Papers (1945-1949 [Bulk 1945]) consisting of black & white photographic prints taken by U.S. Army Master Sergeant Alvis Whitted Mewborn in France, Germany, and Austria, during his service in the 131st Evacuation Hospital, 11th Armored Division, U.S. Third Army, during World War II, featuring photographs of Mauthausen Concentration Camp & Camp Gusen #1, near Mauthausen, Austria, where the Germans held mainly Italian but also Russian and Serbian prisoners of war about 9,000 of whom died in the camp; including views of the prisoners, alive and dead, the underground Messerschmitt factory, the quarry, the railroad siding, the camp cemetery and camp chapel built by the Americans after they liberated the camp; care and treatment of the survivors, etc.; Palais de Chaillot, in Paris, France; Ulm Cathedral in Ulm, Germany; St. Florian's Monastery near Enns, Austria; also views of homes belonging to Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden, Germany; street scenes and the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France; and post-war Mewborn family and fishing scenes in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.
Alvis Whitted Mewborn was born April 22, 1917 in Greene County, North Carolina. He enlisted in the Army during World War II on 21 October 1941 and remained in the Army for four years achieving the rank of Master Sergeant. He served in the 131st Evacuation Hospital, 11th Armored Division, US Third Army in Europe. During the last stages of the war, and the early postwar period, April - November 1945, the 131st Evacuation Hospital was stationed at Camp Gusen I, near Mauthausen, Austria, a German concentration camp for Italian, Russian, and Serbian prisoners of war. When the unit arrived many of the camp inmates were sick and starving and near death from years of mistreatment. Camp Gusen I was part of the Mauthausen camp complex where prisoners were forced to work for the Germans. The 131st Evacuation Hospital provided food, clothing, medical care, and burial for the many prisoners of war who died during this time and built a cemetery and chapel and other facilities. As the unit travelled through France, Germany, and Austria, Mewborn photographed many scenes documenting the end of the war, including the Camp Gusen I and its inmates, alive and dead, and the surrounding towns and countryside, and including views of the Paris, France, Ulm Germany, Enns, Austria, and the bombed-out homes of Adolph Hitler and Hermann Goering at Berchtesgaden, Germany. After his service in the war Mewborn returned to NC and married Martha Jones in August of 1966 and for 37 years he was the President of the Bethel Branch of Wachovia Bank. He was a member, deacon, and Sunday school teacher of Bethel Baptist Church. Alvis Mewborn died on July 23, 1999 at his home in Bethel, NC at the age of 82. Mewborn's niece, Ms. Monica Fleming, was the donor of the collection.
The Alvis Mewborn Papers is arranged in one series of black & white photographic prints with two subseries. The first subseries consists of photographic prints that Alvis Mewborn took during his service in the U. S. Army during World War II. Subseries 1 includes images taken in France, Austria and Germany in May-June 1945. The images from World War II include photographic prints of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp & Camp Gusen #1, near Mauthausen, Austria during April 1945, including images of Camp, including the underground Messerschmitt factory, cemetery, chapel, and gallows. These photographic prints include many images of the mass graves for many of the inmates of the camp, as well as images of those who survived the camp and were under the care of Mewborn's unit. Also found are images of the 131st Evacuation Hospital; St. Florian's Monastery near Enns; views of homes belonging to Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden, Germany; street scenes in Paris, including an image of Le Palais de Chaillot. Many of the photographs were developed and printed by The Baldwin Studio, St. Louis, Missouri, Autumn 1945.
The Subseries 2 consists of black & white photographic prints taken by Alvis Mewborn after he returned from World War II, ca. 1946-1949. These photographs record one or more family fishing trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the fish that they caught on their trip.
Gift of Ms. Monica Fleming
Processing & preliminary inventory by Cynthia Sharp, 1/22/2010; revised & encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 2/8/2010; processing by William Reinhardt, 4/25/2012; final inventory by William Reinhardt, 4/26/2012; revised & encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 11/14/2012
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.