Snyder (Eva Sesmer and Herbert Mitchell) Collection, 1907-1979

Descriptive Summary

Title
Snyder (Eva Sesmer and Herbert Mitchell) Collection, 1907-1979
Creator
Snyder, Eva Sesmer, 1895-1979; Snyder, Herbert Mitchell, 1894-1968
Extent
2.575 linear ft. plus artifacts
Finding Aid Author
Archives Staff
Repository
University of Louisville

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Eva Sesmer (Snyder) was born November 21, 1894, in Odessa, Russia, an ancient Black Sea port. Her father, Samuel Paul Sesmer, was a physician and graduate of the Medical Faculty of the (old) University of St. Petersburg. A Tsarist, Dr. Sesmer feared Bolshevik take-over of his country and emigrated to the U.S. in 1909. He established a practice at New Castle, in Henry County, Ky., and, a year later, sent for his family. Eva Sesmer, his eldest daughter, turned 16 soon after.
The following year, falsifying her age, she entered nurses' training at the (old) Jewish Hospital in Louisville, and was graduated in 1913. She remained on the staff of the Jewish Hospital and also did private-duty nursing in Louisville.
In 1917, immediately after America's entry into World War I, R.N. Eva Sesmer volunteered as a Red Cross nurse at Camp Taylor, a large Army training installation in Louisville. Soon after, she volunteered and was accepted for overseas duty with the Army Nurse Corps, then administered by the American Red Cross. She joined an all-Kentucky medical cadre, Unit #40, which was mobilized by Dr. (Col.) David Barrow of Lexington and which included physicians, registered nurses, male orderlies and ambulance drivers. Sailing for England immediately, the group established U.S. Base Hospital #40 at Sarisbury Court, a converted country house and estate just outside Southampton, England (and reputedly the former home of dancer Isadora Duncan).
Lieut. Eva Sesmer also served with detached-duty units of Base Hospital #40 at Paignton, England; Edinboro, Scotland, and behind the lines in France. The Kentucky medical unit received many honors for its service to the casualties of the American Expeditionary Force and of Allied forces from Canada, England and France. Lieutenant Sesmer also received several personal commendations.
Returning to Louisville after war duty, she nursed military personnel at Camp Taylor during the disastrous influenza epidemic of 1919. Following military discharge, she nursed in Louisville until her marriage in 1920 to former Navy Hospital Corpsman Herbert Mitchell Snyder. During the 1920s and 1930s, although not actively nursing, she served as obstetrical nurse at the birth of six nieces and nephews--delivered by Drs. Henry Enos Tuley, Oscar Bloch and Leo Bloch, for whom she had worked. During the 1937 Ohio River flood, she volunteered as a Public Health Nurse and traveled by boat giving typhoid shots and first aid to victims.
Strongly patriotic and deeply grateful for the opportunities offered by her adopted country, Eva Sesmer Snyder taught citizenship classes to emigrés of the 1930s and '40s, at the (old) Neighborhood House. She and her husband stood sponsorship for numerous immigrant families of many faiths and nationalities--all strangers to her, and all subsequently fine citizens.
In World War II her husband returned to active duty as a Chief Pharmacist's Mate in the Navy, serving throughout the Southwest Pacific. During this period, Eva Sesmer Snyder served as a Russian instructor for the Navy V-12 unit at the University of Louisville, and as a translator. From the 1950s to the early 1970s, she taught Russian classes at the YMCA and YWCA. She was also a poet--her work was published extensively in The Courier-Journal during the 1930s-1940s and in Veterans' Voices, a national literary magazine of the Veterans Administration, 1950s-1970s.
In 1963, Mrs. Snyder was honored by the Fincastle Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as Louisville's `Distinguished Foreign-Born Citizen of the Year.'
Eva Sesmer Snyder, R.N., died October 4, 1979. She was nearly 85.
by Agnes Snyder Crume
As a teenager, Eva Sesmer Snyder and her family immigrated from Russia to the United States, where they settled first in Henry County, Kentucky, and then in Louisville. In 1914, she was graduated from Louisville's Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. During World War I, Eva served as an Army nurse at Camp Taylor, Kentucky, and later at an Allied hospital in England. On returning to civilian life, she was active in a women's unit of the American Legion; when it was disbanded, she joined the Legion's Jefferson Post Number 15 in Louisville. During the 1930s and 1940s, Mrs. Snyder taught citizenship courses for immigrants at the Neighborhood House and, during Louisville's devastating 1937 flood, worked as a Public Health Nurse. Between the World Wars, she was employed by Dr. August Schachner, M.D. who in 1931 published an account of his travels to the Arctic Ocean.
