Series E bond

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$50 Series E bond (1941–1945)

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.


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.

The first Series E bond was sold to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau on May 1, 1941.[1] These were marketed first as "defense bonds".

In December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war on Japan. Germany declared war on the U.S. shortly thereafter, bringing the country into World War II. This required a great deal of financing; about $281 billion was spent for the war effort between 1941 and 1945. 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.[2] Li'l 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.[3]

Of the $185.7 billion raised during the continual campaign, a total of $156.4 billion was raised during the eight specific drives, despite an average duration of only one month each, as follows:

George Schreiber poster for the Third War Loan Drive (September 9 – October 1, 1943)
Kate Smith in September 1944: "No single show-business figure even approached her as a seller of War Bonds during World War II", wrote The New York Times. Her grand total exceeded $600 million.[4]
C. C. Beall poster for the Seventh War Loan Drive (May 14 – June 30, 1945)
  • First War Loan Drive – 24 days, from 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 – 23 days, from 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.[4][5] Final sales were $19 billion.
  • Fourth War Loan Drive – 32 days, from 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.[6] Kate Smith again proved a popular draw, raising $101 million during a February 1 broadcast.[5] Final sales were $16.7 billion, with nearly 70 million separate bonds sold.
  • Fifth War Loan Drive – 27 days, from June 12 through July 8, 1944. On May 15, 1944, Orson Welles was placed on the U.S. Treasury payroll as an expert consultant for the duration of the war (with a retainer of $1 a year).[7] On FDR's recommendation, Morgenthau asked Welles to lead the Fifth War Loan Drive, which opened June 12 with a one-hour radio show on all four networks, broadcast from Texarkana, Texas. Including a statement by the President,[8] 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.[9]:371–373 Americans purchased $20.6 billion in War Bonds during the Fifth War Loan Drive.[2]
  • Sixth War Loan Drive – 45 days, from November 2 through December 16, 1944. The drive raised $21.6 billion.[2]
  • Seventh War Loan Drive – 48 days, from May 14 (just days after Victory in Europe Day) through June 30, 1945.[10] Officials were concerned that the defeat of Germany might lessen bond sales. The amount raised during the six-week drive was over $26 billion.[2][11]
  • Eighth War Loan (Victory) Drive – 41 days, from October 29 through December 8, 1945. The goal was $11 billion. More than $21 billion was raised — 192% of the goal.[2]

After World War II[edit]

After the war, Series E Bonds continued to be sold until June 1980 as part of the United States Savings Bonds program, thereafter being replaced by Series EE bonds.[12]

Financial terms[edit]

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.[13] Interest was exempt from state and local taxes, but was subject to federal taxes.[14]


  1. ^ U.S. Treasury — Introduction to Savings Bonds Archived August 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e "Brief History of World War Two Advertising Campaigns War Loans and Bonds". Duke University Libraries. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  3. ^ "Presarvin’ Freedom: Al Capp, Treasury Man," Hogan's Alley, 1998
  4. ^ a b Prial, Frank G. (June 18, 1986). "Kate Smith, All-American Singer, Dies At 79". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Radio: Kate's Appeal - TIME
  6. ^ "Quiz Kids at Mosque Net $5,000,000 in War Bonds". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 10, 1944. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Orson Welles in War Loan Drive". Associated Press (Oakland Tribune), May 17, 1944
  8. ^ "Opening Fifth War Loan Drive, June 12, 1944". Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Brady, Frank, Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989 ISBN 0-385-26759-2
  10. ^ "May 14 Marks Opening of 7th War Loan Drive". Vassar Chronicle. May 5, 1945. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  11. ^ "7th War Loan. Now--All Together". World Digital Library. 1945.
  12. ^ "The Patriot Savings Bond". U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  13. ^ — E Savings Bonds, Investor Information
  14. ^ "Individual - Series EE/E Savings Bonds Tax Considerations". Retrieved June 26, 2017.

External links[edit]