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Harold A. Budke World War II photograph album of India


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Captain Harold A. Budke was a medic in the United States Army, posted in Calcutta from 1945 to 1946. Harold A. Budke was born on April 2, 1914, in St. Louis, Missouri, and died on January 25, 1997. He graduated from the Washington Center, School of Medicine in Missouri in 1940; married Lillian V. Mallen, a nurse who graduated from St. Mary's School of Nursing in Missouri in 1940; and worked as a physician in Kansas City, Missouri, from at least 1952 to 1960.

Evidence in the photograph album indicates that Budke traveled to India aboard the U.S.S. General A.W. Greely, from April to May, 1945. Upon arriving in India, it appears that Budke was stationed in Calcutta where he was the officer-in-charge of the U.S. Army Dispensary. He also appears to have been in charge of embarking patients on the USS Marine Panther which left Calcutta on January 26, 1946. It is unclear if Budke traveled on the USS Marine Panther or was simply in charge of preparing it for departure.

This collection is composed of one volume of photos and ephemera taken in India in 1945 and 1946 by Captain Harold A. Budke, a doctor in the United States Army. The photos primarily chronicle Captain Budke's time in Calcutta. About half the album represents his leisure time, including photographs of himself, travel to places like Darjeeling, the Himalayas, a hunting trip, and sailing expeditions. The album also includes photographs of life in Calcutta and some photographs of military activity. In addition to photographs, the album contains newspaper clippings, a few copies of "Salt" the daily publication of the USS General A.W. Greely, invitations to parties, as well as various badges and correspondence. Some loose photos, indicating that Captain Budke likely went to Egypt, Italy and France and some paper money from China, Japan and India were removed from the album and placed in folders.

The Calcutta street scenes Captain Budke assembled are remarkable for their clear presentation, along with his detailed captions, of some of the customs and the extreme poverty present in Calcutta and other areas he visited. Of particular interest may be the images of sacrificing animals; funeral pyres; the process of collecting, drying and distributing cow patties for fuel; and amusements like a very primitive Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. There are also photographs of locals in specific jobs such as street sweepers and rickshaw drivers. In addition, there are photographs of bazaars, markets, and shopping areas; methods of transportation; and restaurants. As a doctor, Captain Budke was also able to identify certain diseases in passers-by which are present in his photographs, such as a beggar with elephantiasis and a child with a "favus" infection. In contrast, Budke also documents the leisure side of Calcutta, including photographs of the Royal Calcutta Race Track. Researchers will also find newspaper clippings regarding mobs and riots in Calcutta, probably in late 1945, although none of the articles are dated.

Captain Budke also documented his work in the military. There are photographs of the United States Central Dispensary and the School of Tropical Medicine. There are several photographs of the freighter U.S.S. Albert K. Smiley unloading "Lewisite" bombs into the Bay of Bengal in November, 1945. These bombs were removed from Kancharapara, "the largest ammunition depot in the world." Numerous photographs document GI's embarking on the USS Marine Panther; with a focus on patient transportation, its hospital ward, the operating room and sick bay, and hospital corpsmen. Some of the military personnel identified by name in the album include Lt. Willis, Lt. Michaelson, Major Junkermann, Major Vernon Irby and Capt. Wieder. There is also a group photograph of African-American soldiers, signed by everyone in the picture.

Purchased, 2008.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Clémence Scouten
Finding Aid Date
2015 November 24
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This collection is open for research use.

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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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Harold A. Budke photograph album, 1945-1946.
Box 1 Folder 1
Photographs of Egypt, France, and Italy, circa 1945-1946.
Box 1 Folder 2
Paper money (Chinese, Indian, and Japanese), circa 1945-1946.
Box 1 Folder 2

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