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Guide to the Henry Heyliger photograph album of occupied Japan, 1947

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Summary

Collection comprises an accordion-bound photograph album containing 158 black-and-white and a few color photographs, belonging to African American soldier Henry Heyliger, named numerous times in the album. Most of the photographs document the 610th Port Company based in Yokohama, Japan, 1947, and many are labeled with soldier's names and some locations. In addition to a few formal portraits, there are many snapshots showing African American soldiers marching, working at the base, relaxing, and posing with Japanese women. One image shows a few U.S. soldiers, including Heyliger, visiting and eating with the family household of a young Japanese man, possibly a worker at the base. A large group photograph shows 18 members of the 120th Tng (Training?) Company and Regiment. There are two U.S. photographs, showing African Americans enjoying Hamid Pier beach in Atlantic City, and an Atlantic City postcard. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11416
Title
Henry Heyliger photograph album of occupied Japan
Extent
.3 Linear Feet, 1 box
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection comprises a 9 1/4 x 13 inch accordion-bound album containing 158 black-and-white and a few color photographs, belonging to African American soldier Henry Heyliger. His name is found in the album in photograph captions, in an inscription to him on another soldier's portrait, and on a postcard addressed to him.

Most of the photographs document the 610th Port Company based in Yokohama, Japan, 1947, and many are labeled with soldier's names and some locations. In addition to formal portraits, there are many snapshots showing the men around base, marching, working, relaxing, and posing with Japanese women. One image shows a few U.S. soldiers, including Heyliger, visiting and eating with the family household of a young Japanese man, possibly a worker at the base. A large group photograph shows 18 members of the 120th Tng (Training?) Company and Regiment. Also found laid in is a newspaper clipping. A few of the pages are separated from the original bindings.

Included in the album are two snapshots taken in the U.S., showing African Americans enjoying Hamid Pier beach in Atlantic City, as well as an Atlantic City color postcard addressed to Henry Heyliger at a military base in San Francisco (crossed out, with Los Angeles military address added), from "Doris," who is probably the Doris Hensley in a photograph mounted on the same page as a larger color hand-tinted) photograph of Henry Heyliger.

Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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Collection is open for research.

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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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Henry Heyliger photograph album of occupied Japan, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Historical Note

The images in the album date to a time during the occupation of Japan by American forces in 1947. Yokohama was about 20 miles from Tokyo and served as a port that received enormous shipments of supplies for the U.S. Army in Japan. Most of the labor was performed by African American servicemen, with a large contingent of Japanese labor as well. Some of these Japanese individuals are pictured in the photographs.

The black and white soldiers at the time lived in separate quarters, but some aspects of Army life were slowly becoming desegregated, especially for officers. In July 1948, President Trumann would order the integration of the entire Army.

Little is known of Henry Heyliger, the apparent owner of the album. In one photograph the middle initial "A" seems to appear. He was likely a member of the 2nd Regiment of the 120th Training (Tng) Company. According to the postcard addressed to him in the collection, his U.S. military base location was San Francisco, California, where the soldiers embarked for Japan 1947.

Related Material

The Rubenstein Library at Duke University holds a number of photograph albums relating to African American men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces. To find their collection guides, search the Rubenstein collection guides site using the text string "African American soldiers," or contact the Rubestein Library for assistance.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Henry Heyliger photograph album of occupied Japan was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as purchase in 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Alice Poffinberger, March, 2017.

Main entry and contextual information added by Paula Jeannet, November 2017.

Accession described in this collection guide: 2016-0280.