The bulk of the Walker Family Collection consists of photographs, papers, and artifacts collected by William H.C. Walker during his service in World War I. Additionally, there is one artifact from Willard B. Walker’s service in World War II and drafts of his manuscript entitled Working for Galatti’s Lira: An AFS Driver’s Recollections of Cross-Cultural Encounters in World War II (American Field Service Archives and Museum, 1996.)
The World War I material includes two photograph albums containing ca. 450 photographic prints taken and/or arranged by William H.C. Walker during his time in France with the American Field Service (AFS) Section Sanitaire [Etats-] Unis (SSU) 2 and Paris Headquarters in 1915-1917. All of the images in one album, and about a third of the images in the other, are captioned. Images include AFS ambulance drivers, ambulances and driver’s quarters, the American Hospital at Neuilly, French soldiers, ruins, trenches, and landscapes (of Verdun, Paris, and other sites.) The collection also includes two photographic albums containing reprints (dated 1968) of some of the same photographs from the original albums, along with 1968 reprints of other World War I photographs which do not appear in the albums of original prints. Three loose album pages appear to have been removed from one of the two original albums. In addition to the albums, there is a box of thirty six small loose World War I prints and twenty nine loose negatives (some of which are duplicates of photographs in the albums) arranged into labeled groups by Willard Walker, three loose photographic portraits of William H.C. Walker in uniform (one hand tinted from July 1916), one in front of the American Ambulance Hospital in Neuilly (early 1917), and one mounted portrait, taken in Hingham, Massachusetts ca. August 1917. The collection also includes a partial inventory of the photographic material, written by Willard Walker in 1995.
The collection also includes several World War I artifacts, including Walker’s Croix de Guerre on a chain, his AFS and Verdun medals, bronze AFS cap insignia and red and white enamel cap insignia, AFS bronze collar insignia, four American volunteer ribbon and star buttons and a boutonniere with miniature Croix de Guerre, and Canadian Field Artillery shoulder insignia. Other artifacts in the collection include a Red Cross armband stamped “Ministière de la guerre” and signed by Walker, and a small Tricolor flag attached to a twig with a handwritten inscription on the white section: “Vive La St. Henri R.F.”
The collection also contains three World War I-era French maps, and other papers including William H. C. Walker’s French certificate of residence, correspondence and a certificate relating to his Verdun medal, his AFS orders, a postcard to him from SSU 2 comrade Ed Seccombe (dated 1964), and a photocopy of a 1916 letter written by Walker.