About Portraits of War

Greetings! My name is Brennan, a young archaeologist addicted to collecting antique and vintage photography.  My specialty is WWI and WWII photographic mediums, with an emphasis on color slides taken during WWII, real photo postcards depicting US soldiers, and intact collections of original 35mm and larger format negatives.  My WWI collection is dedicated specifically to photographs taken during or directly after the war, with a bulk of my collection being interior studio portraiture.  Archaeologist by day, military photography scholar by night; I enjoy helping with obscure research topics……… just ask!

This blog is dedicated to discussing the various aspects of interpreting military photography from the first half of the 20th century.  Mainly comprised of WWI and WWII photography, my collecting taste is based on aesthetic and historical merits. I collect a broad range of photographic formats ranging from early glass plate negatives to photographic prints, color slides, and B/W  nitrate negatives. This blog is dedicated to casual observations and brief descriptions accompanied by stunning examples of military photography throughout the twentieth century.  Enjoy!

A recent article about my search for an identified Marine from a photo album:


Want to see me on the Discovery Channel?  I’m the “young archaeologist” in the Stone Face portion of the episode.

What are People Saying About PortraitsofWar?

Updated 8/20/2016

87th Division Veteran Photos
Did you post these pictures? I’m asking because my dad has these pictures and is actually in two of the pictures. My dad is looking for his Army buddy that posted these and wanted to get in touch with him if possible!
Thanks for your help!
  Terry ******* (wishes to remain anonymous)

Updated 1/10/2016

As a Korean War Vet These are the best photos of that war that I have ever seen.

Thanks for showing them.



Updated 11/23/2015

Hi Brennan!
I just found your post on Lincoln Loper — he’s an ancestor of mine! He was my grandmother’s cousin, but I know about him mainly through the mentions made of him in a family newsletter that my great grandfather wrote. I’ve been publishing the newsletter one issue at a time over the past several years at my blog (which is otherwise just a photo diary) here: https://boomerang2.wordpress.com/. In case you’re interested, you can find most of what I know about Lincoln in this post here: https://boomerang2.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/warm-weather-continues-original-boomerang-for-december-22-1918/ — Back to your blog: what an *amazing* photo! I’m just curious: how do you know it’s of Lincoln (was it on the other side of the postcard)?

Thanks, thanks for your blog — I watched the part of the Discovery channel show that featured you — best wishes to you with your work!
— Martha

Updated 5/19/2015

“I chanced upon a photo on your site of 5 litter bearers of the 127th Regiment, one being my great uncle Emil Buckendahl. Would it be possible to obtain a clean image of it. I have a studio portrait of Emil in uniform to exchange, if you desire”

(Nephew discovers postcard of his battle-decorated uncle)

“Very interesting info!! I am John F Housman III from coal city, the soldier in this picture was of my grandfather who passed away when I was 16 years old, I would be interested in the info you have to share with the rest of my family. please email me at XXXXXX”

(Grandson finds WWII 3rd Armored Division Grandfather on PortraitsofWar)

“UNBELIEVABLE! Googling my grandfather THE PORTRAITS OF WAR popped up with the photos of my grandfather. I had no idea and was surprised and PROUD. Thank you for the surprise and recognition! Drew W”

(Grandson finds WWII 9th AAF Grandfather  on PortraitsofWar)

“Thank you for the photo of Aunt Ella. I have been researching my mother and two of her friends who graduated the same nursing school as Ella, but in 1948 as cadets. It wasn’t until recently that I became aware of Ella’s WWI service. Uncles Ted and Emil were both in France during the war. It is my understanding that that Ted and Ella met at the VFW after the war, but that is only from my mother’s memory. They lost one child in infancy. Aunt Ella was also the inspiration for another niece that graduated from Ravenswood Nursing School in Chicago in 1928.”

(Nephew finds his WWI aunt on PortraitsofWar)

“You’ve done it again – Robert Duffy was my grandfather! After being shot down over Le Minibus, he was held as a POW in Stalag Luft 3 for nine months before returning home when the war ended…………………..My family may be able to help in your quest for WWII and Korean War color pictures – I’ll go through what we have. In the meantime, none of us had ever seen this picture – thanks very much for posting!”

