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Cleon S. Long World War II photograph album of India

Ms. Coll.1172

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Long, Cleon Sylvan, 1910-1964
Cleon S. Long World War II photograph album of India
circa 1945
Call Number:
Ms. Coll.1172
0.2 Linear feet (1 box)
This album consists of more than 80 photographs taken by American serviceman Cleon S. Long, as well as various ephemera, from his time in India during World War II.
Cite as:
Cleon S. Long World War II photograph album of India, circa 1945, Ms. Coll. 1172, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Cleon Sylvan Long was born 1910 in North Dakota to Ruby Anne (Hodgson) Long and Levie Eli Long. Before enlisting in the United States Army during World War II, his civil occupation, according to his enlistment record, was "semiskilled occupation in mechanical treatments of metals (rolling, stamping, forging, pressing, etc.)" in Spokane, Washington. He enlisted as a private in 1942, and was assigned to the Branch Immaterial Warrant Officers, where he appears to have been attached to the 1582nd Ordnance Company (Supply and Maintenance, Avn) in the area of Shamshernagar, in present day Bangladesh. Upon return to Spokane, he married Inez Pierce in 1950 and worked as a machinist. He died in 1964 in Spokane, Washington.

Scope and Contents

This album is composed of over 80 photographs taken by American serviceman Cleon S. Long, as well as various ephemera, from his time in India during World War II. The photographs capture both Long and his fellow servicemen, and a few Indians he encountered. The ephemera includes Long’s dog tag, a newsletter from his boat trip from India, an envelope addressed to “Cleon Stubborn Long,” his motor vehicle operator’s permit and some special passes and ration cards.

Due to the condition of the album, materials were removed and placed in six files. The first five folders contain photographs taken from each page of the album. The last folder is the album itself, now empty, on which a half dozen photos are attached. This last folder also contains Long's dog tag.

Many of the photographs contain detailed captions typed or hand written on the back, as if they were written specifically for someone, such as his mother. The captions are so detailed and consistently present that the overall impression is that of an illustrated diary. Long, who is in some of the photos, displays his sense of humor in many of the captions, “…In case you can’t tell who is the Indian, HE IS IN THE MIDDLE…” or of a photo of him and a friend in their bathing trunks, “Rice and I were again spoiling the beauty of nature in this scene.”

The bulk of the photographs include shots of military personnel in relaxed environments such as the bar, lounging in their swimwear, on boats, or exploring rural areas. Many of these photographs reflect Long and his fellow soldiers' daily life. There are some shots of soldiers working, such as the car mechanic; however, many show soldiers at a lake, probably near Shamshernagar. The collection also documents a trip to Sylhet (modern day Bangladesh) that Long seems to have taken to celebrate his 35th birthday. Many photos depict living conditions, like the housing structure where they slept (a "Basha") and the rows of bunk beds, rows of tents, against the general backdrop of India. There are a fair number of military vehicles captured in the photographs, including tanks, trucks, wreckers, red cross vehicles, and jeeps. One photograph includes a sign for the Automotive Shop. Names of fellow soldiers include: Sgt. Roland C. Brust, Lt. Mahile, Captain Preston, Sgt. Shackleton (Shack), Rice, and Laird.

Local scenery is captured with shots of rice paddies, lakes, Indians working, groups of native Indians, animals like water buffalo, Indian ferries or barges and beggar children.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2016 February 19

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Clémence Scouten

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

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.

Processing Information note

The photographs contained in this collection were being damaged by the original volume due to sticky adhesives. As a result, photographs were removed from the volume and placed into folders. The physical volume can be found in the final folder in this collection; and the order and structure of Long's placement into the album has been preserved.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • United States. Army.
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
Geographic Name(s)
  • Bangladesh--photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--India

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Photographs removed from page 1 of album, circa 1945.

1 1

Photographs removed from page 2 of album, passes, motor vehicle operator's permit, and ration card as well as newsletter The Voyager from September 29, 1945, circa 1945.

1 2

Photographs removed from page 3 of album, circa 1945.

1 3

Photographs removed from page 4 of album, circa 1945.

1 4

Photographs removed from page 5 of album, circa 1945.

1 5

Photograph album (empty) containing photographs probably of Long and 2 other soldiers taped onto inside front cover and envelope and photographs of probably of Long with two women [possibly Inez Pierce and his mother Ruby Long] taped onto inside back cover; also includes a patch for the China, Burma, India Theater glued onto front cover, circa 1945.

1 6

Dog tag, circa 1945.

1 6