouts both participated in the Victory Book Campaign in 1943.

From a graphic designer's point of view I was also interested to see how this photo was touched-up to print in the newspaper. First of all, there are grease pencil marks on the sides to indicate where they wanted the image cropped. Areas that were too dark (like the jackets) were highlighted with a little brushed on white paint. The edges of some of the faces were outlined in pen to differentiate from backgrounds that are the same tonal range. And it's interesting to see the rather sexist way of naming the two women. We don't learn their first names, only the names of their husbands: "Mrs. James.." and "Mrs. Arlon..".

Monday, July 9, 2012

Publishers Join the Victory Book Campaign

In WWII publishers donated their books to the troops, and they used dust jackets to encourage readers to donate their own.

In 1942 and 1943 the national Victory Book Campaign raised books to donate to men in the armed forces (see previous post). Campaign organizers invited individuals from the book publishing industry to join their efforts. The Publishers Committee was formed within the VBC to solicit and organize publisher donations. It also encouraged book publishers to create public awareness for the Victory Book Campaign. Accordingly, the nation's book publishers promoted the VBC in magazine ads, and they printed notices on dust jackets encouraging readers to donate the book after reading. I found a few examples online:

Steinbeck's The Moon is Down, Viking, 1942. It promotes the book drive on the back cover.
From the University of Virginia Library.
Back flap and back cover of Where the Storm Broke, Roy Publishers, 1942. The bottom of the flap has a little ad suggesting the reader mail the finished book directly to someone in the military. From the NYPL.
Back flap and back cover of Murder Calling "50", Crime Club, 1942. This back flap encourages the reader to both buy war bonds and donate their book after reading. From the NYPL.

The Victory Book Campaign's nine-person Publishers Committee was composed of:

Frederic G. Melcher, Chairman of the committee, editor of Publisher's Weekly,
and President of R.R. Bowker [the magazine's publisher]
Lee Barker, salesman/editor at Houghton Mifflin & Company
Louis Green, at Publishers Weekly
Robert M. Coles, President of the American Booksellers Association
John M. Connor, Assistant Director of the Victory Book Campaign
Philip Hodge, Farrar & Rinehart
Aaron Sussman, Speir & Sussman [a publishing advertising firm]
Thomas Burns, Doubleday Doran
Albert Leventhal, Vice President at Simon & Schuster
In 1942 100,000 copies of mystery paperbacks were donated by The American Mercury, a magazine published by A.A. Knopf. The Collier Company donated 30,000 copies of their references books. The MacMillan Company, Minton Balch, Scribner's, and Yale University Press donated their books. Neither the exact numbers from each of these individual publishers, nor the total number donated by publishers were recorded in the VBC Final Report.

In 1943 a total of 200,000 books were donated by American publishers. The American Mercury added 10,000 books to their previous year's donation. Pocket Books, Inc. donated over 60,000 of their books. Pocket Books was a mass market paperback publisher founded by Dick Simon, Max Schuster, and Robert Fair de Graff in 1939. The Book of the Month club supplied 57,500 books.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Victory Book Campaign, 1942–1943

Among the various wartime book programs the Victory Book Campaign is possibly the most fun to research. It involved all the exuberant American home front activities that you would associate with that patriotic time. There were crowds of smiling volunteers, cool poster designs, promotional radio programs, celebrity endorsements, and lively participation by a public eager to support the war effort. This post offers a general overview of the history, while future posts will focus on specific aspects of the campaign.

1943 VBC poster. Image from The University of Illinois Library.

"One of the principal morale activities of the American Army in the Second World War was the distribution of books and the provision of library services to soldiers." —John Jamieson, War Department Library Section, 1944–1945

The American military underwent a massive personnel expansion for the war. In 1939 there were only 174,000 men serving in the Army. By the end of 1942 there were 5,400,000, in 1943 there were 7,000,000, and by the end of the war there were 8,300,000. Naval strength increased by 1,400,000 sailors. It was a tremendous challenge to equip and organize this rapidly growing force. Although the government understood the morale-boosting potential of good reading material, supplying more books to military camp libraries simply could not be an immediate priority. Congress allocated money for buying new books, but process was slow, and the book distribution was limited to bases with new construction. There was a serious government-directed publishing program for the troops, but this would not be until the fall of 1943. In the early years of the war it was American citizens who provided the much-wanted books to servicemen and women.


