Rare War Photos Now Available

In an old carrying case at the Washington Navy Yard, researchers recently found a photographic treasure from the Spanish-American War more than a century ago and the Philippine insurrection that followed.

The collection included rare photos of ships firing in Manila Bay and images of troops ashore at the onset of what would become a bloody campaign to occupy the Philippines.

“It’s timed out really well” to have the glass plate images available on line for the Memorial Day commemorations of all the nation’s wars, said Lisa Crunk, a researcher at the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Photo Archive.

The Spanish-American War find was part of a push by the Navy and all the services to sort through the backlog of material in their archives to make the military heritage information available on line to the public. The Navy collection can be seen here.

In the archives of the Air Force Academy, there’s a grainy photo of a 22-year-old 2nd Lt. James H. Doolittle doing a back flip in uniform near some tents at San Antonio’s Kelly Field in 1918.

The reason for the flip is unknown, but the photo captured the maverick spirit of the pioneer aviator that he was to imbue in the “Doolittle Raiders” for their legendary 1942 mission over Tokyo in World War II.

Doolittle donated his papers to the McDermott Library at the Air Force Academy and the images are available here.

The Library also features on line the “Genesis of Flight,” based on the Aeronautical History Collection of Col. Richard Gimbel with more than 10,000 aviation prints, engravings and other artifacts.

The material is available to the public but “our first mission really is to the cadets” of the Academy in going on line, said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Ruwell, the chief of Special Collections at the Academy.

For the 18-22 year olds, “the computer is their window on the world,” Ruwell said.

About the Author

Richard Sisk
Richard Sisk is a reporter for Military.com. He can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.
  • Alex Murphy

    The yanks never conquered the southern Philipines though and neither did the Spanish before them.

  • Crazyman

    Who cares……

  • Ziv

    Photos of ships in action are fairly rare for WWII. To see ones for the Spanish-American War? That is incredible. And can you imagine the life experience of those shellbacks?

    • Edward Cafarella

      I was thinking more of the cameras that were available at the time….there were no 35mm Nikons with interchangeable lenses then!

  • hibeam

    Rare War Bozos Now Available: Obama, Kerry, Hagel.

  • Richy

    Unfortunately my ignorance really hits here. But it was “REMEMBER THE MAINE” That started the Spanish American war right? I mean not the saying or rally cry but the fact that the Maine was sunk by a Spanish ship. Please let me know if I’m wrong about this. Great photos.

  • Doug

    I love seeing a comments section on any topic turn to ugly politics, regardless of how unrelated it is! That just warms my heart. -Satan

    • MAJ.D

      Glad I’m not the only one that’s sick of seeing the screed everywhere. Don’t worry, only two and a half years until the next election, and then we’ll at least have a fresh name in the complaints…sigh.

  • cddawgs

    Wasn’t sunk by a ship. She exploded at anchor in Cuba.

  • Bob

    I agree with Doug and MAJ.D… there’s way too much whining and nasty comments by antisocial people who think they have all the answers to everything and that their points of view are the only valid ones! Stop turning constructive and historical discoveries like these newly found photos into political and malicious rhetoric. I’m sick of it, too! The people who do this are just revealing their real personalities to the world — social misfits! Get a life!

  • HeavyArrow

    As a History major, this makes me happy.

  • cueball

    and thats how a real soldier jumps over barbed wire… backwards