21-Year Old WWII Soldier’s Sketchbooks Are Visual Diary of War
November 16, 2019 1:41 AM Subscribe
21-Year Old WWII Soldier’s Sketchbooks Reveal a Visual Diary of His Experiences
A visual diary with 158 pencil sketches brings to life the wartime experience of noted architect Victor A. Lundy, who served in the U.S. 26th Infantry Division during World War II. In 1942, Lundy was 19, studying to be an architect in New York City. Excited about rebuilding Europe post-war, he and other college men enlisted in the Army Special Training Program (ASTP). But, by 1944, with D-Day planned, the Army needed reinforcements, and Lundy and his company were thrown into the infantry. Lundy couldn't believe it and recalled during an oral history interview that during lectures, he "never listened, I was busy sketching." But soon, "I sort of took to it. ... war experience just hypnotizes young men."
Lundy, who is now 92, recalls his inability to listen during lectures. “I was busy sketching,” he admits. During his time in the infantry, he continued to sketch in his pocket-sized notebooks. The drawings, which were created between May and November 1944—when Lundy was wounded—take us from his initial training in Fort Jackson to the front lines in France. The vivid images show everything from air raids to craps games for cigarettes. A sense of longing for home is a recurring theme in his sketches, which include detailed drawings of his bunk as well as particularly dream-like drawing, titled Home Sweet Home, that shows a soldier lounging on a hammock.
Lundy, who went on to have an acclaimed architecture career, donated his eight sketchbooks to the Library of Congress in 2009. The sketchbooks have all been digitally archived and are now available for viewing online. Lundy’s gift is a precious one, as in this age of continued war and terror it is more important than ever to learn from our past history.
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