Nancy Harkness Collection of World War I Photograph Albums
The Nancy Harkness Collection is comprised of three albums of World War I photographs, circa 1914-1919. Together the albums contain five hundred sixty (560) black-and-white photographs and one (1) piece of paper ephemera with handwritten captions. The photos center primarily around American air squadrons stationed along the French-German border, while also including a number of images of enemy aircraft, war scenes, and views of European cities. Photos include American servicemen and some women staff; aviators with their aircraft, numerous crashes, aerial reconnaissance photos, and views of airdromes; events such as a decoration ceremony, a visit by the Prince of Wales to troops, and the arrival of various occupation forces in post-war Germany. A number of the images appear to be copy prints and souvenir photos, which were collected by servicemen abroad. Many of these images are battle scenes and German images from the war prior to American entry, as well as shots of significant troop and prisoner movement at the end of the war, and notable people such as Kaiser Wilhelm, Crown Prince Wilhelm, the Prince of Wales, and various German and American aces. Locations include Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Monaco, and Russia.
The albums represent a wide range of the warcraft and aircraft used in the war, including planes such as Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5, Caproni, Sopwith Camel, Halberstadt, SPAD, Breguet, Albatros, Bristol, Hannover, Handley Page, Farman, Salmson, Fokker, and Roland. Shots include aviators with their aircraft, planes on the ground and in flight, crashes, and details of markings and squadron insignia.
The original owner(s) and/or creator(s) of the albums is unknown, but most likely a member of the United States Army Air Service, possibly an aviator involved in reconnaissance photography. Several captions of images depicting the post-war occupation of the palace in Sinzig suggest that the albums' creator was part of the Air Service IV Corps stationed there. This person may also have been stationed at either Koblenz or Trier after the war with one of the Aero Squadrons.
Please note that some of the albums in this collection contain graphic images of wartime casualties. The captions also make use of derogatory terms for German and French people.