Selections from old LIFE magazines, issues that I found notable when I reread them during 2013-2014. Newer issues at the top.
From LIFE magazine, 1943 Sep 27:
-- Inside front cover: an ad for Ethyl antiknock additive for
gasoline, with the theme, what do personal names mean? Stephen
meant "a crown," with a drawing of little Stephen wearing a dunce
cap. Clara meant "brilliant," with a drawing of little Clara
waving her hand at the teacher because she knows that 2+3=5, 4+6=10,
and 5+3=8. Meanwhile, one seat back, little Schuyler, meaning
"scholar," is aiming to shoot a paper clip at Clara via stretched
rubber band. And Simon, meaning "attentive," is asleep at his
desk. Four little white kids, 2 blonds, 1 redhead, and a brunette
with one pigtail.
-- Page 1, a Bell system ad about a "new art called Electronics," with
over 1,250,000 electronic tubes in service in the entire telephone
system for the whole country. Nowadays, the CPU in your home
computer may have 3-4,000 times as many transistors.
-- P. 2, Stratford pens showed a soldier writing a letter home from the front -- using a pen with a nib, to dip in an inkwell.
-- 5, the Book Of the Month Club offers a combo of The Song Of Bernadette plus Victory Through Air Power, for $3.
-- 7, Dodge advertised its Sperry gyro-compass, about the size of an
auto engine, with over 10,000 parts. Think how much work your GPS
-- Lots of ads for pairs of womens' stockings, going up about 16" above the knee.
-- Page 37, the picture of the week: a sign over a road in
Guadalcanal, motivating troops to fight: "Kill the
bastards! Down this road marched one of the regiments of the
United States Army ... Twenty of their wounded in litters were
bayonetted shot and clubbed by the yellow bellies ... Kill the
-- P. 43, Ann and Nancy, two very well-fed middle-aged friends, meet at
a department store. Nancy is clerking, to free up war
workers. Ann "How about Charley -- did he mind? You know
how stuffy some men are." Nancy answers: "He was
delighted! He said: 'Sugar, good luck to you!' As a
matter of fact, most girls our age are working."
-- 48, a story about "Soldiers Still Sing," mentioning songs that Tin
Pan Alley didn't write, like "The Fly Flew in the Grocery Store," "The
Old Flannel Drawers That Maggie Wore," "Dirty Gertie from Bizerte" and
copies like "Filthy Annie from Trapani," and of course "Bless 'Em All,"
all considerably bowdlerized so that Ann and Nancy (see the above item)
wouldn't be shocked by our naughty, naughty soldier boys.
-- 56, an ad from the American Meat Institute about "the six key people
who are working together to help our country in its wartime meat
crisis" -- the (white male) livestock producer, the (white male)
farmer, the (white male) meat packer, the (white male) sausage maker,
the (white male) meat-man, and the (white female) housewife.
-- 57, an article about the Navy's new Grumman Hellcat fighter.
This was a very successful, long-lived plane. Check out
Wikipedia: 12,275 made, they shot down 5223 enemy planes, stayed
in service with the Navy until 1954, still flying today, over 80 years
later, for air shows!
-- 59, an ad for Revere Copper quotes one William Hayes as saying "If
you work and use your head, any man can get along. I've been at
Revere for 19 years. During that time I've been able to buy a
house and two acres of land. I don't owe anybody a nickel."
That kind of self-reliance seems to have permeated Revere; according to
Wikipedia, the company is today employee-owned. Though you can't
tell it from the black&white photos in this ad, a text box says
"Many of the workers at the Revere plans are Negroes. William
Hayes is representative of their high standard of endeavor, their
wholehearted interest in winning the war...." Yes; we can talk
about him because he is a credit to his race.
-- 60 begins a feature about MGM movies. Lotsa pix of stars &
behind-the-scenes. A pic of Lena Horne -- in which they darkened
her up! In her natural color, you'd never know she was a credit
to her race.
-- 83, an article on the special training required for WACs' feet,
because vanity has made many women ruin their feet in high heels.
-- 113, an article about the Army's new bazooka "rocket gun."
-- 115, an ad for a postwar house, 2 bed / 2 bath, featuring Timken Silent Automatic heating and air conditioning. $3500.
-- 119, an article, "Life Visits the Harvesters of America," says
"Whole families worked together in the fields. Labor imported
from Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas worked beside women, children and
volunteers from the city.... all were touched by the deep sense
of fulfilment, the elemental happiness that always seems to rise from
the land at this time of fruitful climax. They breathed the ripe
smell of growing things, sang as they worked, laughed at their own
weariness ...." How can such pleasant jobs have trouble
attracting workers today?