Collection (1942-1946, 1957, 1989), including photographic prints, a scrapbook, a manuscript, and a recreational map of the U. S.
Wilbur Kenneth Bragg was born in Kansas on September 27, 1922, and grew up in California. He enlisted in the 942nd Engineer Aviation Topographic Battalion, 8th U.S. Air Force as a photographer on November 16, 1942. The job of this battalion included mapping, accessing, and photographing bomb damage, as well as acquiring military intelligence. Bragg next served in Bakersfield, California, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lebanon, Tennessee, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Then, on March 1, 1944 he was assigned to leave for Bristol, England. From March 1944 until February 1946, Bragg documented the war and civilian life in England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany and Switzerland with his photography. He returned to the United States on March 6, 1946 and was discharged on March 13, 1946. In 1968 Bragg moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina to set up a photography studio, and died on October 6, 2004.
The papers are divided into the series of Aerial Reconnaissance Photographic Prints, Scrapbooks, Oversized Materials, Photographic Prints and Printed Materials. The photographs in this collection taken by Wilbur Kenneth Bragg reflect both military and civilian life in Europe during and after World War II, from 1942 to 1946. The subjects of the photographs in the scrapbook include civilians, soldiers, pets, landscapes, historic structures, military camps, bombers, and bomb damage in England, Wales, Scotland, France, Germany, and Switzerland. Of particular interest are the photographs in the scrapbook showing bombing attacks in progress, bomb damage in England and Germany, the Glenn Miller Band and Dinah Shore at the 200th Mission celebration, the remains of Benito Mussolini and his mistress, and the VE Day celebrations at Connings. The collection also contains separate photographic prints of England, France, and Germany. Of particular interest are the aerial reconnaissance photographic prints of the Pinetree Camp in England. Printed materials within the collection include a 1945 pamphlet entitled Hitler Passed This Way: 170 Pictures from the London Times Evening News, that contains images illustrating the effects of the Blitzkrieg of 1940 on London; and a 1989 manuscript entitled History of the 942nd Engineer Aviation Topographic Battalion April 4, 1944 – November 20, 1945, World War II, European Theatre of Operations, by Robert des Granges. The manuscript contains a note from the author to Bragg: "Will, To a very good army buddy and friend of many years. Hope you enjoy the book. Bob des." Also present is a 1957 Rand McNally recreational map of the United States. This map features national parks, recreational areas, national forests, Indian reservations, wild life game refuges, highways, trails and state parks. See container list for further details.
Gift of Jane Bragg
Encoded by Mark Custer, December 31, 2007
Processed by A. Keeny April 2009
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.