[Various locations in the Philippines. ca. 1945]. 138 vernacular photographs, most about 5 x 4 inches, twelve small strips containing thirty- six vernacular thumbnail photographs, forty- one professional photographs, and twenty postcards, all in mounting corners. Program for the May 1949 commencement of Hampton Institute laid into a rear pocket. Oblong folio. Contemporary brown leatherette, black titles on front cover. Some rubbing and minor edge wear to boards. Some leaves detached, some chipped. Album in good condition; photographs and postcards in very good to near fine condition. Item #WRCAM55704
A substantial photograph album containing both vernacular and professionally-produced photographs, as well as picture postcards, all pertaining to an unidentified soldier's experiences in the Philippines towards the end of or just after World War II. In our experience, photographic evidence of African- American military service in the Philippines is uncommon. The photographs picture African-American soldiers almost exclusively, sometimes posing with local Philippine men and women. Several photographs depict African-American soldiers playing basketball, tennis, and horsing around on a basketball court. The African- American soldiers are also seen in camp, driving large military trucks, playing catch, building a structure, transferring supplies, interacting with locals, and dancing with local women at a party. The soldiers also pose with local women (with whom they may or may not be romantically involved), and visit the city, presumably Luzon, where they watch a baseball game and take several shots of the buildings in town. Two group photographs feature the soldiers - one showing them dressed in kitchen attire and standing with several locals, the other showing about thirty African-American soldiers in a wide shot standing amidst five military vehicles. Throughout the album, there are only three annotations, each identifying a particular soldier by name - "Buddy Moore" of St. Louis, "Grover Johnson," and "'Red Apple' Moore." The nature of the photographs suggest that the African-American troops featured here were likely a support unit, and perhaps part of a motor pool. The vernacular photographs also include twelve small strips of positive thumbnail images, with three images on each strip. These photographs feature scenes in the Philippines, onboard naval vessels, and on the beach at Barrio San Jose on the Bataan Peninsula in Luzon, where three different soldiers stand by a sign commemorating the surrender of Japanese troops to Jonathan Wainwright, and one features the opening to the Malinta Tunnel. There are also seven vernacular photographs of aircraft nose art, depicting pinups such as "Delectable Dottie," "Rice Pattie Hattie," "Nosie Rosie," and others. The professional photographs include several images of indigenous peoples (including four featuring women), scenes of the surrender, an American military cemetery, and numerous scenes caught just after battles, with several depictions of dead casualties. The postcards almost exclusively pertain to the Philippines, picturing the Corregidor Barracks and other scenes in the area, Lake Taal in Luzon, a bridge in Davao, "Native Fish Weirs" in Manila Bay, street scenes of Manila, rice harvesting in Luzon, and others. A program for the seventy-ninth annual commencement exercises of the Hampton Institute is laid in, which presumably belonged either to the unknown compiler of the present album or perhaps a family member. An important collection of postwar images of an African-American unit in the Philippines serving towards the end of or just after World War II.