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  • African-American Photographica]: [World War II]

    Published by Washington Photo Co., Washington, D.C., 1942

    Seller: William Reese Company - Americana, New Haven, CT, U.S.A.
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    Association Member: ABAA ILAB SNEAB

    Seller Rating: 4-star rating

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    Panoramic photograph, 32 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches. Black-and-white photograph with captions printed below the image. Mild toning and fading. Three one-inch tears and two three- inch creases starting to split, not affecting image); moderate insect damage to upper left and rear (where rolled photo had been exposed); several small holes and two small rust stains, not affecting image. Still, good. A panoramic photo of one of the first African- American training units formed at Camp Lee (now Fort Lee), Virginia in late 1941. The recruits are divided by platoon and accompanied by their predominantly white officers, with names of all printed below. More than two hundred trainees are shown and named. The 9th Quartermaster Training Regiment was the first African-American training unit to form at Camp Lee in late 1941, just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The soldiers in this photograph likely entered the army in early 1942, and were nearing the end of their training when the image was taken. They soon would be deployed overseas or around the United States, working to store, transport, and distribute food, fuel, clothing, and ammunition necessary to supply the army's combat divisions. Camp Lee was established during World War I as a training site, and during World War II was expanded to provide training for quartermasters and related support specialists. Although some black soldiers saw combat during World War II, the vast majority were assigned to all-black quartermaster and engineer units, providing logistical support and distributing supplies and ammunition to troops around the world. President Truman finally desegregated the armed forces in 1948 with Executive Order 9981, and the last all-black unit was disbanded in 1954. African-American World War II Army panoramas are scarce in the marketplace.

  • Seller image for 604th ORDNANCE AMMO. CO. NUGOLA, ITALY AUGUST 1945 [wrapper title] for sale by William Reese Company - Americana

    African-American Photographica]: [World War II]

    Published by Edward D. Biggerstaff, Jr., [N.p., 1945

    Seller: William Reese Company - Americana, New Haven, CT, U.S.A.
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    Association Member: ABAA ILAB SNEAB

    Seller Rating: 4-star rating

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    Seventeen sepia-toned photographs, each with captioned tissue guard. Oblong 16mo. Original textured wrappers, title printed in dark blue on front wrapper. Minor edge and corner wear, front joint creased. Fore-edge of photographs a bit curled, but clean. Very good. Pocket-sized photograph album commemorating the members of the 604th Ordnance Ammunition Company, a unit of African-American soldiers who served as battle support in Italy during World War II. A small line of text on the rear wrapper reads: "Photographs by 1st Lt. E.D. Biggerstaff, Jr." Edward D. Biggerstaff, Jr. was the commanding officer of the 604th Ordnance Ammo. Company, evidenced by his photograph in the album; he is also pictured with the other white company officers in a separate photograph. The album opens with a photograph of the entrance to the company's "Bivouac Area" and an image of the Villa Traxler in Nugola, Italy, which is captioned as "Occupied by 604th Ordnance Ammunition Company." Then, following the images of Biggerstaff and the senior officers, the album features a series of photographs depicting the African-American junior or non-commissioned officers and personnel, beginning with First Sergeant Leroy Crosby. After Crosby's photograph, the album includes group photographs of Crosby with his other five staff sergeants; the company headquarters personnel; the depot office personnel (gathered around a small cannon); kitchen staff; the motor pool (with a separate photograph of their vehicles); separate group pictures of the first, second, and third magazine platoons; the service and supply section; the guard mount; and a photograph of the remaining members of the company who did not appear in the other images. Especially useful in this album are the captioned tissue guards before each photograph, which identify each soldier by name and rank. The album was likely made by or at the behest of commanding officer Edward D. Biggerstaff in an unknown quantity. It appears to be quite rare, as we can locate no other copies in OCLC, auction records, or the trade.