Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Colored Lantern Slides from the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army became an innovator during the 19th century at using hand-colored slides to document and promote their service. The early projectors or lanterns they used were illuminated by gas-heated lime-blocks. Naturally, they used the technology to record their work in France during the Great War.

Susan Mitchem of the Salvation Army National Archives has provided these image for us.

Only One Bag Allowed

A Larger Service Hut

The Troops at Leisure

Supply Truck with Salvation Army Sign

Doughboys on Their Way to the Front

Burial Service

A Salvation Army Ensign Baking Pies

The Most Popular Contribution to the Doughboy's Well Being

Lining Up for Doughnuts


  1. What a fine discovery from the old media archives.
    I wonder about the process for hand-coloring these.

  2. The slide titled "Burial Service" is actually of Quentin Roosevelt's grave in Chamery. He was shot down within German lines on July 14, 1918. and buried where he crashed. The location was crudely marked with a cross fashioned from wire and wood from his Nieuport and other parts of the craft. One of the plane's wheels can be seen in the slide. Chamery was taken from the Germans by American troops a few weeks later. This slide was probably taken a shortly afterwards in late July or August. The grave became a major attraction for soldiers and civilians.Visiting it took on the characteristics of a pilgrimage. The grave's markings became increasingly elaborate. Roosevelt's mother honored his memory by having a large fountain built in Chamery. In 1955 His body was moved to the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy.

  3. The Salvation Army Donut Dollies were a forerunner of the Red Cross Donut Dollies of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The women who volunteered to serve in these capacities need special recognition for bravery and commitment to service.

  4. Agree with theowlpress. These ladies provided hot coffee and donuts as close to the front as possible. A cup of coffee, donut, served by an American girl brought home that much closer. World War I was the start, as a Vietnam veteran, coffee and donuts worked wonders when blue.

  5. I still remember in the Nam when the Doughnut Dollies brought out to our forward position their selves which was very nice indeed, but also these ping bong paddle devices with the rubber band attached with a little rubber ball at the end that you could play with until your hearts content. Until it broke of course. I thought it a little ludicrous for a combat unit, but the girls were sure cute and friendly. Illya Kuryakin