During World War II, Eva Snyder aided the Russian relief effort and worked as a Russian language instructor and translator. In the post-war era, she continued to teach Russian and frequently wrote "Letters to the Editor" of Louisville Courier Journal on a potpourri of topics. In 1963, the local Daughters of the American Revolution named Eva Snyder, its "Foreign Born Citizen of the Year."
Herbert Mitchell Snyder, Eva's husband, was born in 1894 in Brooklyn, New York, and was graduated from the public schools there in 1911. In 1920, he was certified as a registered pharmacist and was employed by the Newman Drug Company as a druggist, and later, as a pharmaceutical chemist. During World War I, he served in the United States Navy and in 1943, returned to active duty. As Chief Pharmacists' Mate, Snyder was first assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station and then, for sixteen months, aboard the U.S.S. Towner in the Pacific Theater.
Scope and Content
This collection is foremost a reflection of the numerous interests of Eva Semser Snyder. There is a body of letters, with a few photographs interspersed, from Allied soldiers that she met during World War I. A few items illustrate her work as a Public Health Nurse during the 1937 Flood. For the World War II era and following, there are commendations, citations, and numerous job applications, usually for positions utlizing her skill in Russian. Newspaper clippings, with related correspondence, of her "Letters to the Editor" are also found.
The papers of Herbert M. Snyder consist largely of snapshots from his naval service both in World War I and II. The photographs were removed from a large album; the bulk of them were taken by Snyder while on duty aboard the U.S.S. Towner, which visited numerous remote native villages in the South Pacific. There are also scenes (some of which appear to have been purchased) from Japan, China, the Phillipine Islands, and Hawaii, from both the pre-war and the close of the war and early occupation periods.
Also included are Herbert Snyder's printed and typescript articles on pharmaceutical topics and related articles by Eva, and the Snyder's daughter, Agnes Snyder Crume. Ms. Crume prepared the explanatory notes found scattered throughout this collection.
A few items, such as an oversized photo of Company "D" Forty-fifth U.S. Infantry at Camp Taylor, Kentucky, and several oversized awards and diplomas, are stored separately from the collection. A series of published and unpublished poetry by Eva Sesmer Snyder ADDED 2/27/1981 will be added to the collection at a later date. Her student notes in nursing, World War I uniform, and medical equipment have been donated to the Kornhauser Health Science Library at the University of Louisville.
This body of artifacts and personal papers documents the World War I service of Eva Sesmer Snyder (1894-1979), a Russian emigree who lived all of her adult life in Louisville, Kentucky. Her uniform is accompanied by all of the accessories, insignias, and the like and is in good condition. Lecture notes and official correspondence from the U S Army and the American Red Cross comprised the bulk of the documentary material. Excellent photographs of patients and staff of U S Base Hospital #40 at Sarisbury Court, in Southampton, England are one of the collection's strengths.
The papers occupy 1.0 linear feet and date from 1913, when Eva Sesmer attended nursing school at Louisville's Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses, to her discharge from the Army in 1919 except for a few items of memorabilia from the 1970s.
Other aspects of the career of Eva Sesmer Snyder, especially her roles as poet and Russian language teacher, are documented in another body of her personal papers, housed at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center.
The donor of both portions was Louisville journalist Agnes Snyder Crume, the daughter of Eva Sesmer Snyder.

Contents of the Collection

Eva and Herbert Snyder Biographical information

Correspondence

Eva Sesmer Snyder

A-D 1918-1972

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E-M World War II / 1942-1945

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P-W 1918-1963

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Misc. invitations 1919 and n.d.

