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Marvin W. Spafford First World War photograph collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2019-103-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains 26 framed black and white photographs taken by the United States Army Signal Corps in Europe during the First World War. The photographs were collected by Marvin W. Spafford, who served with the Signal Corps but did not take the photos, and include official Signal Corps descriptions, though some are missing. Also included in the collection is one magazine, OC Home, dated May 2014 with an article about the collection on page 22. The collection was framed by the donor and her husband Jack Spafford, Marvin Spafford's son, and displayed in their home.

Added October 21, 2019: nine more images, not in frames.

The descriptions have been retyped by Spafford's son and are included on the outside of the frame due to fading of the original labels.

The article in OC Home also includes additional photographs not included in the framed collection.

Keywords contained within the descriptions, and seen in the photographs, include:

  • President Poinmeare (French)
  • General John J. Pershing
  • General Weibel (French)
  • General de Terge (French)
  • Corporal A.H. Hanson (S.C. photographer)
  • General C.H. Cole (Charles H. Cole)
  • Captain Le Meitous (French)
  • Lieutenant J.C. Leggat
  • Lieutenant R.C. Smith
  • Lieutenant A. W. MacCauley
  • Lieutenant H. Evein (French)
  • Sergeant First Class C. Jackson (S.C. photographer)
  • Sergeant J.J. Marchsll ([Marchall?] S.C. photographer)
  • Sergeant Meseioni (S.C. photographer)
  • Lieutenant Nat L. Dewell (S.C. photographer)
  • Corporal R.H. Ingleston (S.C. photographer)
  • Sergeant First Class John M. Marshal
  • E.A. Brotherhood (S.C. photographer)
  • Ann Davis, New Jersey (YMCA)
  • Elisabeth Barker, New York (YMCA
  • Sergeant G.H. Shotwell (S.C. photographer)
  • Private J.W. Beach (S.C. photographer)
  • Major General James J. Harbord
  • Lieutenand General E. Evans
  • Sergeant Major J.D. Hall
  • Sergeant P.J. O'Brian
  • Lieutenant E.N. Jackson (S.C. photographer)
  • Private J.E. Gibbons (S.C. photographer)
  • Major General W. Ironsides (British)

  • Chaumont, France
  • Montzéville, Meuse, France
  • Juvigny, France
  • St. Baussin, France
  • Cantigny Eroyes, France
  • Woëvre, Lorraine, France
  • Wadonville, France (Wadonville en Woëvre)
  • Dancourt, France (Doncourt-aux-Templiers)
  • St. Milaire, France (Saint-Hilaire-en-Woëvre)
  • Herbeuville, France
  • Epieds, France
  • Flirey, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
  • Chaussers, France
  • Gondrecourt-le-Château, France
  • Neufchâteau, France
  • Laronville, France
  • St. Jacques, France
  • St. Mihiel, France
  • Piave Front (frontline on the Piave River, near Varago, Italy)
  • Vosges (French mountain range)
  • Coblenz, Germany (Koblenz)
  • Rhine River
  • Ehrenbreitstein fortress
  • “Bridge of Boats” (ponton bridge on the Rhine at Coblenz, built in 1819)
  • Villers, France
  • Chatêau Thierry, France
  • Grandpré, France
  • Belgium
  • Monthauer, Germany
  • Nesles, France
  • Wirges, Germany
  • Toul, France
  • Courborn, France
  • Mt. Vernen
  • Brest, France
  • Beauvardes, France
  • Verst 455, Russia
  • Bassens Docks, Bordeaux, France
  • Argonne Forest
  • Abri du Cruchet, Meuse, France
  • St. Nazaire, France
  • Marne River
  • Mezy Mezy, France
  • Vologda Railway, Russia
  • Archangel, Russia (Arkhangelsk)

  • 129th Infantry, 33rd Division
  • Company C, 107th Field Signal Battalion
  • 1st Division
  • 52nd Infantry Brigade
  • 104th Infantry
  • 524th Engineers
  • 168th Infantry, 42nd Division
  • 1st Corps School (Gondrecourt, France)
  • 26th Division
  • 9th Infantry, 2nd Division
  • 35th Division
  • 32nd Division
  • Company A, 7th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 312th Machine Gun Company, 78th Division
  • 30th Division
  • 1st Engineers, 1st Division
  • 28th Division
  • 167th Infantry, 42nd Division
  • Company A and Company B, 210th Engineers
  • 302nd Field Signal Battalion, 77th Division
  • Company A, 6th Engineers, 3rd Division
  • Company M, 339th US Infantry

General Notes: Artillery, snow, destruction of buildings, mortars, military decorations, prisoners, mosquito masks, American Army of Occupation in Germany, YMCA.


  • Creation: 1918 January - December 24

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

Marvin W. Spafford was born in 1895 in Chicago, Illinois and worked as a photojournalist for the Chicago Tribune. He married a telephone operator named Sara Marie Mongan and after served with the United States Army Signal Corps in Europe during the First World War. After the war, he and Sara moved to California with their two sons where he worked for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and taught at Universal Studios. He was killed while on assignment in Anaheim by a train at a blind crossing in 1928.


2 Linear Feet (26 objects, 1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection contains 26 framed black and white photographs taken by the United States Army Signal Corps in Europe during the First World War, collected by Marvin W. Spafford of the Signal Corps.


This collection is in no particular order. Photographs will be on display on a rotating basis.

Physical Location

Some of the items in this collection are on display in the Center for American War Letters Archives Reading Room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Spafford.

Condition Description

Some descriptions have faded and most have been retyped by Spafford's son and added to the frame.

Finding Aid for the Marvin W. Spafford First World War photograph collection
Andrew Harman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives, Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States