Showing posts with label World War 2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War 2. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rediscovered photographs

Today I've been stabilizing and doing some research in the Crynes Collection (OHA 143.02). This collection documents the life, and particularly the military career, of Major Sylvester F. Crynes MC, a pathologist with the 217th General Hospital during WWII.

Before donating his papers, Major Crynes' family digitized 400 35mm slide from his time in northern France during WWII. They are uniquely beautiful and I wish I could post them all, but I'll settle for a just a handful.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today's new collection

Material is flowing into the Museum as the AFIP and Walter Reed both prepare to close. Today we collected 54 boxes, or 184 bound volumes of Walter Reed General Hospital Autopsies (2011.0005, OHA 354.7) which date from 1917 through 1965. That presumably covers 4 wars – World War 1, World War 2, Korea and Vietnam.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 22: Lecture on Walter Reed radio show in WW2

Michael Henry of the University of Maryland's Library of American Broadcasting has let me know about a lecture he's doing:

Parks Johnson's radio show Vox Pop visited Walter Reed on March 15, 1943. Co-host Warren Hull specifically refers to the fact that they are broadcasting from the "Red Cross Recreation Hall". On Saturday January 22, I will be giving a presentation about the broadcast at the Radio & Television Museum in Bowie, MD. The event is free and open to the public. The presentation will start at 2pm. The museum is located at 2608 Mitchellville Rd in Bowie.

Pictures of the show being done at Walter Reed are online.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Navy World War 2 cartoon by Hotchkiss online now

MIS 09-7914-1
MIS 09-7914-1

"He had his heart set on pate de foie gras. Navy chow is the best!
Take all you can eat, eat all you can take! Don't be finicky!"
[Nutrition.] [Propaganda.] [World War 2.] [Illustration by: "Hotchkiss
USNR".] World War II. Cartoon.

1944; Bureau of Supplies and Accounts: Navy; U.S. Government Printing
Office; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ketcham and Hotchkiss' Navy cartoon posters from World War 2

Courtesy of the US Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the National Museum of Health and Medicine has scans of these Navy posters from World War 2.

One is by Dennis the Menace creator Hank Ketcham -


The rest are by Hotchkiss -








Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rare pictures of Japanese WW2 POW camps

A couple of rare pictures of Japanese WW2 POW camps for Allied soldiers are up on our Flickr site now - here's one of them - Camp Rules for Tsumori Prison Camp, Osaka, Japan

MAMAS D45-456-12-7

and Fire fighting apparatus, Yodogawa Prison Camp.

MAMAS D45-456-16-12

We have plenty more of these if there's any interest.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Letter of the day, April 15

Balduin Lucké was a Philadelphia pathologist, a professor of pathology at the University of Pennsylvania, Deputy Curator of the Museum, and in charge of the Professional Service (primarily the pathological division) of the Museum/Army Institute of Pathology.

I thought this letter interesting from the scrap-metal-salvaging aspect during WW2, and funny because of  government paperwork requirements in the face of roadblocks as shown at the end of paragraph 2 and the beginning of paragraph 3.

We have some of Dr. Lucké's materials in our Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology collection.

The American College of Pathology
East University Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.

April 15, 1944

Lt. Col. Balduin Lucké, M.C.
Army Medical Museum
7th St. and Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington 25, D.C.

Dear Colonel Lucké:

I am returning the letter from Major Pons, and Mrs. Weller joins me in thanking you for letting us see it.

We have noted that 1,050 reprints of your papers will be required. Do you wish the reprints of the two articles bound together?

We, of course, will wish to cooperate in respect to the preservation of the blocks for future use. We have been under considerable pressure to assure re-use of the metal as quickly as possible. There is a War Production Board order, under the title General Conservation Order M-99, covering this matter. As I understand it, we should be protected in the same manner when the issue is between two Government agencies as though we were dealing with a civilian. After the issue of General Conservation Order M-99, we withdrew the privilege of securing the blocks for a nominal fee to cover packing. On three occasions when re-use of the blocks seemed imminent, we have released them. The mechanism by which this is done is to file with us, in triplicate, a signed statement in the language which appears in fine print near the bottom of the middle column of the printed order which we are sending you herewith. One copy has to go to our engraver, one to our printer, and one copy is retained in our files.

Since it is almost impossible to secure additional copies of General Conservation Order M-99, and the one I am sending you is the only one which we have, I must ask you to return it at your early convenience. I will have to leave it to your judgment as to whether the statement which you submit should be signed by you or by General Love. Because of the large number of illustrations in your articles, the amount of metal is considerable and I fear that I am going to meet with some objection from our engraver, whom I believe to be under a quota in respect to the metal supplied him. This quota is influenced by the amount of salvaged metal which he can release. Therefore, any plan to retain these blocks should be well considered and readily defensible.