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Recommendations 1937-1953

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Herbert M. Snyder

1911-1952

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Herbert and Eva Snyder

1952-1968 and n.d.

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Financial Documents

Eva Sesmer Snyder

1943-1945

  • Box 1
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Legal Documents

Eva Sesmer Snyder

1948-1954, and n.d.

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Herbert Snyder

1919-1956

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Literary Productions

Eva Sesmer Snyder

Letters to the Editor 1937-1967 and n.d.

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Misc. notes, n.d.

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Poetry 1918-1950s and n.d.

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Poetry 1960s and 1970s

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Stories 1929-1937

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Veterans Voice 1976

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Herbert Snyder

Articles and stories 1929-1945

  • Box 1
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Printed Materials

Eva Sesmer Snyder

Bulletin - The Flood 1937

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Certificates 1937-1978

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Clippings (WWI?)-1967 and n.d.

  • Box 1
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Membership cards 1918-1975

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YWCA 1974 and n.d.

  • Box 1
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Herbert Snyder

Certificates 1908-1960s

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Clippings 1963

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USS Towner 1944-46

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Herbert and Eva Snyder

Clippings n.d.

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Photographs

Eva Sesmer Snyder

World War I

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Herbert Snyder

Company D, 45th Infantry Unit 1917-1919

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Great Lakes Navel Training Station 1917-1919

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Great Lakes...Aboard USS Towner 1943-1944

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USS Towner - Borneo and New Guinea 1944-1946

  • Box 1
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USS Towner - Philippine Islands 1944-1946

  • Box 1
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USS Towner - Philippines, Solomon Islands 1944-1946

  • Box 1
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USS Towner - Japan 1944-1946

  • Box 1
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USS Towner - China 1944-1946

  • Box 1
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USS Towner - New Georgia and Russell Islands

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USS Towner - Hawaiian Islands 1944-1946

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Memorabilia

Eva Sesmer Snyder - World War I Service Flag

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Herbert Snyder - American Legion Cap

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Lecture notes from Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses, 1913

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R N License 1914

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Red Cross Service Certificate

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U S Army records 1917-1919

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Correspondence with Army, Red Cross

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Photograph album, U S Base Hospital 40, Hampshire, England

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Miscellaneous photos and postcards

  • Box 1
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Memorabilia 1917-1978

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ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY FOR NURSES (textbook w/ ESS annotations)

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PRACTICAL MATERIA MEDICA FOR NURSES (textbook used by ESS)

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Red Cross nurse uniform cape, armband, hat, insignia, pins, dog tags

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Mess kit

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Surgical tray Field issue syringe kit with scissors, needles, emergency sedatives.

  • Box 2
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Red Cross nurse's uniform skirt and jacket

  • Box (oversize, flat)
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Medals, ribbons

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Khaki uniform carrier

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Diploma from Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses, n d

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See donor file (Crume, AS) for more detailed description of three dimensional items.

  • Box (oversize, flat)
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Eva Sesmer Snyder and Herbert M. Snyder U of L Archives Photographs

Photographs, Great Lakes Naval Training Station (1917-1918)

1) POSTCARD / WWI 1917-18, group portrait of four.

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2) POSTCARD / 1917 gaurd duty - Great Lakes, Illonois.

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3-13) (1'x 2') WWI 1917-18, all are identified on the backs of the prints.

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These photographs show groups of sailors and individual sailors hamming for the camera.
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14) (2'x 4') 1917 U.S.N.T.S. one at Lakes, Illonois, (sailors in uniform clowning)

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15) (2'x 4') Photograph of a pair of sailors.

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16) (2'x 4') Photograph of a sailor and four other military in a line.

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17-19) (1'x 2') Sailors at Great Lakes, Illonois.

  • Folder 1
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Photographs, Great Lakes N.T.S. 1943-44 / Photographs, Aboard U.S.S. Towner

1) (8'x 10') Pharmacy U.S.N. Hospital.

  • Folder 2
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2-5) (8'x 10') Portraits painted of various officers.

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6) (8'x 10') Herbert M. Snyder 1943.

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7) (4'x 7') U.S.S. Towner (AKA-77) view from port-side aft... taken in Noumea, New Caledonia.

