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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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The Measure of a Man: 1917

The Measure of a Man: 1917

1917. "U.S. Army. Physical examination." Our second look at this young man's initiation into the Army. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

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The recruit isn't necessarily joining the cavalry, and the officer isn't necessarily a cavalryman. Lots of soldiers rode horses in those days, including any officer above the rank of captain in any branch.


Let me explain the boots and why you may have seen them still in use recently. I am a former (still in USAR) United States Army officer. I am a tanker. I also served in 3-8 Cavalry, Second Brigade, Third Armored Division. The boots are not really regulation. However, by a strict interpretation of the manual, AR 670-1, Wear and. Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, you can make them regulation. At least, you could make them regulation in the 1980s. These days, I have no idea. All the manual used to say about boots was "black toed and able to be shined." So, tankers and cavalrymen got some pretty exotic boots, often spending hundreds of dollars. I wore "tanker boots." I have included a link to what they look like:

Still in Service

A few months ago, I saw an army sergeant with a Cavalry shoulder patch, rows of battle ribbons and wearing boots and spurs. I'm guessing the boots and spurs are part of the US Cavalry Class A uniform.

Riding Spurs

Note that the examining officer is wearing riding spurs. I guess we can assume that the young man is being inducted into the cavalry!

That outfit ...

If there is a riding crop anywhere in the examining room, put on your clothes and head for the hills, boy!

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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