We have in our family collection a souvenir photo album that Mel bought in basic training, to fill with his own personal photographs of the experience and send home to his family. The cover is leather bound and in excellent condition. Quite fancy. The pages are just black paper on which are mounted the original 1941-'42 prints, and facing pages with captions in his own handwriting. The subsequent posts will be some scans or photographs of this album. It may be easier to photograph it, I don't want to damage the binding. Not every soldier had a visual record of his Army experience, even while just in training. Film was expensive and had to be mailed back home to Eastman Kodak's headquarters in New York to get developed, and if pictures were taken during the war, they would likely have rattled around in a soldier's duffel bag for a few years until it was all over.
Even more stunning is that many of his photographs are in color. Kodachrome was brand new in the 1940's and not cheap. Color film processing was a new science and was expensive, it also took longer to develop and ship through the mail.
I am very lucky to have these, and in such good shape as they are. Since so little of my grandfather's story is written, the photographs he took will have to speak for themselves. I will try to describe as best I can what is going on in the pictures.