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World War I Photograph Collections on Fold3!

By the time the United States entered WWI in 1917, photography had become a growing hobby within the country. Many soldiers had their portraits taken before heading off to war and the government trained photographers at the Columbia School of Military Photography to record America’s involvement in the war using still and motion pictures. Here are some examples of WWI photography from our National WWI Museum Portrait Photographs and our WWI Panoramic Unit Photos collection that capture some of these images.

John L. Barkley served in the 4th Infantry, Company K and was awarded the Medal of Honor when he captured an enemy machinegun and launched a counterattack in France
Florence S. Battershill served in the American Red Cross
Paul W. Cloud attended America’s first school of military photography at Columbia University
Juliette Courtial was a “switchboard soldier” and served in the Signal Corps as a telephone operator
Brother and sister George North Emory and Ruth Emory served in WWI together. He served in the American Expeditionary Force and she served in the American Red Cross.
George Washington Davis was a physician and Captain of the 87th Division
Panoramic photo of the 1st Infantry Division, Company K. They fought in Soissons, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne
Some of our panoramic photos have names annotating those in the photo such as this one of the 4th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company I
Close-up of a panoramic photo containing six military observation balloons
Close-up of a panoramic photo of the 40th Division, Ambulance Company, containing nine ambulances and their crews

Search these collections to see additional WWI photographs and search Fold3 for more WWI records.

62 Comments

  1. My Uncle Edward Blake was a private in the 1st WW I would like to know where he seved

    • Did you search on ancestry and fold3 for documents of your uncle? Some weeks ago I discovered on ancestry the ship manifests of the transports of soldiers from the United States to Europe and after the war from Europe back to the United States. So you know at least in which time frame he was in the war in Europe. These ship manifests contain names of ships, port of departure, port of arrival and the camp which was their destination. More information about these ships, ports and camps you can easily find on the internet. Sometimes these ship manifests also contain name and address of a relative and the soldier’s unit.

    • Mary,

      You can request Official Military Personnel Files from the Archives in St. Louis:
      https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
      They do note there are delays due to the COVID-19 emergency.
      It took me over a year to get my father’s military records when there were no delays. Prepare to be patient.

    • You can request Official Military Personnel Records from the Archives in St. Louis:
      https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records

    • Try the National Archives for unit records.

    • You can get a copy of his discharge papers. That is if they were not burned in the St, Louis dept fire. I got my uncles.

  2. Mary,
    I don’t mind taking a quick look for you on your Uncle’s service, but I will need much more information on him to attempt that. Birth year, death year, where born, wife’s name…pretty much anything you know about him. Edward Blake is a pretty common name.
    Bud

  3. Mary, you can write to the Old Records Division of the National Archives to get your uncle’s war record. In your letter, give them as much info as you can on him such as where he lived prior to the war, his rank if known and names of parents. You don’t need someone to do this for you. There is entirely too much sharing of personal information nowadays. The Old Records Division can help. Write to them at:

    8601 Adelphi Road
    College Park, MD 20740

    I did this to get the records in my own family,.

    Linda S. Barnard

  4. Would it be possible to add my grandfather’s WWI portrait photo to the collection? I’ve already uploaded it to Fold3.

  5. My great-great grandfather, Andrew Paisley, migrated from Canada to the US and joined the Union Army. He was captured and died in the Andersonville Prison. Do you have any photos or records related to his service and subsequent death at Andersonville?

    • There are Civil War prisons records of deaths at Andersonville on Fold3. I’ve seen one such record recently while searching for one of my ancestors. It was a log/register of deaths. You should be able to verify whether it was your ancestor by the date of death, their rank and by which military unit he was a member of, if you know that information.

  6. Hi Heidi, Thanks for the question. I can’t add it to these collections as they are collections from the National WWI Museum. I’m glad that you’ve added the image to Fold3, as that will allow others to view your grandfather’s portrait by searching for his name or any other information you’ve included on the Memorial.

