Readjusting and Reconstructing Wellbeing: Linking World War II G.I. Bill Data from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation

David Bleckley, University of Michigan
Amber C Bryant, University of Michigan
Sara Lafia, University of Michigan
Katherine Genadek, U.S. Census Bureau
Trent Alexander, University of Michigan

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944–commonly referred to as the G.I. Bill–was established, in large part, due to lessons learned from the U.S. government’s failure to adequately support veterans returning from World War I. The G.I. Bill sought to ensure the wellbeing of World War II veterans and ultimately provided many working class men access to previously unattainable higher education and home-ownership opportunities. The outcomes of the G.I Bill mortgage guarantee program have been studied by myriad scholars from multiple disciplines, but there have not been mortgage-level administrative data to explore the impacts of this program on individual participants. The Index to Loans on Veterans Administration Guaranteed Mortgages, 1946–1954 is a paper-based record of G.I. Bill guaranteed mortgages included in the archived documents of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). The proposed paper explores the contents of this collection and the relationship between the RFC and the G.I. Bill–two acts that fundamentally shaped the economy and wellbeing of the U.S. in the early- to mid-20th century. Linking these records to the 1940 U.S. Census, military enlistment records, and Social Security data, we describe a new dataset, the veterans included therein, and its potential for future research into the impact of the mortgage guarantee program on the wellbeing of U.S. World War II veterans.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 94. New Linked Data Sources