Caldwell Collection: Days in Mexico and England, 1941-1945

February 23 - April 19, 2008

Picnic at Magna Carta Cottage, England, 1944

"Picnic at Magna Carta Cottage, England, 1944" Photo by Charles Y. Caldwell, Jr., Army photographer

On display beginningSaturday, February 2310 AM to 2 PM,are fifty-five images and associated material from the Caldwell collection,Days in Mexico and England, 1941-1945:  Photographs by Charles Y. Caldwell, Jr.  The collection is on loan from his son, Charles Y. Caldwell III, Hampden-Sydney Class of 1971. 

Charles Y. Caldwell, Jr. was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1919 and died in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1991.  In 1937, he joined the staff of The Commercial Appeal, the morning newspaper in Memphis, and a year later, at the age of 19, he became a staff photographer.  Caldwell was inducted into the U.S. Army in September 1941, serving in the European Theater of Operations until his discharge in November 1945.  After his discharge, he re-joined The Commercial Appeal.  In 1949, Caldwell joined the staff of WMCT, the mid-south's first television station, where he became film director and chief photographer.  

Early in his career, in 1941, Caldwell and a reporter traveled to Monterrey, Cuernavaca, Taxco, Mexico City, and other areas in Mexico for the purpose of promoting tourism in Mexico since the European War prevented Americans from vacationing there.

Stationed in England with the U.S. Army from May 1942 to October 1945, Staff Sgt. Tech. Caldwell supervised the operation of a still photographic laboratory at the Army Pictorial Service where he was in charge of about 25 technicians developing negatives, making contact prints and enlargements, and sorting prints of ground force operations in the European Theater of Operations.  His group developed pictures of the French coastline for the Normandy invasion.

The photographs of the English countryside in this exhibition were taken for his personal use.  Since they had no military significance, they passed the censors. They feature his Army buddies, his English girlfriend, Pamela Luson, as well as members of her family, and his brother, William P. Caldwell, who was a midshipman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. 

A program and reception, free and open to the community, will be held on Tuesday, March 4, at 4 PM.  The collection will be on exhibit until April 19.  The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum is located on College Road at Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia.  Hours are Tuesday - Friday, 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM and other times by appointment.  For more information about the museum and other programs, please contact Director-Curator Angie Way at 434-223-6134.