AzAA Blog Post November 2021

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This month we feature a write-up from Kaitlin D’Amico, Processing Archivist at the Arizona State Library, Archives, & Public Records celebrating National Veterans & Military Family Month and the items the state library has regarding Arizona’s military history. As we have stated previously, there is so much of Arizona’s history housed at the State Archives and it has been a pleasure learning more about the wonder items housed at the archive. We thank Kaitlin for this amazing post about the items available for view to the public regarding Arizona’s military history and the wealth of information waiting for someone to discover at Arizona State Library, Archives, & Public Records.

Near the end of the year, we celebrate more holidays and spend time with our loved ones. It is a time to appreciate each other and our ability to be present with one another during the most trying of times. November is one month in which we try and be present with each other; however, that is not possible for everyone, especially those with family members and friends in the military. In November, we have the opportunity to appreciate veterans and their families during National Veterans & Military Family Month and celebrate several veteran and military holidays including, National Veterans Small Business Week, Marine Corps Birthday, Veterans Day, and Armistice Day. 

The Arizona State Archives, a division of the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records, serves as the official repository of the state’s permanent and historically valuable records. Based on this status, we receive many records relating to Arizona’s military history. From state agencies, like the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, Department of Veteran Services, and State Council of Defense, to individual organizations and projects, the State Archives holds many materials that document and celebrate the Armed Forces. 

Veterans Oral History Project

The Veterans Oral History Project housed at the Arizona State Archives is a collection of interviews created as a part of the Tempe Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In the early 1990s, students were asked to interview WWII/Korean War veterans for this project. After completion of the interviews and transcription, project leaders reached out to the Arizona State archives to house the collection. The Veterans Oral History Project consists of over thirty interviews of varying length, covering the lives of veterans and their spouses through the 20th century. The collection focuses on the LDS community and their involvement in the war effort. The interviews cover both frontline soldiers and reserves, as well as people on the home front.

Council on Abandoned Military Posts

Founded in 1966, Council on Abandoned Military Posts, or CAMP, focused on identifying, locating, preserving, and memorializing military installation units that no longer serve their original purpose. Over time, the organization evolved to focus on more than just the abandoned military posts, including soldiers’ lives and military customs. Due to this evolution, the organization changed its name in 1981 to the Council on America’s Military Past. The bulk of this collection consists of administrative records, Periodicals and Headquarters Heliograms, photographs, and maps that document the evolution of the organization’s interests over time and the internal workings of CAMP. 

In these images, we have the ruins of Fort Crittenden, “Standing Guard” which is a silhouetted soldier of the 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry standing guard at Fort Courage, “Moment of Relaxation” which shows soldiers from the 9th Division’s 3rd Battalion 39th Infantry relax on the steps of Fort Courage, and an underground passageway at Alcatraz Island. 

U.S.O. Register of Soldiers for Saigon

Founded during World War II, the United Service Organizations (USO) focused on providing entertainment programming to the United States Armed Forces. The USO used sign-in registers for soldiers that contained their contact information to track general attendance and interest. This register is from a military installation in Saigon during the Vietnam War. 

Governor Louis Cameron “L.C.” Hughes Tintype

Although not a governor of the State, Louis Cameron “L.C.” Hughes was the eleventh Governor of the Arizona Territory. An ardent supporter of the Women’s Suffrage and Temperance movements, Hughes was not a born politician. He spent his formative years as an indentured servant to a Calvinist farmer and served in Company A, 101st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and in Knapp’s Pittsburgh Battery during the Civil War. After his honorable discharge for medical reasons, he relocated to Arizona where he became heavily involved in politics and made powerful political enemies. President Cleveland eventually requested that Hughes be removed from office and officially resigned from his governorship in 1896.

This tintype which is dated to 1882 depicts Governor Hughes during his time in the military. This photo is incredibly deceptive as it appears that the tintype is rather large; however, it is barely larger than a standard Post-it note.

Arizona Capitol Museum Militaria

Although these records are not housed at the Arizona State Archives, the Arizona Capitol Museum maintains a small collection of Frank Luke, Jr.’s personal effects and a permanent exhibition entitled USS Arizona: Flagship of the Fleet.

In the images above (Courtesy Arizona Capitol Museum, Frank Luke Jr. Collection), the museum maintains Luke’s flying goggles and hand towel.For their permanent exhibition on the USS Arizona, the museum maintains a small artifact collection of physical objects, personal effects, photographs, presidential honors, and general ephemera from the ship itself as part of a salvage effort. The museum also displays the USS Arizona’s silver service which was donated to the ship by Arizonians in 1919. Images related to this exhibit can be found on the Arizona Memory Project’s USS Arizona Silver Service Collection page.

Published by Arizona Archives Alliance

The Arizona Archives Alliance is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Arizona's historical archives and their users, provides training to archivists and archive volunteers, and promotes the use of Arizona’s historical archives.

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