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Thread: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

  1. #11
    Tim Sandstrom
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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    Poignant report, thanks for sharing. Our lives are richer for the stories.
    -Tim

  2. #12
    Jim Graves Jim Graves's Avatar
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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    Really, really nice story ... and much better that Master Gunnery Sergeant Todd's personal memories live on with someone who appreciates him and what he did.

    Thanks, Garrett

  3. #13
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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    As a former Marine officer and later a civilian historian for the Marine Corps, may I suggest that someday the items be donated to the National Museum of the Marine located at Quantico, Virginia. Such collections are welcomed, and will be protected and preserved (and perhaps exhibited at some point in the Museum). I've donated my files related to my doctoral dissertation which was on a Marine Corps topic, and I need to donate some more. If my family is interested in seeing my stuff, it will always be available for viewing or research at Quantico.

    Keith

  4. #14
    Large Format Rocks ImSoNegative's Avatar
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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    I really enjoy reading things like this, excellent story Garrett
    "WOW! Now thats a big camera. By the way, how many megapixels is that thing?"

  5. #15

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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    Thanks Keith, I may do that one day. But read my earlier post, about the sheer numbers of aviators, and their life's artifacts. Also, know that a museum is not obligated to keep a donation forever. I've seen many donated items get back into the market when a museum does a funding drive. For example, this USMC WWII uniform was at a museum auction this year. I'm sure the family that donated it thought it would always be maintained and displayed at the museum. From what I can tell they didn't keep it 10 years. I bought it to save it. My point is, museums don't want something unless it's very special, though to me, this aviator certainly was!



    I think museums sell their common items (like my coffee cup and uniform items), to afford the big, expensive items like this (Pensacola Air museum shot this summer):


  6. #16

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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    That Corsair in the background has reminded me of my hobby as a youth, model building. I was so enthralled with flying that I had memorized seemingly all there was to know about WWII aircraft. I made a very detailed model of the Corsair, my all-time favorite, Navy blue w/ white underside. I also made a model of a
    CO^2 propelled midget racer that was mounted on a plank of varnished wood, which during my college years was converted to a desk lamp by mounting (on the wood) a piston/connecting road made into a tilting lamp. Just before graduation from university I had a physical in an attempt to fly for the Marines and was rejected due to having the eye sight of a 27yo - I recall thinking "27!!! My God, that's ancient."

  7. #17
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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    Garrett,

    The National Museum of the Marine Corps and all other museums run by the Federal government and staffed by professional civilian curators do NOT sell the artifacts in their custody. Period. But that is not true of your Mom-and-Pop museum in the local shopping mall. The latter type museum all too often lasts only until the original enthusiastic owner dies or retires. Items in the government museum collections will be preserved as long as the USA exists.

    The Marine Corps' museum does have many artifacts that are not on display, but the collections are still available to researchers. For example, the museum's weapons collection included a set of M-16 rifles with one complete rifle for every modification of the weapon. The number of modifications was larger than the number of parts in the original rifle.

    Your point about the huge number of certain types of artifacts is correct. In the early 80's, I (as a USMC civilian historian) managed to get myself enrolled in a one-week course conducted by the Smithsonian on photographing artifacts. My jaw dropped when the instructors from the photo department said they had just finished photographing the Smithsonian's entire 50,000-plus collection of pocket watches. But what a resource for researchers specializing in the history of pocket watches. (And, as an amateur photographer, I have wondered about what size collection of Leica and large format cameras is in the Smithsonian.)

    I understand and appreciate your feelings on those USMC artifacts not being wanted by the veteran's family. They are my feelings too. But do keep open the option of contacting the National Museum of the Marine Corps to see if it is interested in accessioning the items in your custody.

    Keith

  8. #18

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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    It's true the best national museums like the Smithsonian maintain very good collections, preserving the history. But it's also true that every generation or two interests change. In the 1950s there were a lot of outstanding collections of Confederate civil war items, but those are now closed. Yet, it was a very important part of my family history. The Liberace museum recently closed, as will Graceland one day I'm sure. These entertainers are certainly not as important as the average WWII GI. But there was only one of them, and 4,000,000 GIs, each with a uniform, bayonet, M-1! For the past 10 years I've scoured the country looking for photography shops and museums that are all closing. I bought a Daguerreotype camera from one that used to be "very big." Here is the museum that sold the USMC uniform, and lots of other stuff this year. https://www.390th.org/ It's in the Pima Air Museum, which makes the Pensacola Air Museum look tiny. They have a Wright flyer, a B-36, and an SR-71, for example. But they sold the "common" uniform items, which I and others bought. It's an internationally known museum, not a mom and pop strip mall museum. They all only remain open as long as there is interest, and the money it brings.

    America is a relatively young country. When I was in Europe it was common to find items at the flea market that were older than America! It's often the collectors of obscure eras that keep the history alive. Look at our forum here. As Large Format collapsed in the past 20 years, there were no museums keeping the flame alive. They all shut down, as everyone went to digital. But hardcore enthusiasts started this forum, and contributed to several Renaissances like the Wetplate boom, Soft Focus, etc. Meanwhile, I know of at least 5 antique photography museums that closed, and sold me very rare lenses. At one time photography was one of the top businesses in America. Every town had a dozen development shops, camera stores, and Kodak employed 20,000 people in Rochester. Today, it's all but forgotten......

    I will keep an open mind, but I doubt the National Museum of the Marine Corps would want every family with a USMC coffee cup, EGA collar insignia, or sergeant's uniform to start contacting them. Their phones would be ringing off the hooks for years!

  9. #19

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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    Sir:
    I had the honor to serve with Master Guns Todd at MCAS Cherry Point NC MARS-27. in 1962 He was a true American Hero
    but you would never know it. He was a mentor and magnificent role model to me and many others. When my son was born in Philadelphia, he flew me up in a Sandy,(A-1E) and picked me up and flew back to Cherry Point "just because". I never forgot his kindness and huge smile. If you ever choose to get rid of one of the leather patches, I can promise you it will have a good home forever..Semper Fi Mike D

  10. #20
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd

    Not to detract from USMC Pilot Photographer J.R. Todd's life,service and accomplishments.

    There is an operational Warbirds outfit, Garrett must be aware of. http://commemorativeairforce.org/

    In the 70's I used to winter camp with Snowbirds (retirees from far north) right next to CAF in Harlingen Texas. We often visited and watched restoration work. Occasionally saw one fly. We were camped very close by. We got in them, but I won't fly in one. My Vietnam Vet buddy loves military transport, not guns, he collects WWII 6X2 trucks. I advise on engines. My War Vet brother has a Vietnam Communication shelter which the first guy gave him. The first guy spent Vietnam inside that tiny tin can. Nasty.

    My point is, dedicated hobbyists collect and preserve many old things that corporate style museums discard.
    TIN CAN COLLEGE

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