(Retired Air Force Grandson discovers Korean War slide of his grandfather on PortraitsofWar!)

“That is my grandfather! For what ever reason, I decided to so some research on my grandfather’s unit in the Air Force, 4 pages later, here I am looking at his photograph and the census record for him and my great aunts & uncles.”

(388th BG Grandson discovers photo of his grandfather)

“I was there, seen it, did it. Jack l. Jackson En2 – One more thing, I recall and have a picture of the Xmas tree on the Quarter Deck. I was not EN2, But a fireman on Chief’s Mess cooking at the time. Jack”

(Korean War Navy veteran recalls shots in my collection)

“Yes this is my father. He was a radioman on on a plane called Heavens Above in which he flew 25 missions over Germany .He also married my mother in London in 1943 .My older sister was born in London in 1945.my mother is still alive and is 92.I own this original picture and many more of my dad career in the USAF and Army Air Corps”

(Son discovers photo of father on PortraitsofWar)

“Dear Brennan,
I can’t thank you enough for your prompt and thorough response. In short order you solved a mystery that I’ve wondered about for years! Your dedication to the history of US veterans and willingness to help their descendants find answers deserves recognition.  Your efforts have earned my heartfelt gratitude. I do have a couple of photos of “Grampa” in his WWI uniform, but if you were to come across any I’d love to see them.
(Granddaughter learns a bit about her WWI grandfather)
Thank you so much for posting this! Al Pellegrini is my grandfather and somehow through Facebook this made its way to us. I am so sad to see these photos were sold but so happy to be able to see them!
(Granddaughter finds photos of her D-Day veteran grandfather)
Brennan – Thank you very much for allowing me to have an un-watermarked version of one of the photos on your website for my family records. Through your website I was able to learn that my great-grandfathers brother, was the recipient of a Silver Star! Thank you again for keeping history alive
(A happy relative finds a photo of her great-uncle)

66 thoughts on “About Portraits of War

  1. Hello and greetings from Switzerland.
    Saw you interesting report about Reese. Acidentially I do own 3 passports of him which I bought at ebay too. Maybe you sold it or the seller you mentioned. If the 1st case is true forget my input otherwise I like to ask if you are interested in these passports which are from 1958, 1963 and 1973.


  2. I’d be happy to help out with the locating of any pictures you might have which suggest Holland, where I was born, or Italy, where I live. On the ‘over mij’ (about me) page on my blog – my name links to it – you’ll find my email address written out (as in: at yahoo dot com). Don’t hesitate to contact me.

  3. Hello,

    My name is Dénes Bernád, and I am an (amateur) aviation historian and author.

    Currently I am working on a book on Hungarian fighters.
    Someone drew my attention to one of your beautiful photos of Bf 109G-10, No. 12. Here is the link: http://i.imgur.com/lGqRy.jpg

    Would it be possible for me to receive a scan that you would allow me to include in my book? Of course, the source would be listed in the book as requested.
    Needless to say, other photos of Hungarian fighter aircraft would be most welcome, too.

    Thank you, in advance.

    Best wishes,

    Dénes Bernád

  4. Now, that is an interesting blog as well! A treasure trove of pictures about the people who fought during the last two great wars. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, and for your generous offer, which I will gladly come back to. With best wishes for 2012, Barbara (faraway67 from “Letters from a distant war”)

  5. I must be digitally challenged…I am not seeing my earlier posting on the Veteran’s Day item concerning the 1921 ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Here is the substance of my earlier post.

    May I submit to you that the identity of the distinguished gentleman is Mr. Isaac B. Millner. US Navy, Civil War veteran –a seaman aboard the USS HARTFORD, flagship of Adm Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay 5 Aug 1864. Millner had a life-long interest in Adm Farragut, attending several commemorations of Farraguts life and career.

    He was affiliated with the Dept. of Anthropology at the National Museum; holder of several patents; a specialist in Native American and Micronisian Native cultures; a modeler for the Smithsonian working in the medium of paper’ machete and a member of the US Geological Survey. Author of the book: The Last Cruise (1917)

    You will find many notations for him in Google under his full name as well as his initials I B Millner.

