Series E United States Savings Bonds were government bonds marketed by the United States Department of the Treasury as war bonds during World War II from 1941 to 1945. After the war, they continued to be offered as retail investments until 1980, when they were replaced by other savings bonds.
Photo mural promoting the purchase of Defense Bonds, in the concourse of Grand Central Terminal (December 1941)
The first savings bonds, Series A, were issued in 1935 to encourage saving during the Great Depression. They were marketed as a safe investment that was accessible to everyone. They were followed by series B, C, and D bonds over the next few years.
Marketed as a defense savings bond, the first Series E bond was sold to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 1, 1941, by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau. After the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, Series E bonds became known as war bonds.
On June 4, 1943, students of the south-central district of the Chicago Public Schools purchased $263,148.83 in war bonds—enough to finance 125 jeeps, two pursuit planes and a motorcycle.
The drive technique used during World War I was replaced in part by a continual campaign using a payroll deduction plan. However, eight different drives were conducted during the campaign. In total, the overall campaign raised $185.7 billion from 85 million Americans, more than in any other country during the war. Lil Abner creator Al Capp created Small Fry, a weekly newspaper comic strip whose purpose was to sell Series E bonds in support of the Treasury.
Of the $185.7 billion raised during the continual campaign, a total of $156.4 billion was raised during the eight specific drives:
C. C. Beall poster for the Seventh War Loan Drive (May 14 – June 30, 1945)
- First War Loan Drive – November 30 through December 23, 1942. The initial goal was $9 billion; the drive raised $13 billion. However, only $1.6 billion was raised from individuals; corporations and commercial banks accounted for the vast majority of the funds raised.
- Second War Loan Drive – 20 days, from April 12 through May 1, 1943. The initial goal was $13 billion; the drive raised $18.5 billion. Individual purchases doubled over the previous drive, due in large part to the $4.5 million and $170,000 of advertising contributed by newspapers and magazines.
- Third War Loan Drive – September 9 through October 1, 1943. The initial goal was $15 billion, which would require a doubling of the bond sales from the prior drive, with at least 40 million of the 130 million American citizens needing to purchase a $100 war bond. President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation via one of his fireside chats on September 8. Singer Kate Smith raised $39 million during a September 21 CBS broadcast, part of the $600 million she raised on a series of one day broadcasts throughout the war. Final sales were $19 billion.
- Fourth War Loan Drive – January 18 through February 15, 1944. The initial goal was $14 billion, and the drive was targeted towards farmers and women. A Quiz Kids radio broadcast from Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh raised $5 million. Kate Smith again proved a popular draw, raising $101 million during a February 1 broadcast. Final sales were $16.7 billion, with nearly 70 million separate bonds sold.
- Fifth War Loan Drive – June 12 through July 8, 1944. On FDRs recommendation, Morgenthau asked Orson Welles to lead the Fifth War Loan Drive, which opened with a one-hour radio show on all four networks, broadcast from Texarkana, Texas. Including a statement by the President, the program defined the causes of the war and encouraged Americans to buy $16 billion in bonds. Additional war loan drive broadcasts took place June 14 from the Hollywood Bowl, and June 16 from Soldier Field, Chicago.:371–373 Sales were $20.6 billion.
- Sixth War Loan Drive – November 2 through December 16, 1944. The drive raised $21.6 billion.
- Seventh War Loan Drive – May 14 (just days after Victory in Europe Day) through June 30, 1945. Officials were concerned that the defeat of Germany might lessen bond sales. The amount raised during the six-week drive was over $26 billion.
- Eighth War Loan (Victory Loan) Drive – October 29 through December 8, 1945. The goal was $11 billion. More than $21 billion was raised.
After World War II
Bonds issued from 1941 to November 1965 accrued interest for 40 years; those issued from December 1965 to June 1980, for 30 years. They were generally issued at 75 cents per dollar of face value, maturing at par value in a specified number of years that fluctuated with the rate of interest. Denominations available were $25, $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000. Series E bonds were not transferable, and were issued only as registered paper certificates. The guaranteed minimum investment yield for the bonds was 4 percent, compounded semiannually. Interest was exempt from state and local taxes, but was subject to federal taxes. Series E bonds were sold at 75% of face value and had a 2.9% interest rate compounded semiannually.
- ^ U.S. Treasury — Introduction to Savings Bonds Archived August 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ a b c d e Brief History of World War Two Advertising Campaigns War Loans and Bonds. Duke University Libraries. Archived from the original on October 29, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- ^ Presarvin’ Freedom: Al Capp, Treasury Man, Hogans Alley, 1998
- ^ a b Prial, Frank G. (June 18, 1986). Kate Smith, All-American Singer, Dies At 79. The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- ^ a b Radio: Kates Appeal - TIME
- ^ Quiz Kids at Mosque Net $5,000,000 in War Bonds. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 10, 1944. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- ^ Opening Fifth War Loan Drive, June 12, 1944. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- ^ Brady, Frank, Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1989 ISBN 0-385-26759-2
- ^ May 14 Marks Opening of 7th War Loan Drive. Vassar Chronicle. May 5, 1945. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- ^ The Patriot Savings Bond. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- ^ SavingsBonds.com — E Savings Bonds, Investor Information
- ^ Individual - Series EE/E Savings Bonds Tax Considerations. www.treasurydirect.gov. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- ^ Lemke, T. (September 25, 2020) War Bonds: What Are They?, The Balance,
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