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American Thrift Army 

"Every Boy and Girl a Banker"

The American Thrift Army (ATA) was a national program that ran in two phases:

  • Phase 1 ran from 1917 through 1919 and was operated by the U.S. Government

  • Phase 2 started after Phase 1 ended (1919) and was organized on a national scale through the National Education Association (NEA) and the banks.

Phase 2:

Seeing the success of the American Thrift Army in schools appears to have encouraged the NEA to continue with the program and making use of the newly invented automatic receiving tellers (ART) after the U.S. government dropped the ATA.

The NEA encouraged local school districts and banks to work in tandem to encourage school aged children to save their money.


The American Thrift Club pin is only 1/2" in diameter. The inner ring says "Every Boy and Girl a Banker" and in the center is a cornucopia, a symbol of abundance.


The pin was a Phase 2 item, given by the bank to a child that managed to save up and purchase $5 worth of thrift stamps.


Children lined up to purchase their thrift stamps using the automatic receiving teller - image from the The Morris Plan Bulletin, Volume 1, Issues 1-2, page 7


2 examples of 1 cent thrift stamps, each noting the use of the Automatic Receiving Teller (ART) machine.

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