Singleton L. Harris World War II Papers | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The collection consists of one pocket diary, 4 by 5.5 inches, closely written, covering the entire year 1944. The diary begins with the unit traveling to Newport News, Virginia, where they embark for Italy on January 13, 1944, disembarking in Naples on February 11. Harris is stationed near Naples and later near Rome, as his unit provides support for air operations. Harris's duties include stints as a clerk and as a painter, detailed to decorate vehicles and even execute a mural, consisting of portraits of African-American entertainers, for the company mess. The diary covers all aspects of Harris's army life, including daily activities, visits to local attractions, business and personal relations with local Italian civilians, lists and accounts of movies he sees almost daily, descriptions of camp routine, and occasional remarks about discrimination or ill-treatment at the hands of white officers.
The collection also includes approximately 50 photographs, many of Italian civilian acquaintances, sometimes posing with men of his unit; and approximately 85 negatives, some depicting similar though not identical subjects, others showing devastated city scenes, probably from Germany in 1945, and several images of Paris, also probably dating to 1945.
Among other items are several telegrams from family and friends; brochures for photographic equipment; and newspaper clippings, including one showing the mural that Harris painted.