French Riviera, Beach Party, June 1945


All the negatives in this blogpost are courtesy Liz Schuler.

We know Joel photographed during his service in World War II. We’ve seen images of his training, his trip across the country to different camps, and one image of a camp mate scrubbing a latrine.

The images in this envelope had both negatives and printed positives. The film format is 40mm x 40mm, or type 127, a 46mm wide, unperforated film strip.

It is not clear which camera Joel used to shoot this format, hopefully, we find evidence in later images.

Envelope posted May 20, 1944 from P Lut, Camp RItchie to Joel’s APO box.

Since there were two subjects covered by the negatives, I guess that the first set of golf images were sent in this envelope. In May 1944 Joel was in England.

There was a second envelope in the above envelope with the negatives, sixteen 1:1 contact prints and the following note.

Details about the Red Cross Beach party Joel, and others, attended on June 27, 1945 in Nice, Côte d’Azure, France. Beach located at the ANGLETERRE HOTEL (English Hotel)

Thanks to the prints and Joel’s habit of writing down information on the back, we now have more information of what was playing that day.

Joel is at the French Riviera from at least June 22, 1945 till June 27, 1945. He photographs and keeps track of dates and events. The captions are as found on the back of the print Joel had made from the negatives.

Nice, France, June 22, 1945, a French Girl

From this June 22, 1945 image, it jumps to Grasse and Cannes, both French Riviera cities, with a date of June 24, 1945. It is not clear if there are more images to be found.

Grasse, France, Riviera, June 24, 1945, One GI, Red Cross, French Girl
Grasse, France, June 24, 1945, One GI, Red Cross, French Girl
Grasse, France, Riviera, June 24, 1945, French Girl Guide
Grasse, France, Riviera, June 24, 1945, French Girl Guide, Red Cross Club
Cannes, France, June 24, 1945, French Girl Guide,Hôtel de la Mer in the background

The rest of the images were taken at the Red Cross Beach Party in Nice on June 27, 1945.

The rubber boat, Nice, France, June 27, 1945
Nice, France, June 27, 1945, American Red Cross Club, SHIRLEY RYAN, Seattle Washington
Nice, France, June 27, 1945, French Girl Guide
American Red Cross girl, Nice, France, June 27, 1945 – SHIRLEY RYAN, Seattle Washington

Joel is clearly in his element in the more candid images.

Nice, France, June 27, 1945, a GI Corp of the Red Cross, French Guides

And of course, when a girl wants to model, Joel obliges. I’m very partial to this series, especially the last image as it represents Joel in casual “Cheesecake” form. Cigarettes were “in”.

Nice, France, June 27, 1945, French Girl Guide
Nice, France, June 27, 1945, Beach Party, Red Cross, French Girl Guide
Nice, France, June 27, 1945, Red Cross, French Girl Guide
Nice, France, Red Cross Club, June 27, 1945, CHARLOTTE LEE KILBOURN
Nice, France, June 27, 1945, American Red Cross Girl, CHARLOTTE LEE KILBOURN, Portland, Oregon
Nice, France, June 27, 1945, Red Cross, French Girl Guide

The next negatives are all from what looks like golf practice. The quality is pretty poor as they were copies from the original negatives, so there’s a generation of optical loss in the process.

Golf practice
Golf practice
Golf practice

The last negative was in poor shape and I had to crop some of the damage off before cleaning up. It shows a photographer with a press formate Graflex Speed Graphic in action on the green.

Photographer with press Graflex Speed Graphic in action, using coupled rangefinder in portrait mode

As for the two American Red Cross girls in the images, following information for the genealogists tracking this blog.

Charlotte Lee Kilbourn was born March 20, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois, but lived with her parents in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon by the 1940 Census. She returned from France on June 12, 1946, departing Le Havre and arrived in New York, NY on June 22, 1946, as part of a large Red Cross repatriation effort.

Charlotte Lee Kilbourn, 1938, Grant High School, Portland, Oregon

Shirley Ryan was born October 23, 1923 in Seattle, King, Washington. Shirley was the President of the Associated Women Student Council in 1942 at Pullman, Washington State University and was active in many student organisations

Shirley Ryan, 1942, Pullman, Washington State University

It was refreshing to see these images, there’s hope for more finds like these.

Cheers !

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