Sometimes all it takes to properly identify a photo is a little bit of luck and a lot of patience! In this case, a collector-friend of mine recognized one of my studio postcard photos on a library history blog. Apparently, the photo was saved from a past eBay auction by an intrepid library historian and subsequently identified. I knew the photo depicted a WWI American Library Association worked posing in a German studio in 1919. What I didn’t know was her identity.
Mary Josephine Booth in 1919
A library researcher pulled the image from the eBay auction and put together a nice piece on Miss Booth here: http://libraryhistorybuff.blogspot.com/2012/12/female-librarians-and-alas-library-war.html
I was able to find some additional images of Mary Josephine Booth using ancestry.com and the wonderful archive of public documents recently made searchable. See below for shots from her U.S. Passport applications.
1917 Passport Photo
1919 Passport Photo
1931 Eastern Illinois University Yearbook Photo
1941 Yearbook Photo
Filed under photography, WWI
The majority of my World War One portrait collection are comprised of quality shots depicting unidentified soldiers posing for the camera in France or Germany. Very rarely do I have a penciled name on the reverse with enough detail to make a 100% positive ID. In this rare case, I was able to make an identification based on insignia and a faint scribble on a gas mask bag.
Gas Mask Identification
At first I wasn’t able to make out the exact details of the name. The soldier was clearly with the 77th Division based on his painted helmet with the Statue of Liberty insignia, and the 305 Inf. was easy to make out on the bag. I checked the collar discs on both men and was able to make out an I, telling me that the men were both with I Company. From there, I tracked down (luckily) a web-based roster for the 305th Infantry. It can be found here: 305th Infantry Roster
The name on the bag clearly stated a P. P…….go. I didn’t have much to go on but was astounded to find a perfect match on the roster website! Peter Pizzolongo.
Peter Pizzolongo and Friend
Peter was born in 1896 in Larino Campobasso, Italy and came over to the US in the early 1900s. What’s funny is that I can’t find his immigration records online but did find that he traveled back from Italy in 1955 on board the S.S. Independence along with his wife, Ida.
1955 Italy Trip
Of interest to me is his WWI service record. His draft card gives his exact birthdate – June 29th, 1895. His listed profession at the time was Piano Maker; his Italian hometown matches perfectly with his WWI service record, so we know it’s accurate. As of June, 1917 he worked with a company named Ricca & Son at 89 Southern Boulvard, Bronx, NY. At the time he lived at 425 East 116th Street in Manhattan and wasn’t legally registered as an American citizen. He initially signed up with the 165th Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Division. It makes sense given his NY area residency at the time. He was they transferred over to the 305th Infantry Regiment of the 77th Division. He made it overseas on April 16th, 1918 and served overseas for an entire year before leaving on April 24th, 1919. He was gassed once on August 15th, 1918 during the Battle of the Marne at Fismes. Please see a quick excerpt from the official 305th Infantry Regiment unit history here: 305th History
We know from his records that he was out of commission for 8 days before returning to his unit on August 23rd. He became sick (unknown reason, likely gas related) on September 5th, 1918. He rejoined the unit on the 16th after being in the hospital for 11 days. What a trooper! I’ve attached a few of the web-based documents I’ve found through my search. Hopefully his family will one day find this site and learn a little more about their WWI relative!
WWI Service Record
WWI Draft Card
World War One Vermonter photos are far and few between, so I always jump on the opportunity to add one to my growing collection. Today’s portrait photo recently arrived in the mail from a fellow collector who discovered it at an estate sale on the West Coast. This crisp and clear 8×10 portrait was sadly damaged during shipping but still retains it’s incredible details depicting the bullion wings and cap insignia.
