Ca. 1917-1919. Oblong Quarto (ca. 18x26,5 cm). 46 card stock leaves. With over 330 original gelatin silver snapshot photographs of various size, from ca. 8x14 cm (3 ¼ x 5 ½ in) to ca. 4x6 cm (1 ½ x 2 ½ in). Most photos with typewritten captions on paper labels mounted nearby, two photos captioned in negative, one photo inscribed by Bacher in the left upper corner. First leaf with white ink manuscript records of Bacher’s service in the Marine Corps. With four mounted pieces of printed ephemera ca. 9x11 cm (3 ½ x 4 ½ in) or slightly smaller. Period dark brown faux crocodile leather album. Binding slightly rubbed on extremities, one leaf detached and loosely inserted, about five photos apparently were removed or relocated in the album, a few images mildly faded, but overall a very good album with strong interesting photos.
Important content-rich thoroughly annotated private album with over two hundred original photographs of the US Marines’ camps, officers and soldiers, military operations, naval ships, Guantanamo naval base, and various Cuban locations (Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo City, Camaguey town, El Morro Castle etc.), taken during the American Sugar Intervention in Cuba in 1917-22. The album was compiled by Clarence Floyd Bacher who served in the 3rd Provisional Brigade of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1917-1919 (127th company, 7th Regiment) and took an active part in the Sugar Intervention. The intervention aimed to protect the interests of the US sugar planters in Cuba whose business suffered after the controversy over the 1916 presidential elections in Cuba triggered an armed rebellion throughout the country.
The album gives an excellent first-hand account of the American Marines’ service and private life in Cuba during the events, rare with this extensive coverage and detail. The photos include general panoramas and close-up views of the 127th company’s camps at the San Juan Hill and near San Luis (Camp la Union) (tents, galley, recreation tent, “block house at San Juan Hill,” “Rough Rider monument, San Juan Hill” etc.), views of drills (“127th camp at the range,” “Cuban rifle range,” “on the 300 yd. line – slow fire”), inspections, trench digging, marches to the countryside (El Christo and El Cobre), “assembly for police work,” competitions with the other companies (i.e. five scenes of a “field meet – 127th co. vs. 128th co. – Feb. 22, 1918,”), et al. There are lively scenes of everyday life (“putting up our first tent,” dining, washing clothes, receiving private mail, singing, joking, playing baseball, celebrating Christmas, partying with Cuban girls, catching crabs, swimming, etc.) Over twenty photos portray and identify the Marines’ officers and privates: “first officers of the 127th company” (Capt. C.E. Beale, 1st Lieut. Howard, 2nd Lieut. Francis), “Major B.F. Gardner – Commandant at San Luis – Camp La Union”, Merle Kelso, Kroll, Sgt. Vannaman, Lamar, Gibbons, Sphuler, Harold B. Swanson, E.L. Wank, Howell, Mckinney & Casey, Larry Higbee, Jack Walsh, Rowland Thomas, M. Triplehorn, Mark B. Tuohy, Lawrence Higbee, Frank Walters, and others; there is also a photo of the company’s dog Buster. Very interesting are the photos of the marines riding in a railway car “en route for Guantanamo City,” and “Drinking to the success of the 18th Amendment in the Casa Grande Bar – July 4th, 1919” (just months before the official start of the Prohibition Era).
Over twenty photos show the American naval base at the Guantanamo Bay, naval ships and sailors (Guantanamo Bay from the Fish Point, USS Mississippi, USS Wyoming, “fourteen-inch guns on USS Pennsylvania,” USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS Utah, hospital ship, destroyer, naval collier, floating target, “Tom Montague and an old windjammer at Caimanera,” seaplanes, “sailors from Atlantic fleet on liberty at Guantanamo Bay”, dock at Caimanera, marine canteen, etc.) Other interesting photos show the city of Santiago de Cuba and environs (Santiago Bay and harbour, streets, city hospital, Vista Allegre neighbourhood, “Red Cross headquarters,” Cuban Agricultural school in San Juan etc.), the main warehouse of the “Confluente Sugar Company Ltd.,” “Guantanamo & Oriente” railway station at San Luis, Morro Castle, Guaso River, Camaguey town and Marines camp, interior of a “native bar,” a portrait of Bacher posing on the steam engine of the “American Locomotive Co.” No. 238, etc. Among the ephemera, there is Bacher’s “troop billet” for the USS “Leviathan” which took him to Cuba in November 1917.
Overall an exceptional visual source on the history of the American Sugar Intervention in Cuba, and the service of the American Marines on the Island in 1917-1919.
The other photos in the album include portraits of Bacher and other Marines taken shortly after his enlistment at the Mare Island naval base, and later on at the US Great Lakes Naval Station, Fort Bliss and Fort Sill military stations. About ninety later private photos (ca. 1920s-1931) show family and friends in Ohio, Seattle, and San Francisco, National Zoo in Washington etc.; ten photos were taken in the town of Columbia, California (“during the fifties a booming gold-town and candidate for site of state capital, now a deserted ghost town”), seven photos - on a “Forty-niner’s parade – Jumping Frog Celebration, Angels Camp, Calif., 1931.” Over forty photos at rear portray a dozen young women across America, often with their full mailing addresses – apparently, Bacher’s girlfriends, although he remained single during the 1940 US Federal Census.
Price: $2,250.00 USD