Finishing up our Veterans Day series highlighting the rare book Art and the Soldier, Keesler Field, Mississippi, today we hear from the director of the program and the man credited with the publication of the book. The final pages of the book are made up of artistic photographs, most showing both the routine and formal life of the base. There are also brief sections on posters, cartoons, and other more esoteric art that I show just a hint of here to whet your appetites in case you ever run across the book and have a chance to buy it for yourself.
Here’s the Preface by Capt. Klum:
Soldier Art as a branch of Special Service has been fostered for many months by the Office of Chief of Special Services of Washington, D.C. During this time army installations through the nation have developed these projects with remarkable success. Solder Art at Keesler Field, Mississippi, is a typical example of the progress that has been made along these lines. Much evidence is present at this station as to the many benefits that may be derived from a well planned and supervised Solder Art project. Drab surroundings can be changed into cheerful atmospheres thus boosting the morale of the troops. Pride in the individual solder, unit and station is established. The work of talented individuals is not lost in the masses. A pictorial record of an important era in American history is being recorded on canvas. It is pointed out that Solder Art is not purely an American innovation. England and Russia head a list of our allies who have been more active in Soldier Art than our Armed Forces. These facts present a very comforting conclusion and that is, even though we are engaged in an all out war and a struggle to maintain our way of life, the cultural background of a civilized people still exerts itself and maintains its standards.