  7. Two questions…
    1. Can payment be monthly instead for a full year si it fits my budget?

    2. Do Fold3 include images of non-white service men and or any Tuskegee Airmen?

    I have three ancestors who I hope to find historic photos of … all had a unique role in service to the country that I have already documented – any photos would greatly add to their story.

    If interested, I can provide details about their servic record – their names are:
    James Gersin Cannon, Samuel Alexander Sharp, and John Jay Farris

    Thnx for any info you are able to provide!

    clcs

    • Have you checked with the museum for the Tuskegee Airmen specifically? They may have some photos if they served with them. I know they have a wall of photo headshots I just don’t remember if they were only commanders or all of those who served in that unit. It’s quite a fascinating museum if you’ve never been.

  8. I am looking for a photo of my gr-gr grandfather, John Henry Clay Absher, who served in union Army in the 18th Ohio Infantry, Co. A (1861) and the 2nd WV Cavalry, Co. G, (8/28/1861-11/28/1864). He was from Ironton, OH and was one of the original 75K Union Volunteers President Lincoln asked for as he enlisted on April 17, 1861. Do you have this, or have any ideas where I might find it?

  9. Hi
    My father was in the Army First Class Seargent and retired in 1966 I am not sure of what war he served in and I do know that he is buried at Quantico Cemetery in Quantico Virginia. And his date of death July 281997. I can’t locate his death record at all!! Can you help me?? Please!
    Thank you
    Barbara Taylor

    • Check the Military Personnel Center in St Louis and they have forms you got to fill out to obtain information in their huge system.

    • His name please and middle initial if you have it. Many soldiers have this surname.

    • I have a great uncle that was in WWI and an uncle that was in WWI. Every time I enter their names into ancestry search nothing comes up from fold3. I am suppose to be subscribed to it. Is there something I am not doing? Or is there a different website I am suppose to be using to get to military records?

    • If he retired in 1966 he enlisted in 1946 or earlier. He may have served in Japan, Korea, Germany, or just maybe Vietnam. Possibly WW II if he enlisted earlier.

  10. I have 3 albums of WW1 photos. One of Army, two of Navy. The Navy ones have alot of names with the photos. Would do lookups. Navy shots are mostly aboard ships specifically The Panther.

  11. Where are members of the Black Regiment?

  12. Are there any other countries in the world other than the United States?

  13. Is there any way to research military records for an Army Sergeant from WWII serving in Europe?I was told there was a fire that destroyed the records of this time period .

    • Contact the Military Personnel Center in St Louis, MO and submit request on their net. It normally takes about 12 weeks to get information. You normally have to be a rother or sister or parents to get information. I have used it and they are pretty good.

      Gene Rossel

    • The records destroyed by fire were in St Louis and were WW I records. Many WW II records are available on line as are some WW I records.

  14. Unfortunately 16–18 million official military personnel records were lost in a fire in St Louis in 1973. It looks like my great grandfather’s records were among them. Thank God we have some letters addressed to him while he served in WWI or we would have almost no way to confirm his unit or location. I then did a plain old regular google search of the devision and company and I found photos. Sure enough there’s great grandpa in the photo! But I have found nothing about him on Fold 3.

  15. In 2018 I posted a panoramic on fold3 of the 128th Field Artillery, Battery F (originally the 1st Missouri Field Artillery) which was taken 8/29/1917. The best copy was digitized by the Missouri History Museum and Library (St. Louis, Missouri) and displayed there. Fold 3 was kind enough to digitize and post MY copy on which my grandfather, Emry Harris Woodruff, had written many of his mates’ names. I did what I could to line it up with the available roster, specifying all the names to be searched (at least that was the idea) and hoped that someone researching another person in the panoramic would find it. No one has contacted me yet, so maybe there is no one out there interested or maybe I need to do a better job of making this available? Does anyone have an interest in this info? Does anyone have any idea how to connect with others interested in the photo? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    • Hi Dorothy,
      I found the photo easily on Fold3 both by unit and name. Just wonderful that you did this. I have no one in the unit, but have found that many people don’t know where to start or don’t know specific units. And yes, there are those who don’t seem to care these days. There are also those that are afraid to respond to an individual they don’t know because of identity theft and privacy concerns. There are organizations online for most of the units and you might look for one of them for the 128th – they are intended to connect veterans with their buddies.
      Anyway, I just wanted to let you know there are people looking and they can find your information – well documented and wish it were for one of mine. Don’t give up..

