Damaging Penalties Aboard the USS Missouri

Curators at The Nationwide World Warfare II Museum resolve readers’ artifact mysteries.

Whereas going via my father’s wartime memorabilia, I occurred upon a pocket book by which he explains that authentic negatives of pictures a U.S. Navy photographer took of the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri have been misplaced, “most likely throughout a gala on ship in New York Harbor.” When the loss was found, he—U.S. Navy Photographer’s Mate Third Class Allan Thomas Kimmell—and others working at a photograph lab within the Philippines photographed prints to make new negatives. He handed copies of these negatives alongside to me. I’ve by no means heard concerning the negatives’ loss and am hoping you’ll discover it as fascinating as I’ve and need to be taught extra.

—Karen Kimmell, Alto, N.M.

Not one of the photograph archivists we contacted have been conscious of this both, and all are intrigued. “I’m afraid I’ve by no means heard such a factor and would have thought it will have been observed if we have been utilizing copy negatives for these pictures. That mentioned, something is feasible,” says Holly Reed of the Nonetheless Image Reference Crew on the Nationwide Archives and Information Administration, the repository of all Official U.S. Navy Pictures. Sadly, the Archives is closed resulting from Covid-19; with out somebody onsite there to see if they’ve authentic or copy negatives for the pictures, we gained’t have the ability to advance the story a lot.

The September 2, 1945, ceremony that ended World Warfare II—when a bunch of Japanese delegates boarded the USS Missouri to signal the instrument of give up—was one of the photographed occasions of your entire struggle. Given the ceremony’s significance, dozens of nonetheless and movement image photographers have been arrange and able to seize each second from the delegates’ arrival to the signing of the give up. Inside hours, the primary pictures started spreading around the globe via a system that had been established to develop, censor, and transmit images. 

The New York celebration your father references got here seven weeks after the give up ceremony. The USS Missouri entered New York Harbor on October 23, 1945, to participate within the Navy Day celebration on Saturday, October 27, when an armada of 47 American warships sailed the Hudson River earlier than thousands and thousands of appreciative spectators, with President Harry S. Truman in attendance.

We hope to be taught extra upon the Nationwide Archives’ reopening, and will definitely cross it alongside. Within the meantime, treasure your father’s assortment. ✯

—Josh Schick, Curator

Have a World Warfare II artifact you possibly can’t determine?

Write to Footlocker@historynet.com with the next:

— Your connection to the item and what you recognize about it.
— The thing’s dimensions, in inches.
— A number of high-resolution digital photographs taken shut up and from various angles.
— Footage ought to be in shade, and no less than 300 dpi.

Sadly, we will’t reply to each question, nor can we appraise worth.

This text was printed within the December 2020 challenge of World Warfare II. 

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