Wartime Entertainment for the Troops and Their Families

Posted on November 3, 2020

by Tess L

The Toledo Lucas County Public Library is a member of the Federal Depository Library Program. The Library’s government documents collection consists of some materials that date back to the mid-1800’s. Among all the reports and indexes are many gems to be admired.

On Veteran’s Day, we honor all those who served in the United States military. Included among our documents are pamphlets, manuals and booklets that were published to aid and support military personnel and their families. Especially during World War II, it was important to maintain morale, so many items, both government- and privately-produced, were issued to entertain and educate military families.

Many members in the services were musically or theatrically talented. Thus, titles such as

The Army Song Book
Sit Down and Play
Selected List of Band Music
were produced to provide singers and musicians the means to practice and perform. Musical theater and comedy shows were encouraged;

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Soldier Shows

A pamphlet that gives examples of sketches, revues and parodies so that troops could entertain each other.

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Sports and Games

A manual that lays out basic rules and fundamentals of various sports, including archery, horseshoes and table tennis. It was, and still is, important for service members to maintain a healthy body, and playing physical games helped.

Also important to military personnel were hand/eye coordination and manual dexterity.

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Soldier Handicrafts

A manual that outlines the basics of various crafts, including wood carving, oil painting and photography. These types of activities also engaged the mind, keeping the serviceperson mentally sharp.

Children of servicepersons were not forgotten.

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Army Reader

An interactive chapter book, allowing the child to practice reading and writing.

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Army Arithmetic

A workbook that children used to practice math. Basics are covered including counting money and date keeping.

And, of course, there were libraries on military bases and in hospitals. Small Army Libraries details how to create a library; instructions include aspects ranging from book selection and borrowing to record-keeping. Hospital Library Service outlines purpose, training of personnel, funds and publicity.

In addition to our in-library-only government documents collection, the Library provides access to a number of digital resources, including those with local history connections. Of particular interest among these is the

highlighted Veterans category.

The above entries and resources are just of few of the many titles that are available for you to explore in our collection. If interested, please visit the Fact and Fiction desk during your next visit to Main Library and ask us to show you our small display, available through the end of 2020. To arrange a viewing before you arrive, please call Fact and Fiction at 419-259-5311.

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