Once the United States entered World War II, the government turned to the advertising industry for help encouraging civilians to support the American war effort. Soon, an army of cultural icons found their way onto flyers, posters and songs. Many of these Rosie the Riveter-inspired campaigns were aimed at women, a majority of whom would eventually take on jobs traditionally held by men now fighting on multiple fronts.
Even Disney characters did their part by donning uniforms and selling war bonds.
One of these campaign images came in the form of Vicky Victory, a smiling woman who assumed an air raid warden’s helmet and instructed women to help conserve steel for the war effort by saving their hairpins and reusing them each time they made a trip to the beauty salon.
Vicky’s illustrated likeness appeared on hairpin kits produced by the Smith Victory Corp. of Buffalo, N.Y. during World War II. This particular set, now in the hands of the State Museum of Pennsylvania, came from the Beauty Salon of Adaline Roberts in Plymouth, Pa.
Chosen by Collections Advancement Project curator Jennifer Gleim, these simple hairpins whose packaging is decorated with Vicky Victory’s smiling, patriotic image and encouraging message, illustrate how important the home front’s support was to winning the war.
About Pennsylvania Treasures:
In early 2012, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission launched the Collections Advancement Project (CAP), a program to inventory and catalog our vast and significant holdings of art and artifacts. These efforts are resulting in better stewardship of our collections which represent Pennsylvania arts, culture, history, sciences, business and agriculture. As a component of the project, CAP curators have researched rarely exhibited artifacts and works of art. We are sharing these Pennsylvania Treasures with the public through weekly updates.