Sincerely yours,
[signed] Carl V. Weller

Enc., 2

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Photo of the day, April 13

World War 2 - combat battle scenes (European theater). This section of Heilbronn, Germany, has been completely demolished by Allied air attacks. US 7th Army, VI [6th] Corps. 04/13/1945.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Photo of the day, March 24

USS Solace. Commissioned on 08/09/1941; the Solace joined the Fleet on 10/27 and was the first hospital ship to be present in a naval battle when she cared for casualties from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

She won eight engagement stars for participation in this and seven other military operations:
Gilbert Islands, 11/24-26/1943;
occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 02/03-04/1944; capture and occupation of Saipan, 06/18/1944-07/02/1944;
capture of Guam 07/24 to 08/15/1944;
occupation of Southern Palau Islands, 09/06 to 10/14/1944;
capture of Iwo Jima 02/23 to 03/10/1945;
and the Okinawa Gunto operation, 03/24 to 06/20/1945.

The Solace was the first hospital ship to be refueled at sea while carrying a full load of patients, near the Gilbert Islands in 11/1943, and the first to receive patients directly from the combat area (in the same campaign).

As an illustration of her activity, during 1943 she traveled 37069 miles, took part in 10 evacuations, 6 of them to transport patients from the New Hebrides area to Aukland and Wellington, New Zealand. Total admissions to the sick list that year amounted to 6465, and she spent 5 months as a station hospital.

During the Iwo Jima and Okinawa operations 1800 units of fresh whole-blood, 1200 units of plasma, 136000 sulfa tablets, and 2.5 billion units of penicillin were administered. She admitted and treated about 25000 patients altogether, 70 percent battle casualties, and steamed over 170000 miles before VJ Day. Thereafter she engaged in transporting Pacific war veterans home and was decommissioned 03/27/1946.

The SOLACE had an overall length of 410 feet, displaced 8650 tons, had a top speed of 18 knots and a cruising range of 7000 miles.

Hospital ships. Solace (AH-5) Folder 3 12/10/1916; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Photo of the day, March 11

World War 2. 116th Medical Battalion. Philippine Islands. Clearing Station (Beach). Patient receiving treatment. 03/11/1945. (Higher resolution available on Flickr.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Malaria Moe

Warren Bernard gave us a nice donation last week of some WW2 malaria education cartoons done by Frank Mack, and a further "donation" of more of the same that we can scan for our collection. We had some of the "Malaria Moe" cartoons and some of these calendar pages, but ours were from microfilm and are black and white. Warren gave us the color versions and even 65 years on, they're fabulous.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saipan and Pacific Islands fighting in WW2 on Flickr

Kathleen just loaded a bunch of pictures from the Island campaigns in the Pacific in World War 2. These photos are pretty gruesome and their caption reflect the heated attitude of the time - this is what the photographer wrote and sent back, and not what someone would use to caption a photograph today.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Malaria Moe cartoons on Flickr

Kathleen put up a bunch of scans of World War 2 Malaria Moe propaganda cartoons on Flickr today. The artist, Frank Mack, later went on to work for Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wired discovers the Museum's online photographs

See "Rare Trove of Army Medical Photos Heads to Flickr," By Alexis Madrigal,'s Science blog March 17, 2009 and "Bringing Hidden World War II Photos to the Masses," By Betsy Mason, 03.17.09.

I think I come off as a bit strident there, but we are creating a massive new resource and need to make it available in new ways. Most of these photographs were never described in any database (although there is a set of index cards that fills a wall) and we're discovering and seeing them for the first time too. There are so many pictures that no one of us is seeing all of them - the contractor's scanning team working on this has 7 people just getting the pictures catalogued to be scanned. And there's at least 2000 boxes left to go.

Remember that these photos are in the public domain so you can repurpose them for your own use - let us know if you come up with something particularly interesting.

By the way, at 10 pm, we're at 64,787 views for the Flickr account (formerly Otis Archives1) that Kathleen paid for and then collapsed all 4 pre-existing accounts into (and the old Otis Archives 2 has 32,778; 3 has 23,897; and 4 half-full with only 104 pictures has 2,206). That's 123,668 views since we started on September 22 2006.
(By 10:23, we're up to 65,505 views on the main account - enjoy!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My friend Joe Levin has died

For many years, Jeanne Levin was the tour and volunteer coordinator of the Museum, shepherding various groups around for various reasons. I met Jeanne when I was a callow student intern, long before I became the wizened archivist. I used to see her husband Joe at events and functions, and eventually became friends with him despite our age difference. We'd meet for lunch once in a while and I did an oral history with him in late 2005 about his World War II service. After earning a law degree and being drafted, Joe was with the 17th Bomber Group in North Africa, Italy and France. He was the adjutant of the 34th Bomb Squadron of that Group and ran the Group's newspaper. Here's a couple of photographs from him, one of him at the beginning of the war and one he took at the end as France is being liberated. Joe and I kept planning on getting the oral history down to the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project, but never got around to it. I'll make sure that the recording and copies of his photographs do get down there though. The family's death notice from the Post follows. Requiescat in pace, Joe, January 24, 1919-March 9, 2009.