  16. I am looking for any pictures of my father Anthony Paul Rossel of Okawville, IL who served a short time in WWI going to basic training when the war ended and he was discharged. I would like sme good photos if any are around.
    My Brother Jerome Rossel of Mascoutah, IL who served in the USAF from 1956-1960, basic training in CA, two years in Alaska and the remaining at a base in MA and then got out. I don’t have a military picture of him and I would like to get one.

  17. My Dad George Henry Brumfield served in the Korean War His wife’s name was Edna lou Brumfield clayton ok wanting to know if you might have any photos or records of his he was in the army around 1952.He all so recievied a purple heart but it got lost.Is there anyway I could get another one for my self.I am his daughter.I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Mary: Your congressman or senator will have a staff member who helps with this type of request. Also, The DAV knows the process too.

  18. My grandfather, Guy Lancelot Weed, was a vulcanizer for WWI bi-planes. I have several photographs of him working at Pane Field in Mississippi. I treasure these memories of him.

  19. My Grandmothers first Husband was in WWI
    Unfortunately, we only Know that he was from Rhode Island and his last name was Leary. Not 100% sure of his first name. She called him Bill – I could only find a Charles William Leary who did not make it home. Perhaps the Bill was from his middle name.
    We do know that she got a death Benefit
    Her name was Mary Theresa Cameron Leary.

  20. Note many records that were housed in St Louis were burned in a fire ie my relatives records were destroyed so no records are available.

  21. I have a photo of my grandmother’s brothers who were both in WWI. One died in France near at the battle of Cotigny (sp?). The other was still in Texas, waiting to ship overseas but died from the flu right after Christmas. Would you be interested in adding copies of these to your collection?

  22. Where are members and pictures of the black (african american ) regiments?
    Also where can I find information & pictures of Company C, 349th Service Battalion Quartermaster Corp?

  23. Janet wrote on June 15, 2020 that records “destroyed by fire were in St Louis and were WW I records. Many WW II records are available on line as are some WW I records.”

    I know that some WW II records were destroyed also. My uncle John Joseph Hendrix served in a tank squadron in Africa and Italy and his records were lost in the fire. Before he died he told my father that he had a wallet size copy of his DD-214, but it was worn so badly that he could not read it. I searched him on Ancestry and did not find anything about his service.

  24. The first photo shows “John L. Barkley served in the 4th Infantry” yet he is wearing a 3rd Infantry Division patch (the famous 3 white stripes worn “over the shoulder”). Perhaps he served in the 4th when awarded the MOH and later in the 3ID when this photo was taken?

  25. I am lucky enough to have a photo album of the 1st Air Depot (1st AD) and its members (individual pictures with names and locations they were from). Some aerial photos as well as from Base in the States to other locations throughout the war. Nose Art from planes and squadrons, (“Rickenbacher’s Circus” Photo is among some of the photos)
    If anyone had a family member who served in the 1st AD during WWI, I would be glad to take a picture of the member page and send it for your records. There are over 240 pictures in the album as well as 18 picture postcards of random individuals. (Some of my family members as well as others collected by My relatives who served.
    This group is a wonderful source of information about service members! Thank you!

  26. My grandfather was in WWI. I just wish I had been older and asked more questions. They had nothing at WWI in the 1970s when I was a young woman. So many things I wish I would have asked.

    • Hello Margie, if you want, you can give me his name and all, and I can see what I can do for you sister. My grandfather was in wwii, but never got a chance to acquire anything of his, so I understand to a degree how you feel.

  27. My friend’s Grandfather, George K. Kallas serviced in the U.S. Army during WWI as a private. I would love to see a picture of this WWI war veteran who served and was wounded in France

  28. Where are the photographs of WW1 African Americans other than the Tuskegee Airman? My grandfather and his brother served overseas in France during WW1.