    He is mistakenly noted in the 1920 Census as Isaac B Mi-(one L) ner. What his relationship with Mrs. Clara A Wright Of Wiscasset, Maine, might be is unclear, but one should note that the description and the address texts on the back of the portrait were written in two distinctly different hands. It could be that Mrs. Wright was a friend of his wife Mrs. Mary Millner.

    A 1929 photo of IB Millner appears here:


  6. The Stars and Stripes Museum/Library is planning an additon to our WWI exhibit. Bloomfield, Missouri, the location of the museum, is the birthplace of the Stars and Stripes during the Civil War.

    R. Sue Mayo, Librarian
    Please contact me at 573-568-2793.

  7. Brennan,

    I am the winner of one of the SBD Kodachrome auctions. I am a serious collector, and we can help each other preserve and enjoy history. Please email me. Superb blog!!


  8. I’m the Public Affairs Officer for the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division and saw your post of Paratroopers of the 325th GIR, of which we’re historically aligned and would like to see what other photos you have, specifically of the 325th GIR from WWII era.
    Please contact me regarding this.


  9. Hi Brennan, my grandfather had a huge rivate collection off WWI military pieces, weapons and photos. I have several WWI photos of military units on base, long famed pics of the regiment posing, not at salute but stating and standing….almost like a school class photo would be staged. I would love to know more about them, is there an email I could send some pics? Thanks!

  10. My father, John T. Kennedy, was in the 9th Armored Division in WW2. When I saw your photo of the captured Hitler youth around Leipzig, I was deeply moved because my father had told me about how he was on the .50 cal MG in a half-track, the lead vehicle of a convoy when they were ambushed by Germans hiding behind a railroad overpass. A bazooka round blew out one of the tires. Then another (a dud) bounced off the hood. I won’t go into the details (very moving) but he told that they captured 80-100 prisoners mostly old men and young boys and I couldn’t help but wonder if these Hitler youth were some of those boys. When he told me the details, he was on the verge of crying. He brought back a souvenir (Hitler youth pants) I understand you have many other pictures from the 9th Armored Division. Is there some easy way I can access those and look at them? Also, my relatives asked me to write down his experiences, and I remembered about 70 of his stories. I was going to put it in a booklet. Could I include the photo of the Hitler Youth in my booklet?

  11. Hi Brennan, nice site! I am looking for a picture of my great uncle’s regiment. He served from 20 Jan 1918 – 21 Mar 1919, World War I, Saddler, Troop “D” 2nd Calvary. I believe his headquarters were Fort Ethan Allen, Vt. Any chance you could help point me in the right direction?

    • Hey Gregg,

      I’m sure a photo of troop D of the 2nd Cav is floating around somewhere. Was your great uncle a Vermonter? They were headquartered here in Colchester (it’s actually the same town as me) and were at Fort Ethan Allen. If you live locally you may try the veterans museum at the Fort, or you may try State Archives in Middlesex. Are you local?

      • He lived in Springfield and Wilbraham Massachusetts. I do not think he ever lived in Vermont. I live in Wilbraham, but I will have to make a trip up there this Summer to do some research. In the mean time I can see if these places have anything online. Thanks for your help, Brennan!

  12. l would like to contact you at some point…..I can shed some light on one of your WW1 images. Is there a preferred way to reach you?

  13. Dear Brennan,

    We are working on a film to be presented in a museum in Europe next year. We are interested in the panoramic group/troop pictures you have. We would need a high definition scan (giant screen in the museum) if you agree on us using the pictures.
    Could you please contact me to discuss this. I would then give you more details.
    Kind regards,


  14. Ancestors are from New England… The stone faces – as an artist, I thought maybe done by water, but probably not smooth enough for that. Then I thought maybe sand – but how? Glad my question was answered. Very interesting!

