Walter Lewis scrapbooks of the 761st Tank Battalion
Held at: African American Museum in Philadelphia [Contact Us]701 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Walter Lewis, a Philadelphia resident, was the historian of the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association. During World War II, he served as a gunner in the 761st Tank Battalion.
The 761st Tank Battalion, active during World War II, was one of the first African American armored units to enter combat. The battalion was formed in 1942 and, after receiving a rating of superior, was deployed to Europe and landed on Omaha Beach in France on October 10, 1944. Later on, the 761st was given the nickname of the Black Panther Tank Battalion and was eventually assigned to General George S. Patton, Jr.'s Third Army. The battalion saw combat in six countries, endured 183 days of continual combat, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. The soldiers of the 761st were highly decorated. Many soldiers received honors such as the silver star, purple heart, and bronze star. In 1949, the battalion began to have reunions, and eventually formed the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association.
Dr. Phil Latimer, a retired engineering professor, advocated for honors, recognition, and a Presidential Unit Citation for the 761st Tank Battalion. Before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve, Dr. Latimer served as a Captain and Battalion Supply Officer with the 761st, one of only eight white officers to do so.
Lewis, Walter. Diary of a Gunner. Document found in collection.
The 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association. "The 761st Tank Battalion." Accessed January 7, 2014. http://www.761st.com.
The collection consists of scrapbooks and one loose box of items, containing mostly clippings and correspondence about the 761st Tank Battalion and honors it received. There are also programs and planning documents, ticket stubs for travel, and speeches from reunions and award ceremonies. Some photographs are included in the collection, a few of which are from World War II, especially of soldiers who were killed in action. Of special interest is a personal account by gunner and Battalion Historian Walter Lewis (1964).
Gift of Edgar Hammock, 1989 (AAMP.G89.038).
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact African American Museum in Philadelphia directly for more information.
- African American Museum in Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact African American Museum in Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.