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8) (5'x 8') Photograph of a ship in Noumea, New Caledonia Feb. 1945.

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9-12) (2'x 4') Sailors and officers aboard ship, August 1945. (ID's on back)

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13) (8'x 10') Group portrait of officers taken on board the U.S.S. Towner

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(AKA-77) May 13, 1945 in Pacific waters by Commander R.P. Erdman (skipper).

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14-15) (3'x 3') February 13, 1945 Shellback ceremonies on crossing the equator.

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16) (2'x 4') Photograph of officers and sailors on board ship.

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17-19) (2'x 3') All of these are dated 12/13/45. Shellback ceremonies?

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20-21) (3'x 3') Same as nos. 17-19.

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22-24) (2'x 3') Same as nos. 17-21.

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25-30) (2'x 3') Photographs of the sick ward and laboratory.

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31) (2'x 4') Photograph of a destroyer alongside the U.S.S. Towner.

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32) (2'x 3') Photograph of the operating room.

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33-34) (3'x 3') Sailors at attention and sun bathing on board the ship.

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35) (2'x 4') Photograph of the captain's inspection.

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36) (2'x 3') Beer call Ocy, 20, 1945, Manicani Island, Samar P.I.

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37) (3'x 4') Church services on board.

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38) (3'x 4') Dr. Gershman sun bathing.

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39) (3'x 4') Guadal canal, Solomon Islands.

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40) (4'x 5') Gershman, Lt. Commander (M.C.)

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Photographs, U.S.S. Towner/ Borneo and New Guinea (1944-1946)

1) (2'x 4') Native chieftain's feast, Iwabi, Borneo.

  • Folder 4
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2-7) (2'x 3') All of these were taken in British New Guinea and show natives, chiefs and service men…

  • Folder 4
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8-57) (2'x 2' - 3'x 5') All these photographs are of bare-breasted native women, some with their…

  • Folder 4
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58-95) (3'x 5' - 2'x 3') These photographs are mainly of families, and groups of children. Houses…

  • Folder 4
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96-99) (2'x 3') Scenic views of New Guinea.

  • Folder 4
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100-110) (2'x 3') These are photographs of a tribal ceremonial and dance; one photograph has a…

  • Folder 4
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111-122) (2'x 3') More scenic views of New Guinea.

  • Folder 4
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123-127) (2'x 3') Photographs showing fishermen with their boats, and a village on stilts.

  • Folder 4
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128-130) (2'x 3') Still more scenic views of New Guinea along the beach.

  • Folder 4
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131-158) (2'x 3') The majority of these photographs deal with war related topics - crashed Japanese…

  • Folder 4
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Photographs, U.S.S. Towner, Phillipine Islands (1944-1946)

1-16) (2'x 3' - 2'x 4') All of these photographs show village life: working in the rice paddies…

  • Folder 5
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17-18) (4'x 4') Two views of the harbor Zamboanga, Phillipine Islands.

  • Folder 5
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19-22) (2'x 4' - 3'x 4') These show village life on the Zamboanga, and natives building outrigging…

  • Folder 5
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23) (33/5'x 4') Moro Jinta landing Zamboanga, Phillipine Islands.

  • Folder 5
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24) (3'x 4') Photograph of a Spanish fort, 16th century, Zamboanga, Phillipine Islands.

  • Folder 5
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25-32) (2'x 3' - 4'x 4') These photos are of native women, families, canoes, etc.

  • Folder 5
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33-37) (2'x 3' - 2'x 4') Photographs of the war, dead Japanese, a captured Japanese coastal gun, a…

  • Folder 5
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38) (3'x 9') Photograph of destruction along the Pasig River, Manila, Phillipine Islands. This…

  • Folder 5
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39) (3'x 9') Photograph of destruction near the waterfront, Manila, P.I. (shows bombed buildings and…

  • Folder 5
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40-65) (1'x 2' - 2'x 4') All of these photographs show public buildings and churches in Manila…

  • Folder 5
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66-67) (3'x 4') Views of the post office on the Pasig River in Manila, P.I. before and after the war…

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68-69) (3'x 4') Views of the Jones Bridge before and after WWII.

