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Enlistees in uniform, photographed
April 19, 2010 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find photos (portraits) of veterans in uniform, taken during their enlistment? Is this the kind of thing that's kept on file in military records?

Specifically I am looking for a properly-sourced photo of one of the African American enlistees involved in the Port Chicago mutiny in 1944. I have a list of names of people I could search for, but I'm not sure where or how to go about it. Are there photos like that available with individual service records or something? Is this something I could order through the National Archives?

(I have found a couple but they aren't sourced, and I need one for a project that requires obtaining use permission. Google images is not proving terrifically useful.)
posted by liketitanic to Society & Culture (8 answers total)
 
Not sure if they did this regularly in the 40s, but there are often basic training yearbooks, if you know when and where he did his basic. This site might be able to help you find one.
posted by dilettante at 3:07 PM on April 19, 2010


On second glance, that site might not be so much use. Sorry 'bout that.
posted by dilettante at 3:08 PM on April 19, 2010


I would start with the Naval History and Heritage Command.
posted by bgrebs at 4:13 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Might be a long shot, but a lot of state and local archives started collecting pictures and interviews with WWII vets when the whole Saving Private Ryan and the Greatest Generation thing was going on. I know my state (NC) concentrates on vets from that state.

Looking at this page, it looks like these guys were from all over the place. Might be worth a try trying some of their hometown/home state archives or historical societies. I'm assuming you already saw the page I just linked to. Did you try to contact whoever does the site to see if those photos are sourced?

All the oral histories Ambrose did for his D-Day book (includes Navy guys) are at the Eisenhower Center (Louisiana), next to the National Archives, that's probably the largest repository of WWII stuff having to do with the U.S. Probably be worth checking with them.

National Archives info on ordering military service records here. I don't know if those files have photos. If you're not next-of-kin it seems like the info you can get is limited.
posted by marxchivist at 4:24 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can search Flickr. People often scan historical photos and label them (e.g. this one I put up, which has been found by various history websites). I suspect the sourcing wouldn't be as good as you need, but possibly the person who scanned a photo could point you in the right direction.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:36 PM on April 19, 2010


I'm not aware of any procedure of taking photographs upon enlistment. I know they took boot camp class photos because I have one of a great-uncle and his training company. Your best bet might well be trying to contact the families of the men you're looking for. They could have personal copies and if you're nice and polite about it, give you the permission to use them.

Archives II would be the place to begin your investigation if you want to try the Archives. They have archivists on staff who would answer these types of questions, I think they have phone numbers, but they at least have emails (though it might take a couple days to get a response).
posted by Atreides at 5:26 PM on April 19, 2010


I'm assuming you already saw the page I just linked to. Did you try to contact whoever does the site to see if those photos are sourced?

Yes, I did shoot them an email. The problem is the sourcing. The images are everywhere, but without source details.
posted by liketitanic at 5:56 PM on April 19, 2010


Check your memail, please.
posted by Mimzy at 7:30 PM on April 19, 2010


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