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Felix N. Prueitt

Photograph Albums

1937 – 1938, 1946– 1948

(bulk dates 1937 – 1938)

 

 

Prints, Photographs, Images Collection Number:  PPI 93 Item 001

Accessioned:  Gift of  Margi Prueitt, 2004

Extent:  .6 ft. (2 volumes)

Content:  Photographs, photograph albums.

Access:  The collection is open for research.

Processed:  November 2004 by Theresa Hessey


Table of Contents


Introductory Note

            Felix N. Prueitt was born on October 23, 1909.  He later joined the U.S. Army and was a member of Company E of the 15th Infantry.  The 15th Infantry had a long history of service in China beginning in 1911, when it was assigned to a peace-keeping mission following the onset of the Chinese Revolution.  Their charge was to protect Chinese citizens as well as American and other foreign nations’ interests in and around the city of Tientsin (Tianjin), a treaty port that had been exacted from China by the British and French in 1860.  The last foreign concessions were abolished in 1946 when city was completely restored to Chinese sovereignty.  The 15th Infantry continued to fulfill its role as protectorate in Tientsin until March 1938 when they left China for Fort Lewis, Washington.  Prueitt was stationed at Camp Burrowes on the outskirts of Tientsin from July 15, 1937 until the unit departed China on March 2, 1938.  During that time, he took numerous photographs of the area and its citizens.  Prueitt’s photograph albums reflect his presence as an American military officer in Tienstin during a critical period when Japan attacked and took the city, but the richer value of the albums is Preuitt’s efforts to collect images documenting the country and culture that surrounded him.

The period of 1937 until 1938 is fully represented in Prueitt’s photographs.  The photographs included in these albums express Prueitt’s interest in all aspects of Chinese culture, including religion, transportation, industry, and customs.  Divided into two albums, the photographs are primarily arranged thematically.  Many of the photographs, primarily black and white 2.5 x 4-inch prints, have descriptions written on the verso.

The smaller of the two albums is inscribed “Felix N. Prueitt, Co. E., 15th Infantry, American Barracks, Tientsin, China, July 15, 1937 to March 2, 1938.”  While it appears that the majority of photographs were taken by Prueitt, in some cases, the photographs are labeled and were evidently acquired or purchased from other sources.  This album includes photographs related to Pieping (Beijing) and the area surrounding the city, religious structures, railway stations, the city of Tientsin and the surrounding area, and a series of photographs related to Buddhist and Daoist images of temples, bells, and other religious shrines.  Also included in this album are photographs depicting Chinese citizens at work, agricultural labor and draft animals, funeral customs, city markets, bound feet, beggars, various modes of transportation, floods, and police and military forces.  Of particular note in this album are the photographs depicting public executions.  These photos are extremely graphic and demonstrate a tendency toward public beheading and bayoneting as forms of punishment and torture.

The second and larger album covers primarily the same time period but includes photographs of Prueitt’s journey on the U.S. Army Transport U.S. Grant, which took Prueitt from New York via the Panama Canal, to San Francisco, Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines before arriving in China in July 1937.  Also included are photographs of Camp Burrowes (near Tientsin) and Prueitt’s barracks, photographs of the city of Tientsin, and photographs of Fort Lewis, Washington.  When Prueitt returned to the United States in March of 1938, he journeyed across America taking photographs along the way.  Prueitt was stationed in Osaka, Japan, in November 1946 and remained in Japan until mid-1948, and the few color photographs in the album date from this period.  During this time, he photographed Osaka, Kamakura, Mount Fuji, and Yokohama. 



Contents List

Volume        Descriptions of Contents

1                                            1937-1938

                        “Felix N. Prueitt, Co. E, 15th Infantry, American Barracks, Tienstin, China, July 15, 1937 to March 2, 1938

                        Contains photographs taken by or acquired by Pruett when he was stationed in Tienstin.  Arranged topically in groups roughly described as below:

 

                        Beijing, the Imperial Palace (“Forbidden City”), the Yihe Yuan (“Summer Palace”), city-scape, and the area surrounding Beijing

 

                        Pagodas and other religious structures, including some Christian

 

                        Railway stations at Tienstin and Chin Wang Tao (Qinhuangdao)

 

                        Tientsin: city scenes, Hai Ho River (Haihe), river craft, traditional and modern bridges, villages in the surrounding area

 

                        Buddhist and Daoist images (some Confucian)

 

                        Agricultural labor and draft animals

 

                        Funeral processions

 

                        Chinese at work

 

                        Modes of transportation: rickshaws, wheelbarrows, human- and animal-drawn vehicles

 

                        Women with bound feet

 

                        Beggars

 

                        Police and military forces in the Foreign Concessions

 

                        Public executions

 

                        Floods


 

2                      1937 – 1938, 1946 – 1948

                        Inside cover: 8 x 10 inch photo of Neptune’s “testimonial” to Prueitt’s sea journey aboard the U.S. Grant, from New York to China via the Panama Canal, San Francisco, Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines

 

                        Photographs from the sea journey, including street scenes from San Francisco, departing the Golden Gate, Hawaii, beaches, etc.  Prueitt arrived in China in July 1937

 

                        Life in Camp Burrowes, outside Tienstin, including pictures of Japanese bombers flying over the camp

 

                        Tientsin and surrounding areas

 

                        American Barracks, Company E, in Tienstin

 

                        Foreign Concessions in Tienstin, particularly the British; includes the U.S. Consulate and the German Embassy with a Nazi flag

 

                        American Occupation of Japan (1946-1848), during which Prueitt served a tour.  Includes images of Osaka, Kamakura, Mount Fuji (in color), and Yokohama

 

                        More images of Tienstin, 1937-1938

 

                        Fort Lewis, Washington, March 1938

 

                        American travel, beginning July 1938: Puget Sound; Painted Canyon, Montana; Wallace Idaho; Coyote, Montana; Indianapolis

 

                        Japanese attack and capture of Tienstin, recording horrific brutality

 

                        Images of the Great Wall, including two 8 x 10 prints


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