Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941. Courtland Madison, owner and compiler.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.
Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.

Historical and Pictorial Review, 184th Field Artillery, Army of the United States, Fort Custer, Michigan, 1941.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Army and Navy Pub. Co., 1941. 4to (12.25” x 9”), red cloth, cover title reading “184th Field Artillery, Fort Custer, 1941.” [iv], 69, [2], [12] pp. Numerous illus., extra-illustrated with 52 original photographs affixed to 6 leaves at the rear. Courtland Madison’s 1946 Illinois Chauffeur’s license (2.25” x 3.75”) laid in, along with souvenir from the cabaret Tabarin, located on 36 Rue Victor-Massé E in Paris, illustrated with numerous photographic images of topless dancers.

A rare commemorative volume originally owned by one Courtland Madison, a private during World War II in the all-black 184th Battalion, with the addition of fifty-two original photos, many of which picture the owner’s fellow soldiers.

This work begins with a historical sketch of the 184th—tracing it back to the Hannibal Guards, which was formed in Chicago in the 1870s. In the ensuing decades the unit became the Cadets, then the “Old Sixteenth,” and finally the segregated Ninth Battalion, which formed in 1890 “at a meeting of the leading citizens of Chicago.” In 1895, the Battalion was incorporated into the National Guard. With the outbreak of the 1898 Spanish-American War, the Ninth was expanded into the Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry and deployed in Cuba, and later in France during World War One. In 1940—during World War II—the regiment was converted to artillery and designated the 184th, seeing combat in France.

The history of the battalion includes illustrations of the 184th in action while serving with the 2nd Army, which was instrumental in capturing Wesel, a town on the Rhine. The subjects pictured include men in “French circle reading”; men manning 75mm and 155mm guns; the conduct of war exercises in Louisiana; soldiers in their barracks and the infirmary; and men on the base at rest and play at Fort Custer in Michigan and Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. Also included is a full list of personnel with a head-shot of each man. Courtland Madison appears on page 56: third row down, fifth from the left.

The tipped-in photos include multiple shots of Madison dressed in uniform as well as both informal and professional shots of some of his fellow black soldiers—many apparently taken in France (perhaps after the end of the war). Some of the images are quite striking, showing the black servicemen holding pistols and wearing knives; in one, a private poses defensively with a bottle of champagne poised atop a helmet at his feet, seemingly guarding his liquor. Candid shots of the men at their army base in the States show them enjoying themselves in their downtime, with their pitched tents and barracks often in the background. Here the men are pictured in groups smiling and laughing; jokingly pointing guns at each other and brandishing hatchets; playing the mandolin; playing catch; smoking pipes, and so on. Several non-military images appear to capture Madison’s family and friends, and include various well-dressed women. The subject in one photo is a French woman, who is identified as Delphine. Other images show African Americans in city environs. One image of a black serviceman is inscribed, “With love Ishmael.”

While slavery was abolished in 1865, it would take until the mid-twentieth century for the U.S. Army and American society more broadly to be desegregated. Although President Harry Truman’s Executive Order 9981 of 1948 decreed an end to discrimination on the basis of race in America’s Armed Forces, it was only in 1960 that the Marine Corps finally abolished segregated units.

An intimate document and excellent visual record of an all-black segregated Battalion that saw combat in World War II.

OCLC locates four copies, at NYPL, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Wayne State, and U.S. Army War College.

CONDITION: Good, a little worn, loss to head-cap, front-hinge cracked but holding, a few images blurry, several images removed from their mounts.

Item #5687

Price: $3,750.00

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