A collection of four photo albums, three panoramic photographs, and other material associated with the service of Warren I. Johnson of Northampton, Pennsylvania in the U.S. Army during World War II. Extensively annotated, the albums are accompanied by 16 issues of the mimeographed shipboard newspaper – Noah’s News (Noah News is Good News) – published aboard the SS Noah Webster during Johnson’s return voyage to the United States.
Johnson was working as an elementary school teacher in Columbia, Pennsylvania at the time of his enlistment on May 20, 1942. The first album, which contains 149 original photographs, corresponds to his basic training in Miami Beach, Florida; radio school in Scott Field, Illinois and in Orlando, Florida; assignments at Hammer Field, Squaw Valley, and Hamilton Field, California; and service with the 356th Fighter Group in Tonopah, Nevada and Santa Rosa, California in the spring of 1943. The second album houses 67 photographs taken at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts and Camp Davis in North Carolina and a color rendering of Flick-Flak, a cartoon mascot designed by Walt Disney that was adopted by the 247th AAA (SL) Battalion.
In September 1944, Johnson attended infantry school at Fort Benning, Georgia, which is extensively shown in the third album. There are 97 original photographs and several acquired images in this album. It also covers his service in England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany beginning in December 1944. Of particular interest are the seven photographs from Johnson’s assignment guarding political prisoners at the internment camp in Schwarzenborn, Germany. The final album, which includes 64 original photographs, covers the remainder of Johnson’s service, from October 1945 to February 1946. It opens with images from General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s visit to Seventh Army Headquarters in Heidelberg and also shows scenes of the German countryside, the SS Noah Webster at the docks in Bremerhaven, and the evacuation of a seriously ill solder off Plymouth, England.
The albums are accompanied by three panoramic photographs: a printed 42” x 10 ½” image of Camp Davis in North Carolina; a 23” x 8” portrait of Class 73, 2nd Platoon – 19th Battery at Camp Davis on September 27, 1943; and a 40” x 8” portrait of the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Officer’s Candidate School, Course No. 73 at Camp Davis on September 30, 1943. All the men pictured in the second image are identified on the verso, while those in the 19th Battery are identified on the recto of the third. All three photographs were rolled for storage. Also present here is a spent anti-aircraft shell label July 1942 and a Souvenir Edition of Noah’s News, which corresponds with the aforementioned shipboard newspaper.
The photographs are tipped or pasted to the black paper leaves and labeled by hand in white ink below the image. Many of the earlier photographs are additionally labeled on the verso. They vary in size from 2” x 2 ¾” to 8” x 10” with most measuring 4 ½” x 3 ¼”. A very small number of photographs appear to be missing. The bindings of the last three albums are loose, particularly the second album, which is partially disbound. However, the images are clean and neatly organized, offering a unique glimpse at the American GI experience during the Second World War. Item #73706