On Monday, March 9, 2009, JOSEPH LEVIN of Bethesda, MD. Beloved husband of Jeanne Levin; devoted father of Michael (Christine Ims) Levin and Cynthia Levin; dear brother of Samuel Levin and the late Sara Zash. Also survived by many loving nieces, nephews and friends. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 10:30 a.m. at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County, 8215 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda, MD. Interment following at King David Memorial Garden, Falls Church, VA. Shiva will be observed at the late residence on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Memorial contributions may be made to Hadassah, 1220 East-West Highway, Suite 120, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or to the Jewish Social Service Agency Hospice, 6123 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD 20852. Arrangements entrusted to TORCHINSKY HEBREW FUNERAL HOME, 202-541-1001 (endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of Washington).

Published in The Washington Post on 3/11/2009

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Navy nurse who was at Pearl Harbor dies

Capt. Ruth A. Erickson, 95; Leader of Navy Nurse Corps
By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 23, 2008; Page B04

This one's posted for my colleagues Jan and Andre, the historians at the Navy's Bureau of Medicine & Surgery. They've interviewed lots of people involved in the Navy's brand of military medicine and I'll bet they talked to Capt Erikson. They also put out Navy Medicine, a monthly journal as well as DVD histories. We're going to work with them this year to get their photo collection scanned with an electronic catalogue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Found in the Archives

Found in the Lent Johnson collection - scores of unprocessed boxes from an orthopedic pathologist who worked at AFIP from the 1940s until he died around 2000 – 5” of “A Study of Malnutrition in Japanese Prisoners of War,” from the 174th Station Hospital, New Bilibid Prison, Philippines. This is actually a study of Japanese captured by Americans at the end of the war – so they were suffering from malnutrition while being in the Japanese Imperial Army.

I'd seen this years ago, just after Lent died, but didn't know that it was in the records that came to the Museum. Fortunately another researcher had been looking at them and noted there was a box labeled 'dysentery atlas'. Alan of Historical Collections pulled the box from the warehouse and brought it down, and in the bottom was this malnutrition study.

The dysentery atlas is good too - it's a photographic study also from World War 2 and goes with an unpublished manuscript of a second edition of The practical microscopic diagnosis of dysentery / by Frank G. Haughwout, Manila : Bureau of Printing, 1924. You can see the first edition at the National Library of Medicine.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Poison Gas

Earlier this week ran an article on the 93rd anniversary of the first use of poison gas on the Western Front in World War 1, when the Germans used chlorine gas against French and Algerian troops. The article said that chlorine gas produces a green cloud and a strong odor, giving the victims at least a little advance warning. This made me think of posters we have from World War 2 that warn soldiers of the different smells that gases produce (although I neither know nor wish to know what flypaper smells like):





Friday, April 25, 2008

Susan L. Smith on WWII Mustard Gas Experiments

Lecture at NYAM: Susan L. Smith on WWII Mustard Gas Experiments

This year, the New York Academy of Medicine's Public Lecture Series in the History of Medicine and Public Health has been looking at some new aspects of the history of medicine in wartime - specifically, the interplay between war, medicine and society. Our series explores the poisonous ideologies that fester into wars, and the development and testing of deadly new weapons to fight them; the social and
infrastructural stresses and fractures war brings; and the challenges of helping war's maimed and damaged soldiers find peaceful occupations when the fighting is over.

The series concludes next month with Susan L. Smith's look at human experimentation in the context of global war.

Thursday, May , 8, 2008, 6:00 PM with reception at 5:30 PM The Lilianna Sauter Lecture Medicine in Wartime, Part IV: Place, Health and War: World War II Mustard Gas Experiments in Transnational Perspective Susan L. Smith, University of Alberta

In the early 1940s, medical scientists funded by the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service conducted painful mustard gas experiments on at least 60,000 American soldiers. The Allies, including the governments of Canada, Britain, Australia, and the United States, conducted these experiments on their own soldiers in order to identify the impact of chemical weapons on the health of soldiers. One component of the research program involved examining how mustard gas affected men of various "races." At least eight separate experimental programs in the United States focused specifically on Japanese American and African American soldiers and one focused on testing Puerto Ricans on an island off Panama. The researchers were searching for evidence of race-based differences in the responses of the human body to mustard gas exposure. In the 1940s in a climate of contested beliefs over the existence and meanings of racial differences, medical researchers examined the bodies of these specific minority groups for evidence of how they differed from whites.

Susan L. Smith is a Professor of History and Classics at the University of Alberta specializing in the history of health and medicine. Her current reserach focuses on race, health, and war. She is the author of two books on race and health in the United States, Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Black Women's Health Activism in America, 1890-1950 and Japanese American Midwives: Culture, Community, and Health
Politics, 1880-1950.

To register for this event, visit :

For more information about NYAM programs in the history of medicine, visit our website at , write , or call 212.822.7310.

Historical programs at NYAM are supported by the Friends of the Rare Book Room. Please join the Friends! Download a membership form at .


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.