  • Folder 5
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Photographs U.S.S. Towner, Phillipine Islands, Solomon Islands, (1944-1946)

1-2) (3'x 4') Views of the Cathedral Church in Manila, before and after bombing.

  • Folder 6
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3-4) (3'x 4') Views of the Legislative Building before and after WWII bombing.

  • Folder 6
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5-6) (3'x 4') Views of Pier Seven before and after bombing. (sunken ships in the water beside the…

  • Folder 6
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7-9) (2'x 2', and two 3'x 4') Views of Escalta Street, Manila before and after bombing.

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10-46) (1'x 2' - 3'x 4') Photographs of various buildings in Manila which were destroyed, or damaged…

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47-52) (31/3'x 4') Photograph of the "Jap Surrender Group" in Manila City Hall, Aug. 2, 1945, Major…

  • Folder 6
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53) (4'x 5') Photograph of a Spanish church.

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54-61) (2'x 4') Chief's beer party, Leyte, Phillipine Islands July 1945.

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62) (4'x 5') Bougaineville, Solomon Islands. (two native women)

  • Folder 6
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Photographs, U.S.S. Towner Japan (1944-1946)

1-10) (2'x 3' - 2'x 4') Photographs taken in and around Yokohama, Japan; includes theatres, Japanese…

  • Folder 7
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11-30) (1'x 2'- 2'x 3') These photographs were all taken in Tokio, Japan and include many photos of…

  • Folder 7
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31-57) (2'x 3' - 3'x 3') All these photographs were taken in Sapporo, Hokkaido; includes many street…

  • Folder 7
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58-66) (2'x 3' - 3'x 3') All these photographs were taken in Otaru, Hokkaido.

  • Folder 7
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67-75) (3'x 4') Photographs of the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, September 2, 1945…

  • Folder 7
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Photographs, U.S.S. Towner China (1944-1946)

1) (7'x 10') Temple at Peking, China.

  • Folder 8
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2) (3'x 10') Photograph of a beach at Loa Shan, China.

  • Folder 8
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3) (3'x 10') Covered walls of summer palace Peking, China.

  • Folder 8
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4) (7'x 10') Temple at Soochow, China. (hand colored)

  • Folder 8
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5) (3'x 10') Pacific Ocean Custom House, Tsingtao, China.

  • Folder 8
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6-9) (2'x 3'- 2'x 3') German Cathedral, Tsingtao, China.

  • Folder 8
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10-12) (2'x 3') Sampan, coolies on dock; dock at Tsingtao, China.

  • Folder 8
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13-14) (2'x 4') Photograph of the entrance to a shrine, and Chinese junks.

  • Folder 8
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15-19) (2'x 3' - 2'x 4') Photographs of marketplace activity in Peking, China.

  • Folder 8
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20-22) (2'x 3') Photographs of clothes washing, going to the market and "chow".

  • Folder 8
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23-25) (2'x 3') Photographs of a chinese cart and grinding corn.

  • Folder 8
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26-29) (2'x 3') Photographs including a priest, sweetmeats vendor, sugar-coated crabapples on a…

  • Folder 8
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30-38) (2'x 3') Photographs of Tsingtao, China - bridges, temples, downtown, goatherders, etc.

  • Folder 8
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39-40) (2'x 3' - 3'x 5') Trees in blossom.

  • Folder 8
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41-48) (2'x 3' - 3'x 5') Scenes along Beach Road and Edgewater Beach Hotel.

  • Folder 8
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49-60) (2'x 3' - 3'x 5') Photographs of various buildings in Tsingtao, China including some of the…

  • Folder 8
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61-71) (1'x 2' - 4'x 5') Photographs of various shrines, temples, and pagodas in Tsingtao, China.

  • Folder 8
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72-75) (1'x 2' - 2'x 3') Downtown Tsingtao, China.

  • Folder 8
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76-78) (2'x 3') Photographs of the hardware market, street vendors, and the basket market.

  • Folder 8
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79-81) (2'x 3') Photographs of a rickshaw, the second-hand (junk) market, and water carriers.

