April 10, 1941


On April 10, 1941, the German and Italian invaders of Yugoslavia set up the Independent State of Croatia (also including Bosnia and Herzegovina), and place nationalist leader Ante Pavelic in control of what is no more than a puppet Axis regime.

At home, Joel Dardis is explores different sites in Death Valley with the troop, taking in the views and practice photography.

This series starts with few images around the Furnace Creek Hotel.

Furnace Creek Hotel, April 10, 1941

There’s an interesting shot of the outside staircase.

Furnace Creek Hotel Outside staircase, April 10, 1941

And some left-over Borax wagons with an unidentified young woman posing. Since the date on that images is April 11, I feel safe to assume the troop spent the night from April 10-11 at the Furnace Creek Hotel.

Borax wagons in Death Valley at Furnace Creek, April 11, 1941

There’s also an image taken at Death Valley Junction. There’s a reference to Don Jont (sic), no further information available.

And Miss WIens is featured (again) at the hotel, taking a break.

Adina Maria Wiens, April 10, 1941, at the Furnace Creek Hotel

I did a quick genealogy resource check to find the only Miss WIens in the Stockton area would have been Adina Maria Wiens, born in 1910, South Russia what is now Ukraine, of American missionary parents, en-route to China through Russia. The 1940 Census indicates she’s studying science and later documents confirm that. Miss Wiens marries Gordon Robinson in 1943. She supported herself through school working in packing houses in the San Joaquin Valley and as a nanny and housekeeper. She served as an instructor at Sacramento State College and as Associate Professor at Stockton Junior College.

Joel Dardis graduated from St-Mary’s High school in 1940 and enrolled in Stockton Junior College in 1941. So, it’s very much possible that this whole Death Valley trip was organized by Stockton Junior College.

Dante’s View, April 10, 1941

A visit to Death Valley is not complete without Dante’s View. (the above slide has some quality issues.)

A second shot at Dante’s View has Mary (Odell) Ranney posing. Mary is featured in the Blue and White Stockton High School yearbook of 1937 on page 41.

Mary Odell Ranney at Dante’s View on April 10, 1941

This series of Kodachromes ends with an image of Mount Whitney, still on April 10, and in the last shots, we’re again at Walker Pass. This time, there’s snow on the ground.

The young lady in both shots is unidentified.

Snow on Joshua Tree, Walker Pass, April 11, 1941
Snow and Joshua Tree at Walker Pass, April 11, 1941.

What a difference a few days can make.

Joel is at this time clearly still in an exploratory snapshot mode, he does however make a serious attempt at documenting location, date and subject where possible.

We really don’t know how many rolls of film he shot on this trip or how many of these shots were acceptable and survived. But he was an early adopter of color photography early on. These are the earliest Kodachromes in my collection of multiple photographers and found objects.

There is still the question of which camera he used on this trip or for the two rolls of B&W film he shot in high school. That is speculation for later, there may be a hint in later images shot with a 620 or 120 film camera of sorts.

Cheers !


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