Ancestors, Legends & Time

1918 Liberty Bond contest essay winner

Jeanne Newby

During World War I (1914-1918) Americans were being urged to support the government by buying Liberty Bonds. Vivian Fisher, or “Wivi” David as she was known in her adult years, was asked to write an essay about supporting the government with Liberty Bonds. She did such a great job that she was given an award and read her story at a banquet. 

The year was 1918, Wivi was 14 years of age and in the eighth grade. The title of her essay tells it all. 

“Every penny Lent to the Government is a Shot at the Kaiser. A patriotic appeal for the 4th Liberty loan. Written by Vivian Fisher.”

America has given us a home of which we Americans are very proud. We have freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom of the press. We help elect all of the government offices and do many other things for which we are thankful. America has given us everything we own, but she needs it now. If you are willing to lend money to yourself, now is your chance. Buy Liberty bonds and help Uncle Sam.

We can help the United States and the Allies win this war by the Conservation of all things. We must conserve on food and coal and other things too numerous to mention. Every home in the United States should be owner of as many Liberty bonds as their financial circumstances will permit; the children should be taught to save their money to buy stamps. The fourth Liberty loan campaign opened Saturday , September 28th 1918 and will close October 19. This drive is to be short and everyone should be prepared to buy bonds. The children will catch the spirit and will buy thrift stamps.

The drive means that we are to have a hearty response from the people in the buying of bonds. And we are able to have more ammunition, more guns, more fighting men, better equipment for our soldiers over the seas and last but by no means least, we are going to have victory. The girls and boys should save their utmost for it is their future that is concerned.

Our parents and the older people are only trying to take care of the present so that they can give the boys and girls a country that is noted for its freedom and democracy. Shall we hoard our money now and let the Kaiser rule us to the end, or shall we lend it to Uncle Sam for a certain length of time with interest paid at certain times. Bonds will help our brave soldiers and sailors who are giving their lives for our country, and bonds will help in many ways. These bonds can be bought at banks or any place. The people have patriotic meetings during the drive. So, if every penny lent to the government is a shot at the Kaiser, how many shots will you take?


World War I officially ended on Nov. 11, 1918, with the signing of the armistice. This was quite a speech for a young girl and a strong show of patriotism. Thanks to Peggy Bailey for sharing her mother’s essay with us.

I, myself remember buying War Bonds in the late ’50s. Once a week you took money to school and bought a 10 cent or a quarter stamp to go into you war bond book. When the book was filled, you turned it in for a War Bond. I don’t think I ever completed my books, so I didn’t get a war bond… I just donated my money!

A step back into the past where many things were handled in different ways.

This story was shared with us in 1991 by Peggy Bailey.

Jeanne’s new book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri” is now available at Webb City Chamber office and other local retailers, such as Maggie Jane’s Gifts, at 8 S. Main St.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.