Archive for October 12th, 2018

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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