Skip to main content

Carl Karnig Mahakian brass shell trench art collection

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: 2015-143-s-r

Content Description

This collection consists of three pieces of trench art from World War One, including two brass vases made from 75mm shells by Pvt. A.F. (Alexander) Kruschke (1894-1976). One vase is etched with "souvenir de France World War to My Dear Sister Hulda," the other is crimped and embossed with "AEF" and the insignia for the National Guard of Kansas and Missouri, along with his name, Co. E. 139 INF, AEF, Best Wishes.

The third piece of trench art is a brass vase from Vietnam era created from a 105mm M-14 shell (howitzer) by artist Arthur Thomas Copeland. It is pounded into a tulip shape and is inscribed: VIET NAM 1966-67 May every friend who enters our home Share with us The true feeling of freedom: And for those who believe: Let God protect, And them that protest, See the light of the strensth (sic), For I was once weak God watch over my family Arthur Thomas Copeland USN Son of Mary J. Copeland


  • 1914 - 1967

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

This collection was purchased after the death of Colonel Carl Karnig Mahakian, United States Marine Corps. The history of trench art spans conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars to the present day. Trench art is any decorative item made by soldiers, prisoners of war, or civilians where the manufacture is directly linked to armed conflict or its consequences. Commonly used materials include decorated shell and bullet casings and items carved from wood and bone. Two vases were created by A.F. (Alexander) Kruschke (1894-1976) of Melvin, IL. He was a private who served with Company E, 139th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). They consisted of the U.S. Armed Forces, mostly the U.S. Army, that were sent to Europe in World War I to support the Allied cause. The third vase was created by Arthur Thomas Copeland, who served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam in 1966-1967, and is the son of Mary J. Copeland.


1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of three pieces of trench art, vases that were fashioned out of brass shells from World War One and Vietnam.

Condition Description

The brass is slightly discolored, brown, with some unintentional crimps and dents. The tops have slight chipping and/or cracks.

Finding Aid for the Carl Karnig Mahakian brass shell trench art collection
In Progress
Andrew Harman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries Repository

Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange 92866 USA US