Archive of 155 Photographs from a U.S. Army Soldier Based in Italy and Africa During World War II [Photographs, Vernacular, WWII]

By: Neely, Howard and Ellsworth

Price: $200.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very Good


This collection includes 155 black and white photographs, of which all but three are either military-related or snapshots while taken off-duty while stationed overseas. In addition, there is a complete set of ten tourist images of Venice and its original wrapper. With some variation, most of the photographs measure 6.3 by 9 cm or 11.5 by 7 cm. Overall, the photos are in very good condition. A few have black paper remnants on the verso from having been removed from albums, a few have tape residue on the front or back corners. There are some creases and chips here and there. The photos are housed in a 1970s-looking, imitation leather box that holds four pull-out photo trays. The box measures 14.5 by 9.5 by 9.5 by 29.5 cm and is in very good condition with a couple of small cracks in the faux leather on the lid hinge. The archive consists of photographs taken by, or of Pvt. Howard Neely (Army serial number 36460322).1 Howard enlisted in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1943, and while his service records state “no branch assignment,” he could have been part of the 891st Signal Co., which is featured in a couple of the photographs. Howard appears to have been stationed primarily in Italy – with most images from Rome, Naples, and Pisa – and Tunis, Tunisia, in 1944-45. Many of the snapshots are of Neely and his comrades hanging out or working, touring Rome, images of bombed buildings, and some of the locals. There are several shots of – and with – “my buddy,” Ted Chagin or Cleveland, Ohio (Army serial no. 35285433);2 a touching photo of four kids, captioned on the back “Some Italian children. Thank God that Marilyn doesn’t have to live like this;” shirtless men – and a partially nude image of two men – enjoying the sun on what looks to be the roof of the building his Company was occupying; six photos with “Passed by US Army Examiner” stamps on the versos including dramatic images of war ruins, a river scene, Red Cross office, and Neely and his fellow soldiers; and an excellent image of Howard Neely in Pisa next to some war ruins with the hand-painted warning “THIS BLOCK IS MINED and TRAPPED!! KEEP OUT.” There are six images (two are duplicates) of Howard and other soldiers posed in front of a wall with the graffitied message “Urrah for Badoglio [an Italian general who became the Prime Minister of Italy after the fall of Mussolini] and allies that from slavery did free us. Death to Germans ronghs [?] murderes. Mussolini must be Crucifix: so we want,” under which is written, “The Citizens of Naples welcome the armies of liberty.” There are a handful of photographs from Tunisia in 1944, including a shot of Italian POWs, the Acropolium of Carthage, and ancient ruins of Carthage. Seventy-six of the photographs have captions or names written on the front or back of the images. Some are simply first names, but many are more detailed: “Arthur Landy (New Orleans) / Taken in Africa 1944.” Also included is a 1943 postcard from the War department approving Howard Neely’s “dependency Benefits.” A few of the photos are probably related to Howard’s brother, Ellsworth Neely (Army serial no. 20635882),3 including an image of the “Camp Beauregard / 32nd Division” sign. Ellsworth enlisted in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1940 for the infantry as a Private First Class from the National Guard. It appears he served in the Pacific theatre with the 32nd Infantry Division. Included is a telegraph to Mable Neely, Ellsworth’s mother, from the Adjutant General with a message that offers both anxiety and relief in a single sentence: “Deeply regret to inform you that your son Private First Class Ellsworth H Neely infantry was […] slightly wounded in action in Southwest Pacific…” (pause is mine). A wonderful collection of images of young men who gave their all in defense of Europe and America.

Title: Archive of 155 Photographs from a U.S. Army Soldier Based in Italy and Africa During World War II [Photographs, Vernacular, WWII]

Author Name: Neely, Howard and Ellsworth

Categories: Photography, Scrapbooks, Photo Albums, Photographs - Snapshots, Etc., Photographs - Photo Albums,

Publisher: Italy, Africa, 1944, 1945

Binding: Photographs

Book Condition: Very Good

Seller ID: 3468