Found Photos

Found Photos – “Pictures from Japan and Elsewhere” Occupied Japan (1947-1949) – By Christoph Traugott

September 20, 2020

In the old-books library vendor portion of Pleasant Hill Antique Mall, East Peoria, Illinois, in the magazine rack section, normally covered by Monkee Spectaculars and other Tiger Beats, Flips, Faves, Teen Mags, and other such magazines, found a treasure-trove.

I’m not sure if the album was new to the store or if I passed by it a zillion times, never looking underneath, but I surmise someone bought the Tiger Beats due to the Peter Tork tragic news, which made this Photo Album visible.

Clarence V. Ward was sent with the US Army to provide ophthalmology care to war-refugee Japanese children and adults as well as American Service personnel. The album is entitled, “Pictures from Japan and Elsewhere”, Occupied Japan era, Captain Clarence V. Ward, US Army from 1947-1949, 28th General Hospital, Osaka, Japan. Clarence resided in Peoria, Illinois (Feb. 13, 1922 – June 5, 2009).

Clarence served in the US Army from 1947-1949, 28th General Hospital, Osaka, Japan attaining the rank of Captain. He graduated from St. Bernard’s Grade School in 1936; Spalding Institute in 1940; University of Notre Dame in 1944 where he earned a BS; and University of St. Louis School of Medicine in 1946.

He served his internship at St. John’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO from 1946-1947; Post Graduate at Northwestern University in Ophthalmology from 1949-1950; Residency at Hines Veterans Hospital in Hines, IL from 1950-1952 in Ophthalmology. He was an Ophthalmologist full time from 1952-1995 and part time from 1996-2004.

US Army Transport General CG Morton. This is the ship Clarence V. Ward first sailed on to Japan.

I was able to track down the family, and grant back the album to his surviving wife, who actually made the album – it had gotten lost in so many moves. The full logistics of how, 65 years later, it ended up behind Tiger Beats in an antique store, would be a tale. The family has graciously allowed for the digitization and display of Ward’s images.

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  • Reply
    Bob Janes
    September 20, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Slightly spooky that people were walking around Hiroshima so soon after the blast. My dad was posted for a few months in Kure, about 5 miles away in the early 50s during the Korean war.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Very, very fascinating photos and equally fascinating story behind them. Great work!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Well done!

  • Reply
    Graham Spinks
    September 20, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Great story and really interesting photos. Glad they found their way home. Thanks for posting.

  • Reply
    Jess Lantz
    September 20, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Wow! Amazing images almost lost into the ether. There is so much visual history disappearing every time a person passes away.

    Do you think years down the road someone will wslj into a Antique shop and spot a hard drive full of history? I think not

  • Reply
    September 20, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    This collection is epic and belongs in the Smithsonian. It was very honorable of you to return the album to the family, I have never seen and image of the dome from this perspective. The hand written “this is the center” words are heart-wrenching.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Rowin
    September 20, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Great job in tracking down and returning this album to the photographer’s family. Only one quibble – the ship in the photo is “US Army Transport General CG Morton” – it says so on the bow of the vessel – not a Navy destroyer.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Wow! Just wow! Great story and, to this retired 20th Century American history teacher, a treasure!

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    September 20, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Excellent story and photos. Thank you to the family for sharing.

  • Reply
    September 20, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    I am aware that the US Army was in Hiroshima not long after the surrender. More so to see the effects of the blast on the city and the people than in helping the poor souls who survived. I know this from my father who landed in Yokohama in August as part of General Eichelberger’s security detail. The General commanded the 8th Army in Japan. My father joined in April 1943 at 17 and got rotated back home on points in April 1946 as a Staff Sergeant. He had lots of interesting stories and insights from that period.

  • Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    September 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm


  • Reply
    D Evan Bedford
    September 20, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    Amazing! Thanks so much for posting.

  • Reply
    Barry Reid
    September 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    A fascinating story and some very special images.

  • Reply
    Gil Aegerter
    September 21, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Wonderful find and story. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I am going to share it with my Japanese friends.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Brilliant presentation! Thanks!

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