As thousands of new recruits flooded into training camps across the country, community librarians recognized an opportunity to lend their support. Individual libraries sponsored book drives to donate to their local military bases. In June of 1941 (six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor) members of the American Library Association met to discuss a plan for a coordinated nationwide drive to supply the troops with free books. The ALA presented their idea to the United Service Organizations and The Red Cross. The reception by both groups was enthusiastic. That year the USO was setting up more than four hundred recreational clubs on the outskirts of military camps. They wanted books for their reading rooms. The Red Cross wanted books to send to military hospitals, remote camps with no libraries, their overseas clubs, and American prisoners of war. The two organizations decided to split the project's funding, while the ALA provided technical know-how. The next step was to approach the government for approval.

The military was at first reluctant to accept donated books. They feared that they would be flooded by unsuitable subjects in poor condition. Yet, as John Jamieson explains in Books for the Army, "By the summer of 1941 two facts were very clear: the Army did need books, and whether invited to do so or not, the American people—from school boys to club women—urgently desired to give them. To make a donation of some kind gave civilians a sense of participation in the war effort, and books, to speak frankly, were for most people the easiest things to give." Late in 1941 the Army and Navy gave their approval, and the National Defense Book Campaign was formed.

The new organization was headquartered in the Empire State Building in New York City. The first board meeting took place on November 8, 1941. Althea Warren, a librarian from the Los Angeles Public Library, was chosen to be the national director. A week after the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) the organization changed its name to the more peppy-sounding Victory Book Campaign. Warren contacted librarians across the country to set up a campaign director for each state. Specialized committees were formed to handle different aspects of the publicity, book collection, and distribution. External organizations were asked to participate, including book publishers, universities, the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, the Works Projects Association (WPA), and others.

Books collected by Boy Scout Troop 4, Amarillo, TX. Photo from the Amarillo Public Library.



The day planned to begin book collections was January 12, 1942. Books were to be received year round, but the bulk of publicity efforts were made from January to March. To inform the public a variety of PR techniques were used. Posters were designed, radio spots scripted, and press releases sent out. Newspapers and magazines wrote articles, and radio stations interviewed VBC members. Letters were written, and telephone calls were made to state and local government officials.

Collection and Distribution

The public was asked to give up-to-date textbooks for military libraries. For the troops' recreational reading the VBC wanted adventure novels, humor books, sports books, mysteries, Westerns, etc. Most people delivered the books to their local library. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts went door to door asking for donations. In some areas a family could leave a book on their doorstep for the milkman to collect along with his empty milk bottles. Private businesses installed collection boxes for employee donations. Main Street shops designed window displays calling for donations. Children brought books to school. Red Cross trucks could be called to pick up book donations. By March 6,500,000 books had been received nationwide. Warren left her position as director that month, and was replaced by John M. Connor.

Librarians volunteered their spare time to sort the donations. Books in poor condition and excess duplicates were sold for scrap paper. Rare books were sold to raise money for the the VBC. Although not requested, many children's books and women's subjects were donated. These were distributed to families in industrial communities manufacturing for the war effort. Books appropriate for the military were sent to warehouses, then distributed to nearby Army, Navy, and Merchant Marine bases. Most of the book were received in the Northern and North Easter states, while most of the new camps had been built in the South and Southwest. Railways offered the VBC reduced transportation rates to evenly distribute the books. By the end of 1942 the Victory Book Campaign brought in 10,827,097 books. Unfortunately, a very high percentage of these were unsuitable. VBC staffers discarded 5,052,858 books.


The military had a need for more books, so a second year of collections was planned. Due to the high number of unsuitable books received in 1942, the VBC board decided to emphasize the need for quality over quantity. A release from the 1943 campaign defines the goal for the year:

A valuable and conveniently packaged projectile of morale is a good book. This book may deal with the war; it may deal with the peace; it may range from current affairs to history and biography; it may entertain, inspire, illuminate; it may provide technical information to help a fellow get ahead in the Army or Navy today and in civilian life tomorrow. But most importantly, it is a book that is not dog-eared or tattered; it is not scrap. The first function of a book is that it be read. Only books in first class physical condition can be used. As a weapon in the war of ideas, a book has a place to fill in this war; whether as a source of morale or part of our fighting equipment. Our purpose, therefore, is to provide books—good books, and by that we embrace both physical condition and readability—for the increasing millions of our fighting men—soldiers, sailors, marines coast guardsmen, merchant seamen. We also propose to provide books for U.S.O. centers outside the camps, and for the American Merchant Marine Library Association; and finally, in the event of an over-supply, for the men, women and children in defense areas where increased population has taxed the facilities of local libraries. To sum up, a good test for any book is this: "Any book you really wait to keep is a good one to give." Remember that "good books are ammunition; good ideas are bullets."

