Showing posts with label MAMAS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAMAS. Show all posts

Friday, January 23, 2009

New malaria book by one of our researchers

One of our researchers, Leo B. Slater, just let us know that his book has been published. That's our photo on the cover, which has been cropped a bit and edited a bit more, and here it is, full size, from one of our Flickr accounts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The more you know, the more you know

Mike and I were talking today about just what our digitization project has accomplished. This was in response to a meeting we'd attended where it was brought up that many researchers today think if something's not on the Internet, it doesn't exist and/or it doesn't matter (it must not be significant if it's not worth digitizing). For those of you reading this blog, I can imagine you either shaking or nodding your head - you've heard this before or just can't believe people think that way. But I heard it in library school so it must be so.

Anyway, this segued into talking about the first collection we scanned as a part of this project, in 2005 - the MAMAS collection. That stands for Museum and Medical Arts Services. I blogged briefly about MAMAS way back in this blog's infancy but, in short, MAMAS photographers were dispatched to the European and Pacific theaters during World War 2 to document the medical treatment the troops were getting. We scanned a dozen or so boxes of photos and realized we had very little from Europe. Didn't know where they were but they weren't in this batch of boxes.

Fast forward to late 2007. Over the years the archives has rescued countless documents that were being discarded for whatever reason. We've begun to dig through them and in the sort we realized that what we had were several hundred MAMAS photos from Europe. Happy day, and exciting. They're now in the process of being cataloged and will be scanned some time this year.

And so, this is the source of this post's title. If we hadn't scanned the first, "known" batch of MAMAS, we would never have "known" that these several hundred (and most likely will top 1000) photos were also part of that collection.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Nationalism, racism or a time that tried men's souls?

Here's a picture from the MAMAS collection that Kathleen ran across today:

Unpleasant, but typical of war photography, right?

Now here's the picture with the caption scanned in:
MAMAS E44-78-35

The caption reads, "This is no horror picture for these are Good Japs, sinister minions of Tojo who were caught in a murderous cross fire of machine guns and rifle bullets as they attempted to make one last [fanatical] break through [our] lines at Tanapag Harbor, Saipan Island, on July 7th. This picture will supply the warlords of Japan a rough idea of what lies ahead and serve to remind them that the road to Tokyo is becoming a pretty un-healthy place for Tojo-san and his warriors." W-CPA-44-6755 July Laudansky. 10/1/1944.

As a policy, we use the caption that the picture comes with, although we'll add additional information in brackets if necessary. This caption? It's unpleasant, but it's probably not propaganda as it was never meant to be seen except by the Museum staff who received it. Unfortunately Mr. Laudansky was almost certainly on Saipan taking photographs when these Japanese soldiers attacked (to the last man), so I think we can understand this caption as an expression of something more than either nationalism or racism too. I'd like to hope that we as a society have moved beyond some things, but if I was in Laudansky's shoes, I have no idea what I'd write. I know I'd have been terrified though.

Although in our numbering series for the Museum & Medical Arts Service, I think this photograph is a re-photograph of by MAMAS staff of Luadansky's picture for the Central Pacific Area Signal Corps group.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another favorite photo

Here's another photo from the MAMAS collection (introduced below). Paperwork that came with the photo didn't have a name for this creature other than "mooch bug." I think, as a librarian/archivist, that it's a perfectly descriptive term, even if you wouldn't find in the Library of Congress Subject Headings.
MAMAS A44-24-1

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Introduction to one of our collections

Hi. I'm Kathleen Stocker, an assistant archivist at the museum. I've been there about 2 1/2 years, fresh out of graduate school and my first foray into the archives world. I love my job.

I was hired to begin processing images for a massive digitization project. The first collection I worked on is known as MAMAS (Museum and Medical Arts Services). MAMAS photographers were sent out by the Medical Museum during WW2 to document medical and surgical cases and, when things got slow, they shot a lot of other things like scenery and calmer activities. Of the hundreds of thousands of images we've digitized in the last couple of years, here is my favorite:

D45-416-34G (MAMAS)

This is the only information we have about this picture: "C-46 air evacuation from Manila, Philippine Islands."

I think the photo's a classic. It portrays such a feeling of calm and control. The soldiers are obviously all wounded, but they're in safe hands now, maybe on their way home. Mundane activities occupy the sergeant at the desk. And the nurse looks like a 1940s movie star, with just enough light on her face to make her the real subject of this photo, an elegant emblem of caring and competence.