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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Dear Betty Lou: 1943

Dear Betty Lou: 1943

July 1943. "Greenville, South Carolina. Air Service Command. Writing a letter home." Photo by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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Police that cigarette butt, Soldier !

No ashtrays in the barracks then or now.

Dear John

Later he would receive a letter from his best girl with the above salutation. He was totally devastated until a buddy told him "please don't carry on this way, your name isn't John".

That gal back home

Little does the young man realize, but his best gal back home whom he's been going steady with since ninth grade has already fallen into the arms of his best friend, Jody. Due to the wartime slowness of the postal system, he won't get the "Dear John" letter for at least another week.

Given One's Druthers

Still a whole lot better than moving through Sicily at the time.

Eversharp Skyline

That pen is an Eversharp Skyline, one of the most popular fountain pen models of the 1940's. It was designed by Henry Dreyfuss, the same guy who designed various classic American products like the 500 desk phone and the Trimline phone, the Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, the 1939 Westclox Big Ben alarm clock, and other iconic stuff. The pen has a pretty distinctive tapered dome shape to the cap that you can spot a mile away.

My Uncle Buck's outfit

In 1943 when I was four years old I went with my parents to Greenville, SC to see Uncle Buck before he shipped out to the Pacific. My mother told me much later that they knew several boys who had been killed and buried out there and were concerned they'd never see him again. He was stationed on Guam in support of the B-29s.

Re: Stylish fountain pen

is an Eversharp Skyline manufactured by Wahl-Eversharp. A great example of Mid-Century modernism/streamlining. I have quite a collection, and they are great writers as they utilize the Wahl nib design that had been around for quite some time.

Boots not shined,

cigarette butt on the deck. Drop and give me 25 soldier.


This was in a wooded area adjacent to the Greenville Municipal Airport. The Air Service Command area was set up to give different aviation support units training on living and working in rough forward, remote and unimproved areas overseas. It was administered to and supported by the 35th Sub-Depot Squadron at the nearby Greenville Army Air Base.


He looks like that young private in every war movie who shows everybody a picture of his sweetheart back home and explains how they're getting married just as quick as they can. Even as the hearts of experienced moviegoers sink: No way you're making it home, kid.

I hope this young man came through the war safe and well; he has a strikingly sweet and open face.

New Arrival

Looks to me like this young man hasn't been there all that long. His sleeves are slick and he hasn't got sense enough not to grind out a cigarette on his barracks floor.

Stylish fountain pen

He looks like a young Gomer Pyle and I would bet that he is writing in cursive, a skill that seems to be disappearing.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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