WWI University of Vermont US Army Training Photo – Central Campus by Louis McAllister


US Army Training Detachment at UVM 1918

US Army Training Detachment at UVM 1918

My collection of Louis McAllister WWI Photos has grown to include three more shots taken during the WWI training period at UVM in 1918.  McAllister was known to have taken panoramic photos of each individual training company in front of Williams Hall.  I have shots of Company B and Company C.  The photo seen above appear to be all the companies posed together with a series of US Army trucks behind Old Mill and Williams Hall in September of 1918.  The panoramics were part of a series of shots I recently purchased from a seller in Rutland, Vermont.  The group can be attributed to a WWI veteran named Theodore Maher, a mechanic who served with both the 336th Tank Battalion as well as the 339th Tank Battalion during WWI.  A fantastic find!

WWI The University of Vermont at War – Williams Hall Army Training Detachment – August 1918


Authors Collection


My recent trip to the local Burlington antique shop yielded some WWI gold; yet another WWI UVM panoramic photo to add to my extensive collection of war photography.  This one was taken in August of 1918 in front of Williams Hall at the University of Vermont.  I spent countless hours studying anthropology and archaeology in the hallowed halls of Williams, and I know the front facade well.  From the looks of it, not much has changed!   This photo shows Company C of the US Army Training Detachment which was housed at UVM in the months preceding the end of the war.

Looking at some of the details of the photo actually helped elucidate a bit of Louis McAllister’s business.  Check out the writing on each of the benches – it appears that McAllister wrote his name on each bench in his typical flowery style.  Very interesting!

The University of Vermont at War – Draftees in 1918 – Williams Hall at UVM


UVM SATC (Photo Courtesy of UVM Special Collections)


Drafted UVM Students (Photo Courtesy of UVM Special Collections)

My search for WWI Vermont photography continued this week at the University of Vermont’s Special Collections Annex.  Utilizing the Louis McAllister Collection database, I was able to track down two panoramic photographs taken at UVM in 1918.  This particular shot was taken in front of Williams Science Hall located on the UVM green.  I spent much of my time as an undergraduate studying in this building, so this photograph is particularly close to my heart.

This first photo was taken by McAllister on October 31st, 1918.  The new class of the S.A.T.C. was just inducted on October 23rd, just a week before this photo was taken.  Although the quality of the image is lacking, the content speaks volumes.

The second photo was taken a few months earlier, in July of 1918, and shows the first round of students from UVM to be drafted.  McAllister enjoyed using the Williams Hall entrance as a backdrop for his photographs; this is a panoramic style we see until the early 1960s.

While searching for reference material, I came across this advertisement from the 1918 Ariel yearbook of UVM.  It looks like Louis McAllister was a supporter of UVM!

Courtesy of UVM Special Collections

Special thanks to the UVM Special Collections crew for helping me with my search.  All photos in this post are courtesy of UVM Special Collections.

The University of Vermont at War – WWI UVM Campus Panoramic Photo by Louis L. McAllister


The UVM Campus Prepares for War

A recent eBay auction had me literally drooling on my keyboard.  Could it be?  A WWI image of the University of Vermont?  I attended UVM between 2004 and 2011, graduating with an undergraduate degree in anthropology/archaeology and a masters in historic preservation; two fields that helped forge my passion for historic photography.  I placed a desperate last minute bid in hopes of winning the panoramic photo and victoriously won with a high bid.  Other comparable WWI Vermont “yardlong” images were usually taken at Fort Ethan Allen, but I’ve never seen one taken at UVM.

M1910 Leggings

From outward appearances the photo, taken by famed Burlingtonian (Vermont)  Louis L. McAllister, depicts a group of uniformed soldiers on the central campus.  Converse Hall is visible on the far right hand corner of the photo, followed by the hospital, Colchester Ave homes, and finally Billings and Williams Hall.  Looking at the visible trees

gives a good indication of the season; this photo was likely taken in the fall, after the trees defoliate, but before the dreaded Vermont winter sets in.  The soldiers are wearing WWI era uniforms, complete with campaign hats, single snap button ammo belts, and M1910 leggings.  These leggings were used extensively during WWI training but

switched out overseas for puttees.

After referencing a few books on Vermont during WWI, I believe that the image was taken in October of 1918, during the opening ceremonies for the university.  I’ve added an excerpt below that helps flesh out some of the details.

“The opening of college was postponed until October 23rd, due to the prevailing epidemic of influenza, which was then sweeping the country.  At noon on that date, however, the new members of the S.A.T.C. were drawn up on one side of a hollow square on the front campus, and formally inducted into the service of the country.  On the other two sides of the square at this impressive ceremony were the Signal School and the Mechanical School.  First the flag was raised, and then after swearing the men into service Lieutenant Colonel Leonhaeuser read a message from President Wilson.  The men were then divided into companies, assigned to barracks and for the first time in over a hundred years the University of Vermont was again an armed camp. “

(Source: Cushing, John T., Arthur Fairbanks Stone, and Harold Pearl. Sheldon. “The University of Vermont in the World War.” In Vermont in the World War: 1917-1919. Burlington, VT: Free Press, 1928.)

Louis McAllister Portrait Courtesy of The University of Vermont Special Collections

The photo was doubly exciting for me, as the photographer was a well known Burlington resident and Vermont photographer.  Louis L. McAllister was born in Nebraska in 1876 and lived in Burlington for nearly 60 years before passing away in1963.  He was famous for his panoramic photography, which he used extensively to document school groups, political events, and various Burlington scenes.  This example dates to 1918, but I’ve seen dated examples from Fort Ethan Allen reaching as far back as 1917.  McAllister is renown statewide for his photographic work, which is sought out  by Vermonters for his its composition and documentary nature.  The University of Vermont’s Special Collections inherited 45 crates of his photography.  A fabulous website was created by Special Collections in order to display some of his work to the public.  Interested parties can visit the collection or view it online at  http://cdi.uvm.edu/collections/browseCollection.xql?pid=mcallister&title=Louis%20L.%20McAllister%20Photographs