Goodman Community Center | In the 1940s, East Side News promoted…

In the 1940s, East Side News promoted wartime community

It’s interesting to note how World War II made an impact on the homefront and the publication.

May 22, 2024 |

By Dave Link, Eastside News

Oscar Mayer war bonds ad
Oscar Mayer ad promoting war bonds from the Dec. 7, 1944, East Side News.

Looking back at the 1940s in Marshall Browne’s East Side News, it is interesting to note how World War II was making an impact on the homefront and the publication. While ESN did not cover the war’s events weekly, it did have funeral announcements and briefs about servicemen and women’s promotions, stationing or captures, and its content did demonstrate the effort east-siders were making during the war.

The April 23, 1943, edition told how East High’s shop classes were making ash trays, cribbage boards and bedside tables for soldiers stationed at Truax Field. It also noted how “Mr. Stewart’s sixth period model airplane class … is just beginning to work on models of the Bristol Beaufort bomber.”

The models were to be used to teach soldiers recognition and range estimation. Modern students sure aren’t doing that.

Ads in ESN told the philosophy of life on the homefront. Not only were they advertising home improvement and repair products (since wartime rationing led to shortages of many new items), but ads also reminded readers about the sacrifice that was needed to win.

War bond sale
From the front page of the April 29, 1943, East Side News.

The East Side Business Men’s Association organized a “Retailers for Victory” campaign to help sell war bonds and stamps. Browne, the publisher and editor of East Side News, was big on promoting war bonds in the weekly newspaper. From 1942 through the end of the war, small images on the newspaper’s nameplate reminded readers to regularly buy war bonds. Actions like these demonstrate how community was being built to support the war against fascism.

In 1945, Browne and other east side organizations started the formation of the East Side Youth Activities Council — the forerunner to Goodman Community Center.

“It is anticipated that the formation of the council will lead to … hiring of a full time social work supervisor … whose duties would be to promote and coordinate recreational and character building activities in this community,” Browne wrote in the July 19, 1945, edition.

Of course, this community-building program was really to reign in unsupervised youth whose fathers might be off at war and mothers joining the war effort by taking on factory jobs. Yet, this concept still exists on the east side — albeit refined and expanded — for working or single parents to have a safe community for their children. It’s just another connection between Browne’s new­spaper and today’s Eastside News.

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