The Joseph G. Weld Collection consists of thirteen photographic albums, two scrapbooks, about fifty loose photographic prints, and a canvas bag inscribed with his name and unit, all representing Weld’s time with the American Field Service (AFS) and the United States Army Ambulance Service during the First World War. This collection is the largest World War I personal photographic collection (containing nearly 1,500 photographic prints) in the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.
The bulk of the collection consists of the photographic albums and scrapbooks, which primarily contain photographic prints. Most albums contain photographic prints of around 6.5” x 10.5” in size, taken by Weld. There are two albums and two scrapbooks containing smaller photographs by Weld, mostly 1.75” x 2.5”, 2.75” x 4.5”, and 3.5” x 5.5.” Weld’s images trace the experiences of Section Sanitaire [Etats-] Unis (SSU) 1 of the AFS and its later incarnation, SSU 625 of the U.S. Army Ambulance Service (USAAS.) Photographs include images of groups, individual ambulance drivers, ambulances, ruins, tanks, airplanes, and landscapes (including trenches.) The albums and scrapbooks cover a significant portion of SSU 1 and SSU 625 history, including battles in Argonne and Verdun (1916-1917), the Battle in Champagne (1917), the Battle of the Chemin des Dames (1917), the Battles of Belleau Wood, Chateau-Thierry, Fismes and Soissons in the Aisne-Marne region (1918), and the demobilization of the USAAS (1918-1919.) One of the scrapbooks also contains seventy-nine official French Army photographs. The French Army photographs are undated, but include images taken in places unvisited by Weld’s unit. The two scrapbooks, while primarily containing photographic prints, also include pages of non-photographic materials, including Weld’s military orders and permits, correspondence, clippings, and ephemera from the war.
Photographs and documents in twelve of the albums and both scrapbooks have been inventoried at an item-level (1,242 items total.) The remaining album has not been inventoried; however, the photographs in the album are mostly captioned.
In addition to the albums, the collection includes fifty-four loose prints (6”x9” and 8”x10”), some of which are backed with canvas. The prints depict scenes viewed or experienced by Weld and SSU 1/625 during World War I, including the loading of ambulances with wounded soldiers, troops marching, a tank, and ruins. There is one smaller image of Weld taken by photographer H.C. Ellis. One other print was sent to Weld as a postcard by an unidentified friend. A second folder contains a description of unidentified photographs, and a final folder contains Weld's copy of the "History of Section 625: United States Army Ambulance Service with the French Army." Finally, there is one box containing a canvas bag, with a string cinch tie,inscribed with his name and AFS unit SSU 1.