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Cheese Midgets: 1942

May 1942. "Greenbelt, Maryland. Federal housing project. Shopping in the cooperative grocery store." Do we have enough cookies? Medium-format nitrate negative by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information. View full size.

May 1942. "Greenbelt, Maryland. Federal housing project. Shopping in the cooperative grocery store." Do we have enough cookies? Medium-format nitrate negative by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

No Shortages Yet

This is not the middle of the war for the United States. It's just the beginning.

In May of 1942, The U.S. Office of Price Administration froze prices on practically all everyday goods, starting with sugar and coffee and no rations yet.

I only see a posed picture of a mother and son shopping normaly with no overflowing cart.

Could it be propaganda from the Office of War Information? Yes I think it is, but it's just showing that it's not quite the end of the world, so don't start emptying the shelves of your local market just yet.

Wartime shortages?

Good gracious, all that stuff in the middle of the war?

Fully stocked shelves? Loaded shopping cart? How much of that merchandise was actually rationed?

Is that photo a set-up for war-time propaganda as it would have been on the other side of the pond? Or is it representative?

Kid's outfit

I used to have a "sun suit" like his in the late 50's, for playing outside in hot weather. Looks like neither one of us was making a fashion statement.

Weightlifter's Paradise

I feel sorry for that poor woman. Look at all those different boxes marked ONE POUND. She probably has no car and has to carry that heavy stuff home. Today's boxes are weight friendly. Easy to wheel out to one of your cars.


She has a can on top of her Wonder Bread!

Hey Mom

Which aisle has the Screaming Yellow Zonkers?

El Cheese Ritz

Remember Dr. Don and Ermita with their upside-down box of Cheese Ritz (

Cookies, not cereal

A closer inspection of mom's shopping cart show Timmy had tried to open the box of Kix cereal to slow his ravenous hunger pangs, but he settled for opening the box of cookies instead. Either would have worked, I'm sure.

When Soda Still Tasted Good

Wow, glass quart bottles of Hires Rootbeer. Made before anyone had tasted high fructose anything and most Americans would't have known a liter from a kilometer.

I was telling my wife the other night about using glass bottles of Prell and Balsam shampoo when I was a kid. She was sure I was wrong (that would be so dangerous!). Google proved me right as usual.

Pre-code pricing

One of my father's pricing grease pens, once actually used to price actual groceries in an actual grocery store.

The 1940s version of an "upskirt" shot

I imagine this was in a narrow aisle, and that's why the photographer is down on the floor, but what a bizarre effect. The woman looks about 10 feet tall.

Where are Cheese Midgets?

Are they crackers?

edited to add:
Found 'em, they must have been popular, I only see one box

You can still go shop there today

This store is still a working operation just as it was when the picture was taken, here is the website.

The whole town center a great place to shop and visit.

Different Products

So Barnum's Animals, which I've always known as animal crackers, were not the same as Animal Crackers. My Shorpy nolledge nugget o' the day.

I remember the Toy Cookies. Plus it looks like Mickey and Donald also had an entry in the little string handle sweepstakes.

No bar codes here

No price tags, either. It looks like the price for each box is conveniently written across its front with a grease pencil.

A bobby-soxer?

Or was that a term strictly for single women, assuming this beauty was married (probably) and 3 bottles of Hires root beer, good times tonight.

Back Soon

Wonder Bread should be back soon, just like in '42.

Tiny cart?

They have those same carts at our local grocery store but they also have a tall pole sticking up off the top. I don't know if the pole is there to hang your coat or if it beams out a signal to the Starship.

Love the Animal Cracker boxes on the shelf and I really wish they still made those Cheese Ritz I see there. Yum.

One of the first programmers

The white socks and sandals are a dead giveaway.

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