  15. Dear Brennan,
    would it be possible to use one of your photos of World War II metal detecting in our upcoming exhibition in the Espoo City Museum in Finland? I would love to use one for the bit on history of the equipment and hobby. Please be in touch!
    Best Regards,
    Exhibition Manager

  16. Hello! I’m contacting you regarding a post on your blog that was emailed to me by some family members! This post: (https://portraitsofwar.wordpress.com/category/wwi-photo-2/page/3/) has a picture of my great grandfathers, brother-William Methier. I was wondering if there was any way I could get a copy of the photo without your blog title on the top?
    Thank you so much. Very cool website! I was amazed to find out one of my family members was awarded the silver star!

  17. Brennan,

    Please drop me a line. I have another large chunk of Alva Alagre’s story that was not included in his story that you cataloged on your website. He was stationed at Casper Army Air Base in Wyoming before reporting for duty with the 388th in England. He was also a wartime polical cartoonist! I can get you copies of those that were published in a newspaper during 1942-1943. He painted numerous portraits of the command and staff at the base and of folks in Casper, Wyoming.

    Thanks for chasing down his story, excellent.

  18. Hi Brennan,

    I wonder if you could help? I’m currently working on a BBC drama about WW1, to be broadcast in the week leading up to remembrance sunday this year. We are looking for portraits of soldiers, both British & German, that we can use in the show. I wonder if you could drop me an email so we could discuss a little further, we have lots of legal jargon and ownership licences that we have to adhere too, but i’d love to see if you have anything that might be of use to us?

    Many thanks,


  19. Hey Brennen, I’m still wondering about World War I Lou
    is A. Donahue Yankee Division. You thought that there might be a portrait of his division? Hopei to hear from you. Eleanor Delaney Portland, Maine

  20. Hi Brennan! I have a ww1 cavalry panorama photo, and wondered if you could shed some light on it. I’m interested in selling it, but I have no clue where or when it was taken. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  21. My Grandfather, Robert Wm Dick served in WW1 104th Infamtry Division. I am looking for any information you could share w/me. He was my best friend until I was 12, he past away in 1966. Thank you so much!

  22. My great uncle, Melvin B. Johnson, was killed in action on 14 Oct 1918 or 19 Oct 1918 (conflicting dates that I have found in articles). He earned the DSC for his actions near Gesnes, France. He is buried in Romagne, France. I found his draft registration card from Greve MT. and photos of his grave marker in Romagne. Would there be any photos of him or his unit, the 127th Infantry, 32nd Division company M? thank you. Kevin

  23. Discovered the site and found a pic of a young MP from the 69th wearing a helmet I think I may have in my collection. It would be great to see if a more detailed pic was available.


  24. It’s a pic of a soldier standing behind the east meets west sign wearing an MP helmet. It looks like it may be part of a series from historic day in 1945.



  25. I am seeking a photo of a man named Joseph Evarts of St. Albans, Vermont. He is mentioned on this blog as is his WWI dogtag but no photo. Is there one available. Thank you.

  26. Yes that’s it. Can I get a printable copy? I looking for somthing I can enlarge and get clear look at the helmet. Also do you have any other MP helmet shots or background on the soldier?

    This is great.

    Thank you

  27. I chanced upon a photo on your site of 5 litter bearers of the 127th Regiment, one being my great uncle Emil Buckendahl. Would it be possible to obtain a clean image of it. I have a studio portrait of Emil in uniform to exchange, if you desire. Thanks

  28. You mentioned you were in contact with a surviving member of the 196th Signal Photo Company. I co-wrote a memoir of one of its members and received quite a bit of help including a unit roster from the late Don Wiedenmayer who was also still photog with this unit. The Caddell Collection of the National WWII Museum has an impressive list of photos taken by both the 196th and its preceding unit, the 3131st Signal Service Co. A good read is Armed with Cameras by Pete Maslowski which gives considerable depth to the 3-man teams of the 163rd and 196th. A great site. Tom Sullivan, Pacifica, CA

  29. I have a photo of the Co. A 103rd Machine Gun Battalion taken by Leslie Studios Manchester,NH No date is on the photo. My mother told me my grandfather(fathers side) is in it-that’s all I know don’t even know which one he is. I was wondering is there is anyone in the Rhode Island area that collects, sells etc. old military photos who may be able to provide me with any more info/details of the photos and/or the battalion itself. It’s not in the best condition-I was just told to keep it. Please e-mail me at fisherg922@cox.net.

