Hardcover. Oblong folio. Measuring 13" x 10". String-tied black cloth over stiff paper boards with handwritten titles on the front board. Contains 537 sepia-toned or black and white silver gelatin photographs measuring between 1" x 1" and 8" x 10" with captions. Good only album with deatched but present pages, tears and rubbing, with very good or better photographs with some tears and curling.
A photo album compiled by Captain Harry T. Lewis, Jr. who served in the Signal Corps before and during World War I. This album is hand-titled “Photographs Album #3” and contains both photographs and real photo postcards that cover his life and service in the corps and as a pilot in its air unit. The album is well-captioned but not assembled in chronological order and jumps around between his pre-war service and the war years. Lewis was stationed at the Signal Corps laboratory in Washington. He explains in one longer passage, “Signal Corps Laboratory, 1710 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC – On duty as Corporal, Sergeant, and 1st Lieutenant of Signal Corps USA from January 30, 1914 to June 16 1917 – from November 1917 to March 1919 I commanded as Captain, Signal Corps, the enlisted men on duty here – and elsewhere in Washington, DC." Photos from his time show Washington military parades, a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, and the White House, including a large format image of the White House from the top of the Washington Monument. Other large images show the factory floor of the laboratory and Lewis at his desk with a caption that reads, “in pre-war days I did not wear my uniforms, only on occasions of parade, etc.”
Along with Washington he was stationed at numerous bases throughout the U.S. including Hawaii, San Diego, Kansas, and Arizona, as well as bases on the East Coast. While stationed in Kansas in 1917 he trained at an officer’s training camp at Fort Leavenworth. The album continues with images of his time on the Hawaiian Islands with Field Company E followed by a stint in San Francisco and San Diego. While in San Diego he flew a plane over the city and the harbor writing, “while I was on furlough in San Diego, Cal January 1916 … I received permission from C.O. Aviation Field, San Diego to accompany Sergnt. Acher on a flight over S.D. City harbor and four miles over the Pacific Ocean.” These are accompanied by images of the aircraft and aerial photographs from the trip. Lewis features portrait images of fellow soldiers, one of whom was his half-brother, and captions the photos with personal information and rank. Towards the end of the album a section is dedicated to a May 1918 Red Cross parade in Washington, DC which features a shot of President Wilson walking in the parade. This is followed by a February 1919 parade to welcome the troops home from Europe. One photo dated September 19, 1918 features men on a truck waving their hats and reads, “boys of the fighting Seventeenth homeward bound.”
The album documents key advances in the technology systems of the corps itself including its new Aeronautical Division, radiotelephones, and advancements in radar. Men are seen learning their hand signals as well as working with new equipment. One of these images is captioned, “the first Signal Corps Radio tractor set – built at Signal Corps Lab”; another shows men in a field and is captioned, “wireless in action.” Additionally included are large portraits of Major General Adolphus Greely and Brigadier General George P. Scriven. Scriven was chief signal corps officer of the Army between 1912 and 1917. Greely became the Chief Officer of the Signal Corps and had previously headed an infamous polar expedition, the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition in 1881. As head of the Pacific Division of the Army he headed the relief efforts in 1906 following the San Francisco earthquake.
An extensive and fascinating collection of military and family images documenting the life and career of a member of the Signal Corps around World War I.