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Guide to the Earl Garfield Cunningham Papers, 1941-1950 and undated

Abstract

Earl Garfield Cunningham (1911-1983) was an African American Lieutenant who served with the 371st Infantry in Italy from October 1944 to the end of 1945. While in Italy, he participated in the campaigns of North Apennines and Po Valley.

The collection includes 12 scrapbook pages containing amateur photographs taken primarily in Italy together with military appointment certificates and news clippings; military records; military awards including the Bronze Star Medal; and additional photographs that collectively document the military career and experiences of Earl G. Cunningham.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Cunningham, Earl Garfield, 1911-1983.
Title
Earl Garfield Cunningham papers 1941-1950 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
1.25 Linear Feet, 40 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The collection includes awards, records, and photographs that collectively document the military career and experiences of Lieutenant Earl G. Cunningham. The Scrapbook series contains more than 150 amateur photographs corner-mounted on 12 pages from a scrapbook. The photographs, chiefly 9 x 6 cm, capture scenes in Italy, often with Cunningham or his fellow African-American soldiers in the foreground. Subjects include architecture, city streets, the countryside, shoreline, military vehicles, damaged buildings, and local Italians. Brief, handwritten captions identify colleagues or locations including Pisa, Viareggio, Pietrasanta, Massa, Genoa, and Savona. The first few pages of the scrapbook include appointment certificates demonstrating Cunningham's rise in the military along with photographs taken at Camp Williams near Lehi, Utah. The remainder of the collection is divided into Military Awards, Military Records, and Photographs series. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

The series consists of a small box containing a Bronze Star Medal awarded to Cunningham on March 12, 1948, together with four United States Army ribbons.

Award box, 1948 and undated
Box 1

The series includes certificates of service, graduation program from Officer Candidate School, certificate of honorable discharge, transcript of military record, separation qualification record, military record and report of separation, certificate of appointment to First Lieutenant, Bronze Star Medal certificate, letter of gratitude from the White House, photocopies of selected military records and marriage certificate, and two letters regarding Cunningham's residence at the time of registration for Selective Service.

Records, 1941-1950 and undated
Box 1

The series consists of two military portraits of Cunningham and seven photographic postcards of Genoa addressed to Mrs. Earl G. Cunningham, 2330 7th Ave. Apt. 6, New York 30 N.Y. All postcards were stamped in June of 1945, and only one includes commentary.

Military portraits and photographic postcards, 1945 and undated
Box 1

The series contains more than 150 amateur photographs corner-mounted on 12 pages from a scrapbook. The photographs, chiefly 9 x 6 cm, capture scenes in Italy, often with Cunningham or his fellow African American soldiers in the foreground. Subjects include architecture, city streets, countryside, shoreline, military vehicles, damaged buildings, and local Italians. Brief, handwritten captions identify colleagues or locations including Pisa, Viareggio, Pietrasanta, Massa, Genoa, and Savona. The first few pages of the scrapbook include appointment certificates demonstrating Cunningham's rise in the military along with photographs taken at Camp Williams near Lehi, Utah. One page features two poems and four news clippings announcing the soldiers' return home.

Scrapbook pages, 1941-1945 and undated
Box 1

Historical Note

Earl Garfield Cunningham, an African American born on June 3, 1911, in Egypt, Mississippi, was a resident of New York City when drafted into the United States Army in 1941. After rising through the ranks to First Sergeant, he attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant on November 21, 1942. From October 1944 to the end of 1945, he served in Italy with the 371st Infantry and participated in the campaigns of North Apennines and Po Valley. He was commissioned as First Lieutenant before his honorable discharge from the Army in 1946.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Earl Garfield Cunningham Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The Earl Garfield Cunningham Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Danielle Moore, September 2010

Encoded by Danielle Moore, October 2010

Accession 2009-0283 is described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.