World War I Era Living Portraits: July, 1918.

World War I Era Living Portraits: July, 1918. 18,000 soldiers and officers gathered at Camp Dodge, Iowa to assemble into these patriotic formations, all in an effort to gather support for the war effort. Photographers Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas captured images of an Eagle, the Statue of Liberty, Woodrow Wilson and even Uncle Sam. Many of the men, dressed in wool uniforms, fainted in the 105 degree heat.

H/T to Huff Po Arts for showcasing this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/mole-and-thomas-sculpture_n_1300470.html?

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10 Responses to World War I Era Living Portraits: July, 1918.

  1. Rich Pollett says:


    Truly some amazing and stirring images, thanks so much. And the story behind these is amazing.

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    I was astounded when I came across them, Rich Pollett ! Forgot to add that they are now at Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago.


  3. What a find! And the history…thanks


  4. They imitated North Korea before it was cool. Similar stuff (sorry, but I’m unable to perceive this as pretty or otherwise positive) was performed in the CSSR every five years, called Spartakiad (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartakiad_%28Czechoslovakia%29 (the czech article is better, for those who can read it)). This was publicly described as a major sports event, and only during my last year there I learned that it is not about sports at all, but only using humans as pixels.

  5. Rajini Rao says:


    Using humans as pixels: very true, Ralf Muschall . Perhaps standard propaganda in old communist nations, but extraordinary in terms of American history.

  6. Norman M. says:


    Wonderful time travel pics.


  7. I think you’ve got a mistake in the story write-up. It’s impossible to have 105 degrees heat on ground. Maybe fahrenheit?

  8. Rajini Rao says:


    Oliver Tabone , yes Fahrenheit since this is in the USA! 🙂

  9. Matt Kuenzel says:


    I just finished counting the soldiers and there are only 17,989.

  10. Rajini Rao says:


    Matt Kuenzel , 11 of them fainted in the 103 degree Fahrenheit temperature and had to be carted away 😉 Thanks for the corrections!

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