  29. I am looking for my father’s picture as he was in WWI in France and then returned. I believe there is a picture of him in his uniform but I don’t know where it was taken. Can you see if it is in our files? He was only a PFC and in the Army. His name was John Aaron Rhodes.

  30. My father served in the Army from sometie in 1917 through early 1919. His name was Israel Shapiro. He started as a Private and finished as a Sargent. I believe he served in the SoS (Service of Supply). When I asked him what he did in the Army he always answered in the same manner:”I played basketball.” I have a picture of him with a basketball team, but that’s all. I would lie to get more information about his service, if possible.

  31. John L. Barkley wears the patch of the 3rd Infantry Division.

  32. I was wondering if there is a way to find information on my mothers cousin who went done with U327 in the English Channel on February 27,1945? I have found his Memorial and more interested in finding documentation or photos. Can anyone give me ideas where to search. He was in the German UBoat Division.

  33. Do you have any photos of USS Arizona from WW I. My father-in-law(Marine) served on the ship for over 2 years. We have one photo of him in uniform and a copy of his discharge papers.

  34. To all who are reading this. My father, Edward T. Doherty, served in the army during 1918-19 in France during WWI and stayed through 1919 to help with the displaced people after the war was over. I am his son and tried a number of years ago to find his military record. I was told that most of the WWI records had been moved from D.C. to a building in Kansas city and in the 1970’s the building had a fire and almost all records were destroyed! I was able to find one reference to him in 1919 at an air field in NYC which showed him as being mustered out and on his way back to Michigan City, In., his home!

    • Hello Bob, I may have a lead for you at least to some bits of info in regards to your father. Hopefully we can find a way to contact each other so as I can give you an idea of what I found really quick. All the best,
      Dea

  35. Are you considering removing Robert E Lee from your masthead?

  36. My Uncle Burton S. Sherman from Texas served iIN WWI in France until the war ended and had to remain there to repair the bridges that were demolished. His brother Justin C Sherman also served in WWI. All we have are pictures in their uniforms. How can we find information about the African Americans that served?

  37. My Grandfather, Charles A. Neal, MD served in the AEF, 1917-1918. He was in the Ambulance corps as well as in medical tent. any information on ambulance or med tent would be appreciated.

  38. I had 2 uncles who served in WW1. I’d like to find out where they served and what was their rank. both uncles were drafted and were very young,probably around 18 yrs old.

  39. I had a uncle that serve in WW1 PVT company D Number 365 state Oklahoma Arm Infantry date of discharge Oct 22,1917 and a great great grandfather that serve as PVT 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers.

  40. When I was a small child walking with my mother near my home. A large number of soldiers gathered to have their photo taken with a barrage balloon behind them. My mother told me that one of them asked if I could have my photo taken with them. I was placed in the centre front and my photo was taken. This was in Great Harwood Lancashire, probably 1941 – 1945. My mother didn’t remember the Regiment but could have been the Lancashire Regiment. She is obviously long gone. I was born in 1939. She told me that she never saw the photo. I would be interested to know if it was ever developed and maybe still exists in the Archives.

  41. As questioned by Adam Carr on June 17, why is the image of Robert E. Lee on the masthead — along with Generals Washington, Pershing and Eisenhower? Shouldn’t General Grant appear instead?

    General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the administration’s senior military advisor, just yesterday called for “taking a hard look” at changing the names of ten Army bases — including Fort Lee — honoring Confederate officers who had fought against the Union during the Civil War. General Milley told Congress, “There is no place in our armed forces for manifestations, or symbols of racism, bias or discrimination.”

    As the general explained at the House hearing, “The Confederacy, the American Civil War, was fought, and it was an act of rebellion. . . . It was an act of treason, at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution. Those officers turned their back on their oath.”

    It has been reported that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, as well as other senior officers and officials of the Army, Navy and Air Force, are in agreement. I hope to see the bases renamed — and the removal of all other divisive Confederate symbols on military installations — in the next year or so. I believe Fold3 should join the military and support ALL our troops.