Military postcard exhibit headed to service academies

Kelly Reeves, the project's director, talks about the Military postcards traveling exhibit during a reception on Wednesday at the Troy Campus.

Kelly Reeves, the project's director, talks about the Military postcards traveling exhibit during a reception on Wednesday at the Troy Campus.

Troy University Libraries’ traveling exhibit, “Military Service: A History in Postcards,” will spend the next two months at two of the nation’s military academies.

The exhibit opens this week at the Nimitz Library at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. where it will be on display through Sept. 26. From there, the exhibit goes to West Point to be displayed Oct. 1-30.

TROY faculty, staff and students had the opportunity last week to view the exhibit before it departed with a reception held Wednesday afternoon at the Troy Campus library.

The exhibit is the fourth traveling exhibit produced from postcard images from the Wade Hall Postcard Collection held by Troy University Libraries and was made possible by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

“What an incredible legacy Wade Hall has left us, and a special thanks goes to Greg Swem for helping to carry on that legacy and sharing with us so that we can share it with the world,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Walter Givhan, TROY’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Economic Development. “Wade had a creativity about him that came out in his collecting. Who would think about collecting postcards, and yet, he had that sense and that vision that these were important documents and that, put together, they could be an incredible resource and a window into another time and place.”

The exhibit features 16 printed screen banners, each portraying a distinctive aspect of military history. The postcards exhibited feature each of the current branches of service, scenes from Alabama military bases including Maxwell Army Air Base and Camp Sheridan, military-themed co

Adding to the historical images, nearly 500 postcards in the collection contain written messages, which portray the thoughts of service members and their families and serve to humanize military service, particularly during wartime.

Kelly Reeves, TROY Library Assistant and Evening Circulation Supervisor who serves as director of the project, said after stints at the service academies, the exhibit will be on display at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. from Nov. 8 – Dec. 15 and the M. Louis Salmon Library at the University of Alabama Huntsville from Jan. 4 – Feb. 7.

“We are also in discussions now regarding the timing of an exhibit at The Pentagon,” Reeves said, “As I was working on it, I thought this would be an interesting exhibit, but the response we have gotten is truly amazing.”

An alumnus of Troy State Teachers College, Dr. Hall, who died in 2015, was born in Bullock County, Alabama near Union Springs. He was a professor of English, an author, historian, collector and philanthropist. Dr. Hall received his master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He taught English for 30 years at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. His authored works include: Conecuh People: Words of Life from the Alabama Black Belt; The Kentucky Anthology: Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State; and Greetings from Kentucky: A Postcard Tour, 1900 to 1950. From 1953 to 1956, Dr. Hall also served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany.