WWII Draft Registration Cards

Records: 35,673,073


The first draft registration under the 1940 Selective Training and Service Act required all males ages 21-36 to register on October 16, 1940, to serve in what would ultimately be WWII. Between 1941 and 1943, there were six more registrations, and the ages changed to 18-44. One exception is the Fourth Registration, or "Old Man's Draft," also on Fold3. Registration cards show name, residence, age, place of birth, employer, physical characteristics, and other information.


In 1940, as military action escalated around the globe, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the first peace-time draft in U.S. history. Although a neutral country in the early years of World War II, the United States feared the inevitable and foresaw the need to have men ready to fight. Thus, FDR signed the Burke-Wadsworth act - the Selective Service Act of 1940 - in October 1940.

First Registration - October 16, 1940

On October 16, 1940, over 16 million men between the ages of 21 and 36, registered at local draft boards around the country.

Second Registration - July 1, 1941

The second registration was taken on July 1, 1941 (still prior to U.S. involvement in the war) for men who had reached the age of 21 since the first registration, less than nine months earlier.

The cards are a pink or salmon color.

Clifton Ferris Edgerton turned 21 on June 11. He was a free-lance writer, living in New York City. He registered at a draft board in Duplin County, NC, and provided similar information, and that he had a scar on his forehead. What his registration card doesn’t tell us is that he’s buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium. He died on September 19, 1944. He was a sergeant with the 87th Armored Field Artillery Battalion.

Third Registration - February 16, 1942

For men 20-21 and 35-44 years. The top of the card states: Men born on or after February 17, 1897 and on or before December 31, 1921.

Fourth Registration, "Old Man's Draft" - April 27, 1942

WWII draft cards from the Fourth Registration, often called the "old man's draft," because it registered men who were 45 to 64 years old at the time.

Read more about the Old Man's Draft.

Fifth Registration - June 30, 1942

Men 18-20 years.

Sixth registration - December 10-31, 1942

Men who had reached the age of 18 years after June 30, 1942.

"Extra Registration" - November 16-December 31, 1943

American men living abroad, 18-44 years old.