Archive for October, 2018

The 36th Division Campaign Maps mystery has been solved. After speaking with many other archives and museums that had the same amount of information as the USD archives, I spoke with someone from the Texas Military Forces Museum. She was able to provide much more information than we were expecting, and it’s some interesting stuff!

The maps were printed and distributed by the 36th Division during their German occupation in 1945 and handed out to soldiers, like a souvenir to take home. They show major battles, including ones we now know for certain Frederick Cullen Burton played a role.

The Texas Military Forces Museum was also able to tell us more about the battles Burton fought. Burton served with Company F of the 143rd Infantry Regiment under the 36th Infantry Division from December 4, 1943 to January 12, 1945. Burton joined the 36th right before the Rapido River battle in Italy, where he was one of fifteen men of his unit of 153 not be killed, wounded, or missing in action. The two day Rapido River battle can be seen on the map in the previous post. He later transferred to Company G and was Killed in Action on January 21, 1945, in Germany. The assumption is that he was killed during the battle at Bowden Woods where both his previous and current companies were under heavy attack. This battle is shown on the map below provided by the Texas Military Forces Museum, and the town Hagenau/Haguenau can be found on both the previously posted map of Germany and the new map below.

The new materials have been added to Burton’s collection, and the maps now have some context. Thanks to the archivists we spoke to in the past weeks and the Texas Military Forces Museum for helping us solve this mystery!

jan 21 1945 map

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The Digital Library of South Dakota has a new URL: https://explore.digitalsd.org.

We have a new look as well. If you haven’t visited recently, take a look around, we’re always adding new material and collections.


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The Archives and Special Collections contain some great materials, but we don’t always know the full story behind them.

To provide some background, the maps below are from Frederick Cullen Burton’s collection of manuscripts, photos, documents, and poems. Frederick attended USD as a journalism major before joining the Royal Air Force in Canada to fight in World War II. He was discharged and joined the Army when the US joined the war. Frederick was killed in action and is buried in Epinal, France at the American Military Cemetery. His papers, poems, maps, diaries, and short stories are here in the Archives.

Frederick Cullen Burton’s collection was pulled this week, and some maps from the 36th Infantry were found, following their campaign through Italy and then through France, Germany, and Austria during World War II. These maps are drawn almost like a cartoon, with surrendering Nazi soldiers and little doodles indicating regions, like grapes in southern France and olive oil bottles in Italy. The maps are perfectly accurate, following the 36th as they moved through Italy, were then relieved after Rome was taken by Allied powers, and then began their French and German campaign. They show where the 36th encountered major battles and where they ended before shipping home. What the maps don’t show is where they were printed, when they were printed, or who even printed them.

They could be a publication from the 36th themselves, printed on base, or from the Army, or from the Fort Worth base they were deployed from. Maps similar to these exist for other divisions, though they aren’t nearly as fun. Other archives and collections have copies of these same maps, but these entities don’t list the origin either. Were maps like these printed as souvenirs once the war ended, or were they an unauthorized joke among the veterans? Were they printed by a private company that worked with someone from the 36th, and distributed them to show where their soldiers went during the conflict? These questions are important, because our man Frederick was killed long before the 36th ended their campaign, and these maps made their way into his papers and collections. How did his friends and family come to have them? Why?

I’ll be looking deeper into the origin of these maps this week, and hopefully have an answer soon!

campaigns of the 36th france germany austria

The 36th infantry landed in France and moved through Germany, ending their campaign in Austria. Frederick Cullen Burton was killed in action in France, and is buried at the American cemetery in Epinal.

campaigns of the 36th italy

Before moving on to France, the 36th began the war in Italy, helping the Allied powers regain Rome from the Axis.

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The Archives and Special Collections at the University of South Dakota began in October 1968 when Herbert Schell was appointed the first University Archivist. He was largely responsible for organizing The University of South Dakota’s historical records into the USD Archives. His extensive letter writing campaign between 1968 and 1971 added many collections of professional and personal papers from prominent South Dakotans to the Richardson Collection.


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