Walter Monger WWI Portrait
Walter V. Monger was born on December 18th, 1892 and passed away on October 18th, 1975. I’ve tracked down a number of documents on Ancestry.com that can be viewed below:
WWI Draft Registration Card
WWII Draft Registration
1919 School Photo
Identified chaplain photos have become incredibly popular in the past few years given the ramp-up effort to prepare for the 100 year anniversary of WWI. I’ve made an effort to scoop up as many interesting chaplain photos as possible to share here on PortraitsofWar to help spread the word about the U.S. involvement in the war. A recent eBay duel landed me with a top-notch portrait of a 37th Division (primarily Ohio based division) chaplain posed with his WWI Victory Medal and uniform. The inscription on the bottom ends with a crude signature. I was able to do my typical google, ancestry.com, Library of Congress and Fold3 search to come up with a 100% positive identification.
Lt. William O’Connor
William Patrick O’ Connor was born in Dayton, Ohio on October 7th, 1889 to John and Elizabeth (Kenney) O’Connor. He attended the University of Dayton for his B.A. and followed up with seminary school at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati. He was ordained in 1913 and served as Curate at Urbana, Ohio, 1913-117; later paston, Church of the Assumption in Cincinnati(Source). William O’Connor has the distinction of being the first Ohio priest to enter the army following the declaration of war in 1917.Father O’Connor served as chaplain with Battery F, 136th Field Artillery as part of the 37th “Buckeye” Division during WWI. At the time of the portrait, he was the chaplain of the 107th Cavalry of the Ohio National Guard. I was lucky enough to track down a 1918 article with a direct quotation from Rev. O’Connor:
“…………… I take this occasion to thank the Knights of Columbus of Cincinnati for their exceeding kindness and consideration to the Chaplain, and to thank all the people of Ohio for their kindness to the soldier boys.
With best wishes, in J.M.J. I am, sincerely yours,
William P. O’Connor,
First Lt. 136th Field Artillery Chaplain”
Father O’Connor was elected National Chaplain of the American Legion after the third ballot and was in a tight heat with Rev. Ezra Clemmons of Iowa and Rev. Roy Tucker of Baton Rouge, LA. For more info check out the following site: http://arc.stparchive.com/Archive/ARC/ARC11041922p05.php
Newspaper Clipping of Father O’Connor, 1922
58 Ringgold St, Dayton Ohio
And where he lived in Dayton, Ohio
US Army Training Detachment at UVM 1918
My collection of Louis McAllister WWI Photos has grown to include three more shots taken during the WWI training period at UVM in 1918. McAllister was known to have taken panoramic photos of each individual training company in front of Williams Hall. I have shots of Company B and Company C. The photo seen above appear to be all the companies posed together with a series of US Army trucks behind Old Mill and Williams Hall in September of 1918. The panoramics were part of a series of shots I recently purchased from a seller in Rutland, Vermont. The group can be attributed to a WWI veteran named Theodore Maher, a mechanic who served with both the 336th Tank Battalion as well as the 339th Tank Battalion during WWI. A fantastic find!
I’ve always noticed the vast difference in quality between the typical ETO snapshot and it’s Pacific counterpart. The European snapshots typically are printed on better paper and of much higher quality. In this case, I was able able to purchase a pair of Pacific theater photos taken by an artist with the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron. The first photograph shows a US Jeep painted up with a cartoonesque rendition of the squadron name complete with shadow effects and 8 ball logo. The same artist also designed the unit insignia seen below.
Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0892010975
8th Photo Recon Squadron Jeep
And I was also fortunate to win an Easter card designed by the same artist. The card is folded in four sections and was made from a single cut sheet of photo paper printed with a special design created specifically for the 1945 Easter season. A unique piece! I wasn’t able to win anything else from the auction – many of the sales were in the triple digits and well out of my comfort zone for an obscure topic.
1945 Easter Card
I hope to pick up a copy of a fantastic tome put out a few years back to help my future research in the unit. http://www.adastron.com/lockheed/lightning/8prs.htm
For those interested in some great footage of the 8th Photo Recon Squadron, please check out the links below:
222nd Infantry Regiment Veterans
Followers of this blog will know that I have a special place in my heart for the 42nd Division. My favorite collection of WWII photos, negatives and stories comes from the 222nd Anti-Tank Company of the 42nd Division. Seen above are a few of the living members of the 222nd Infantry Regiment posed together at a recent 2013 reunion. Thanks for your service!
Filed under world war, WWII