While National Elephant Appreciation Day may not be officially recognized as a Federal Holiday, its upcoming celebration (September 22nd) provided an excuse for an expedition through our holdings in the Still Picture Branch.
The search for elephants, as it is for all animals here in Still Picture, starts with an established finding aid specifically catered toward beasts of the wild (and domestic!). The finding aid, located in our Research Room at College Park, provides a reliable entry point, turning up images like these highlights from 208-MO, Photographs of American Military Operations, 1942 – 1945, and 127-GVB, Black and White Photographs of Marine Corps Activities in Vietnam, 1962 – 1975, respectively.
From there, brushing through the Army Signal Corps card catalog (111-SC, Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 – ca. 1981), also located in our Research Room, reveals more images containing these colossal creatures. From Red Cross Christmas Parades in Sri Lanka,
to Women’s Army Corps (WACs) personnel observing elephant bath time in Myanmar,
Signal Corps photographers have documented elephants in the foreground and background of a variety of shots and locations.
Across these images, it’s clear: the role elephants played within these communities was one of mammoth importance. And what’s more, they are just utterly magnificent animals to observe.