In May, 1943 the national director John Connor was drafted into the Army. He was replaced by Hellen E. Wessells, a New York Public Library librarian who would later join the Office of War Information (1943–1947). OWI was the government agency in charge of wartime propaganda. The office saw books as important to the morale of American soldiers and civilians, so it gave the Victory Book Campaign status as an official government project. OWI designed and produced 100,000 posters, and it assisted in promoting the campaign on the radio and in movie theaters.
Many more national organizations were added to the 1943 list of those assisting in publicity and collection efforts. Churches, 4-H clubs, Lions clubs, Rotary clubs, and others wanted to do their part for the campaign. The 1943 book drives brought in 7,622,877 books. Again, a large proportion of books needed to be discarded: 3,106,403.

The Victory Book Campaign provided a valuable service to American armed forces, and gave the public an easy opportunity to support the war effort. Two year's of book drive provided a total of 10,290,713 good quality books to a grateful military. One Army officer expressed his gratitude in a 1943 letter to the VBC:

"I wish you could be present here to see the eager response shown by the men on reception of this gift of fine books. I believe that you have helped considerably in allaying the natural discontent of the soldiers in this barren army post which is sadly lacking in recreation facilities. I feel that the Victory Book Campaign has done an exceptionally good Job in the selection and distribution this year."

There were several drawbacks that prevented the VBC drives from continuing in 1944. Chief among them was the inefficiency of the process. Due to their condition and subject matter only 56% of donated books were suitable for distribution. By the end of 1943 the intended readers for these books were being sent to posts overseas. The vast majority of donated books were hardcovers. Their weight and size made shipping prohibitive. VBC books delivered outside the country competed against more crucial military supplies for the cargo space. In 1943 the military had made an agreement with American publishers to produce a series of books exclusively for the troops: the Armed Service Editions. These lightweight paperback editions of the newest and most popular titles made the Victory Book Campaign obsolete.

—Andrew Brozyna

Final Reports, Victory Book Campaign 1942–1943. American Library Association, American Red Cross, United Service Organizations. New York, 1944.

Hench, John B. Books as Weapons: Propaganda, Publishing, and the BAttle for Global Markets in the Era of World War II. Cornell University Press. Ithica, 2010.

Books Join the Battle: The Victory Book Campaign

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NY Public Library Dust Jacket Gallery

Today fellow book designer Misha Beletsky tipped me off to the fact that the New York Public Library hosts a digital gallery of historic dust jackets. This is a great resource to see the kinds of book covers readers found on the shelves in the 1940s.

The gallery offers covers from the 1920s to the end of the 1940s. The Oxbow Incident (1940) pictured above was one popular western reissued for the troops in the Armed Services Editions.

Monday, May 28, 2012


This August Osprey Publishing will be releasing my book Longshore Soldiers. I've kept up with the veterans who I interviewed. Not too long ago Solomon Fein told me how he would read books during his off-time on Utah Beach. This had me wondering how he and fellow GIs in a war zone got their hands on these books. It turns out there were a variety of civil and government organizations during the war that worked to put free books into the hands of American servicemen. Only weeks after D-Day liberated French civilians were buying carefully picked American novels and nonfiction. Before the end of the war thousands of German prisoners were also buying American books. Some of these book distribution projects were public, while others were top secret. The British had similar programs, sometimes working with the Americans, sometimes in competition.

As someone who works in the publishing industry and enjoys WWII history, I found this absolutely fascinating. I'm starting this blog to chronicle what I learn. Very little has been written on book publishing's role in the war. There are few scholarly books on the subject, and most of them were only recently published. This blog will review these books, describe the various wartime publishing programs, and share resources. I hope my own observations can contribute to this overlooked subject of military and publishing history.

Soldiers of Ft. Myer, Virginia, and members of the American Red Cross Volunteer Service examine books contributed by members of Congress for the 1943 Victory Book Campaign

Future Topics:


British Council - an organization formed to supply British troops with books and to promote British books abroad.

Council on Books In Wartime - a nonprofit group organized by the major book publishers of wartime America. Its goal was to use books to increase morale and explain issues raised by the war.

Office of War Information - a government organization created in 1942 to increase morale through publicity and propaganda.

Victory Book Campaign - a nation-wide effort to collect books to be donated to men in the armed forces. It was sponsored by the American Library Association, the Red Cross, and the United Service Organizations (USO).


Armed Services Editions - a series of popular books published as pocket-sized paperbacks specifically to entertain the men in the armed forces.

Fighting Forces - a series of books published by the Infantry Journal made available to the troops.

Overseas Editions - paperbacks distributed in the newly-liberated countries of Europe and Asia. These were popular examples of American nonfiction and fiction, which were chosen for their incidental pro-American propaganda value.

Transatlantic Editions - an American project related to the Overseas Editions, but published in London, rather than the US.

War Department Pocket Guides - paperback guidebooks commissioned by the government to introduce soldiers and sailors to the foreign countries and people they would encounter.