Lately at work I have been researching a former Henry Kendall student, Hugo Augustus “Hap” (or “Happy”) Gruenberg. Hap was born 19 March 1895 in Illinois and died in July 1972, Chelsea, Oklahoma. Hugo married Ida Flood in 1923 and lived in Chelsea where he worked for the Post Office.
He seems to have run away from home as a child to join the circus, and escaped from the circus and was rescued by the Milam family.
He also served in World War I, with an ambulance company (think an early field hospital); specifically the 167th Ambulance Co., 42nd “Rainbow” Division. He was at Luneville, Baccarat, Champagne, Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, and the Argonne Forest and Meuse before being with the early Occupation.
He kept a diary and a photograph album. Unfortunately we only have one of his diaries since he discusses having lost his diary in his diary, and we don’t have a record of his training. These can be seen as a single collection at this link. Now, since the Hugo “Hap” Gruenberg collection (1991-008) was discussed in the From McFarlin Tower blog yesterday, last December, as well as in April of 2011 the question is why would I be discussing it here as well.
Because as we know I like to talk about things that are really going to be interesting to a very few people, and did I mention that he had photo albums. There were two albums and a large array of other photos including duplicates.
The first album (oddly labeled as “box 5” in the collection) has 114 images, unidentified, although mostly from training at Fort Riley, although some were clearly in Europe. One is an anomaly, a copy of an aerial photograph showing an unidentified city. The bulk of these photos have an image 72 mm x 136 mm (that’s 3 1/32” x 5 ¼” for the not metrically inclined). This could be a 3a Kodak folding pocket camera, although the image size is wrong. It is a large camera using 122 roll film and was meant to shoot post card sized images.
The second album (oddly labeled as “box 4” in the collection) has 142 images covering his time in Europe and his return. Beginning at image 128, they are images of civilian life. Images 134 and 135 have been removed from the album. The first three images were taken at the 1917 World’s Series in New York City just prior to being sent overseas. The bulk of the photos in the album have an image 52 mm x 79 mm (2 1.32” x 3 1/32”). This could be 129 Film, which would take 8 exposures per roll. Or about 16 rolls of film. There are very few cameras that used this film, the Ensign or Ensignette were English Cameras.
As we have discussed elsewhere enlargers weren’t commonly used, and usually prints were contact prints at this time. Enlargers existed previously but didn’t start hitting the market until mid-1920s and even then took time for the market to pick them up.
What this suggests is that Gruenberg started with the larger camera, but before he left New York for France, he acquired a smaller camera. He tried it a little at the World Series. The smaller camera would be easier to use at the front.
Interestingly, from his surviving diary we know that:
- 24 December 1917, Gruenberg took a picture of John G.
- 3 January 1918 he took pictures of [?]
- 24 January 1918 He and “Lal or Tal” (Carl Ammon) took pictures
- 28 January 1918 He took pictures of sheep.
- 2 February 1918 He took pictures because the sun was out.
- 7 February 1918 He picked up his pictures from the “Lab cutter”
- 12 February 1918 Pictures after gas training.
- 3 August 1918 Tal/Carl takes some pictures.
- 24 September 1918 He and Tal/Carl take pictures for Lt. [Bradfield]
- 30 September 1918 Pictures in Montsec
- 7 October 1918 Tal/Carl and he take pictures
- 8 October 1918 Take picture of ‘Doghouse.’
- 12 October 1918 Take pictures
- 18 October 1918 Take pictures. ‘Planes on fire’?
- 21 October 1918 Take pictures of burial detail.
- 13 November 1918 Take pictures.
- 15 November 1918 Take pictures of Tomb and Guns.
- 23 November 1918 Take pictures of [Meisch]
- 3 December 1918 while AWOL takes pictures of town in Luxemburg.
- 18 December 1918 Tal/Carl gets pictures developed. Send home pictures of Neuenahr
- 24 December 1918 Break into Rhine Castle and take pictures
- 25 March 1919 Pictures developed.
- 10 April 1919, on train back to embarkation, stop and take pictures at Train.
Most of these pictures can be identified in the later Album, which I think is seriously cool.
Carl Ammon and he were friends (Ammon had been on the Henry Kendall College (The University of Tulsa’s earlier incarnation) football team under Francis Schmidt — whose album is next on my to do list.
Just as a note – if any of you chose to read the diary, and I hope you do since the good people who transcribed it, including my wife, did a great job considering his idiosyncratic handwriting, spelling, syntax and structure. You will need to start at the back cover since he also wrote the pages in reverse order.