Brest, France: Thompson Illustragraph Co. of Petersburg, Va. 1919.
Unbound. Sepia-toned gelatin silver panoramic photograph. Approximately 35½” x 7”. Slight fading at the extremities, else about fine. A pencil annotation on the reverse reads, “L.L. Davies, 743 Treewood Ave.”
Not long after arriving in France, General Pershing determined that the American Expeditionary Force needed to publish a newspaper written by American soldiers for American soldiers. In November 1917, Lieutenant Guy T. Viskniskki, a press officer, censor, and former newspaperman, was asked to lead the project. He soon tracked down four enlisted men to work with him. The newspaper they produced, the *Stars & Stripes,* (named after a short-lived newspaper of the same name issued during the Civil War) was similar in format and content to many small-town papers of the day and included not just unclassified news, but also illustrations, cartoons, sports news and columns, letters to the editors, advertisements, etc. The first edition of 1,000 papers sold out immediately, and by the end of the war, when it was reaching over 500,000 readers, more than 150 soldiers were needed to publish the paper. Weekly publication began on February 8, 1918, and lasted less than a year-and-a-half, and ceased (at least for World War I) on June, 13, 1919, for a total of 71 issues. This photo was taken shortly before the soldiers disembarked for home; according to *The New York Times*, the ship carrying the entire staff arrived in Hoboken on July 12th.
Many *Stars and Stripes* men, including two of the original staffers, went on to important literary or journalism careers after the war. They included Harold Ross, who co-founded *The New Yorker* magazine; Stephen Early, future White House Press Secretary to President Franklin Roosevelt; Alexander Woollcott, a famed New York City drama critic, columnist at *The New Yorker,* the host of *The Town Crier* radio show, and a regular member of the Algonquin Round Table; beloved sportswriter Grantland Rice; the art director and illustrator, Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge; Mark Spencer Watson, who received the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for international correspondence; John T. Winterich, who became managing editor of *The Saturday Review of Literature*, and who wrote several excellent books on book collecting, columnist Franklin P. Adams, author Norman D. Hall, and many others.
The image depicts approximately 150 cheerful soldiers (and one dog), presumably the entire complement of the unit, with tents in the background. It seems very likely that most, or perhaps all, of the above notables are present in the picture. We believe we've found Ross (back row, right) and probably Woollcott and Rice (both back row, center). We suspect the others could also be found with some effort, but have yet to investigate further.
*OCLC* locates no copies. Apparently a portion of this panorama was pictured in *A Brief History of The Stars and Stripes, Official Newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces in France* by Harry L. Katz, (Washington, DC: Columbia Publishing Co., 1921; p. 41), but we are aware of no other physical copies. A scarce, and perhaps unique World War I panoramic photographic of an important and influential unit.