  30. Dear Brennan,

    My name is John DERNEDEN from Luxembourg/Europe. I have some additional data cconcerning the picture of the P-47 that belly landed in the snow on 29th January 1945. I am nearly sure that the pilot beside the plane is 2nd Lt William H.Wallace ( Silver Star decorated) from the 365th FG/386th FS. Please contact me for further details at derneden@pt.lu

    With kindest regards

    John from Luxembourg

  31. Remarkable photos. My maternal grandfather was in company C of the 777th Tank Battalion. Any chance you have the names of the men in that company from the company photo taken at Fort Knox?

  32. Hi and greeting,
    I’m french and I’m looking for photos of WWI uniforms for a publication.
    What are the conditions for this ?
    Can you contact me by MP ?
    Thank by advance
    Christophe from France

  33. My name is Mary Dassau. I am a retired soldier (as of 1994) living in NC. I was both a WAC and a Woman Marine. My father and uncles served during WW II and Korea; a few cousins served in Vietnam and some nephews served in Iraq and Afghanistan. My paternal grandfather served in WW I, as well as my paternal grandmother’s brother, who was KIA 27 Sep 1918.

    On Christmas Day 2007, while preparing for my brother’s funeral, I found a letter written to my grandmother dated 31 Aug 1918. Dad had no idea who the writer could have been. I finally found Frederick Betz, a cook in my great uncle’s regiment. I have found many other interesting facts since then.My grandfather served in Battery E, 59th Coastal Artillery Regiment. He survived the war and died in 1969.

    I have been corresponding with some other WW I researchers, including one in Limoges France, where several Coast Artillery regiments were billeted. I will let them know about this site.

  34. Dear Brennan —

    My father (yes, father! — I am 75 and was born when he was almost 50) was a member of a Balloon Company in WWI. His company distinguished itself as part of the 5th Balloon Group in the Great War.

    I’m telling my father’s story and that of his outfit in a book. I hope to have it available by 2018, the year of the Centenary.

    Your photo of the 20th BC’s winch truck is the best I’ve yet seen. As you probably know, the Balloon Service was very small. Only about 7,000 men served in it under live-fire conditions at the front, and it attracted comparatively little attention. The flyers in their biplanes were the favorites of the press photographers.

    Hence, it’s hard to find sharp photos of balloon-related equipment. So it would be a very great favor if I could reproduce the shot of the 20th’s winch truck I found on “Portraits of War,” your WordPress Web page. I will acknowledge you with your choice of wording and list the source the way you prefer, wherever the shot falls in the text.

    Please let me know how you feel about this. I thank you in advance.


    Robert Eugene Johnson
    Author, Austin in the Great War (2017; forthcoming)

  35. Brennan, I have recently come into an entire Kodak box postmarked 1951 of slides taken in Korea of the very little known 8th Army unit, the 10th Special Service Co. in the midst of getting ready and putting on a show for the troops. The slides come from the estate of a Korean war vet who trained at Camp Stoneman before getting shipped off to Korea as part of the 2nd Inf Div Band unit. I have posted one slide on eBay here but if you are interested in the entire box, let me know. Great site here. I have some original slides of my Grandfather when he was at Bastogne as a member of the 101st Airborne and another where he is aiming his M1 from the balcony of Hitler’s home in Berchtesgaden. Not parting with those…grin… here’s the link:

    • Wow! very interesting. I will check the listing. Would you mind sharing the shots of your grandfather?

      Brennan, I have recently come into an entire Kodak box postmarked 1951 of slides taken in Korea of the very little known 8th Army unit, the 10th Special Service Co. in the midst of getting ready and putting on a show for the troops. The slides come from the estate of a Korean war vet who trained at Camp Stoneman before getting shipped off to Korea as part of the 2nd Inf Div Band unit. I have posted one slide on eBay here but if you are interested in the entire box, let me know. Great site here. I have some original slides of my Grandfather when he was at Bastogne as a member of the 101st Airborne and another where he is aiming his M1 from the balcony of Hitler’s home in Berchtesgaden. Not parting with those…grin… here’s the link:

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