  • Folder 8
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82-84) (2'x 3') Photographs of Japanese, the dock, the baseball stadium with military trucks.

  • Folder 8
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85) (2'x 3') Photographs of a marine on a Chinese horse.

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86) (7'x 10') Chiefs party at the Ying Shi Restaurant Tsingtao, China. November 4, 1945.

  • Folder 8
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Photographs, U.S. Towner, New Georgia Islands, Russell Islands (1944-1946)

1-17) (3'x 10') All of these are photographs of natives of New Georgia Islands. Most of the…

  • Folder 9
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18-21) (3'x 4') Native women in the villages of Bici, Moko and Lona, Russell Islands.

  • Folder 9
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22-29) (3'x 4') Family groups; mainly women and children in the villages of Moko, Karamula and Bici…

  • Folder 9
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30-33) (3'x 4') Photographs of the mail boat, merchant ammunition ship, and the U.S.S. Towner all…

  • Folder 9
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34-37) (3'x 4') The officer's club at Banica, Russell Islands.

  • Folder 9
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38-41) (3'x 4') Photographs of the merchant ship loading cargo, the mess hall and outside movie area…

  • Folder 9
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42-43) (3'x 4') Photographs of the flag raising and a sailboat on Ranard Sound, Russell Islands.

  • Folder 9
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44-53) (3'x 4') Various scenic views in Banica, Russell Islands.

  • Folder 9
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54-62) (3'x 4') Various buildings, both native and military on Moko, the Russell Islands.

  • Folder 9
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63-66) (3'x 4') Natives of Karamula, Russell Islands.

  • Folder 9
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67-77) (3'x 4') Photographs of groups of natives with service men (holding pineapples, guitars, a…

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78-82) (3'x 4') Photographs of the chief of Bici, his home, son, native chapel, etc., Russell…

  • Folder 9
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Photographs, U.S.S. Towner, Hawaiian Islands (1944-1946)

1-2) (2'x 4') A building in Honolulu; Diamond Head, Honolulu.

  • Folder 10
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3-4) (2'x 4') A building with army trucks out front on Honolulu; scenic view across the water at…

  • Folder 10
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5-7) (2'x 4') Photograph of the King Kameameha statue, an official building, and the Alopha Tower…

  • Folder 10
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8-10) (2'x 4') Photographs of a hula dancer, boys fishing off a stone bridge, and a road flanked by…

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11-16) (2'x 4') Hula girls performing at various occasions - Honolulu.

  • Folder 10
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17-22) (3'x 3') Photographs of a hotel, railway station, Y.M.C.A., Smythe memorial, etc.

  • Folder 10
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23-28) (2'x 4' - 3'x 3') Unidentified buildings in Honolulu, the Y.M.C.A., and the Dole Pineapple…

  • Folder 10
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29-34) (2'x 4') Views of Honolulu both at a distance and close-up.

  • Folder 10
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35-36) (2'x 4') Forest Lawn Memorial Park monument, Honolulu; Aloha Tower seen from across the water…

  • Folder 10
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37-38) (2'x 4') Diamond Head from Such Hole and Waikiki, Honolulu Hawaii Islands.

  • Folder 10
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39-40) (2'x 4') Views along the coastline of Honolulu.

  • Folder 10
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41-44) (2'x 4') Waikiki beach with sunbathers.

  • Folder 10
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45-46) (2'x 4') Honolulu docks, Aloha tower to the left; the beach off Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii…

  • Folder 10
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47-48) (2'x 4') Photograph of a penguin farm, Honolulu; Ali Wai Basin, Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands.

  • Folder 10
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49-52) (2'x 4') Photographs of a thatched house, farmers in a rice paddy; grinding corn; working…

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53-64) (2'x 4') All scenic views of Oahu, H.I. (identified on the backs)

  • Folder 10
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65) (2'x 4') Photograph of a curio shop on Oahu.

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66-67) (2'x 4') Rice farmer's home, Oahu; Amelia Earhart 1935, Oahu, H.I.

  • Folder 10
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68-69) (2'x 4') Photograph of the beach front on Oahu, H.I.

  • Folder 10
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