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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Elmer A. Ball World War II Negatives

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: 2021-06-30
The Elmer A. Ball World War II Negatives is a collection of 184 photographic negatives taken by Ball during his service with the U.S. Navy, much of which took place in Guam during the later years of World War II. The negatives are all medium format black-and-white negatives, except for one color transparency. They were not organized in any particular manner.

The images depict a variety of people, activities, and buildings in and around Naval Air Station Agana on Guam from roughly 1944-1950. Many of the images are related to the Combat Air Service Unit CASU(F) 12, which Ball may have been a part of. The majority of images, about 65, are informal individual and group portraits of servicemen at and around the base. Candid shots of men in the course of both work-related and leisure activities make up about 35 images. Included among those are images of men in Structural Department work tents and huts, relaxing in their bunks, writing letters or reading, exploring beaches, or holding their mascot dog "Foo Foo." Buildings such as the CPO club, rows of Quonset huts, tents for work areas such as a paint shop or sheet metal shop, and an outdoor theater are depicted in many of the images. A cemetery for American servicemen at Agat, Guam is pictured in a few images. Eight images show men in Naval uniform at a dance or party with women, most likely somewhere in the U.S., perhaps at NAS Sandpoint in Washington, rather than on Guam.

Aircraft are seen in about ten images, with an additional eight images showing detail views of nose art. Aircraft depicted include the Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver, Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, Grumman F7F-2N Tigercat, Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, and North American Aviation P-51D Mustang. Five images show a Japanese Type C Kō-hyōteki-class submarine on display at the base. A few images depict coastal defense artillery pieces.

Beyond military personnel and activities, local people, likely Chamorro, are depicted in about five images. Local buildings such as churches, a school, and thatch huts are also pictured in a few negatives. Some of the buildings show destruction from bombings. About 20 images show seascapes and landscapes around the island. One color transparency depicts an unidentified stone statue.

Identifications of some images were provided by Ball's family, though people are generally only identified by last name. Names include: Browning, Chamberlin, Church, Eaton, Gladin, Gruber, Jones, Lee, Martin, O'Donnell, E. H. Palmer, Poulik, Samples, Schmidt, Benny Schotten, Watters, and Earl Wilder. Ball is seen in a few images as well.


  • circa 1944-1950


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research but for preservation the negatives are in cold storage and may not be handled by researchers. Digitized copies are available instead. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


.05 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Biographical Note: Elmer A. Ball

Elmer Allison Ball served in the U.S. Navy on Guam during World War II.

Ball was born on April 27, 1923 to William S. and Wenona L. Ball in Kansas. He was the fifth of seven children in the family. Before joining the Navy he served in the National Guard and Civilian Conservation Corps. He enlisted in the Navy on April 8, 1941, was discharged June 14, 1946, reenlisted on June 19, 1946 and was discharged on June 18, 1950. He served with the Navy on Guam at Agana Naval Air Station as well as at Sandpoint Naval Air Station in Washington. Though his exact role is unknown, from the photographs in the collection it is likely that while on Guam Ball served with the Combat Air Service Unit CASU(F) 12, which would service and repair a variety of aircraft. After the war he worked in finance.

He married Jan Ruth Willows in Seattle, Washington on March 21, 1943. They had two daughters, two sons and ten grandchildren. He died February 24, 1990 in Florida.

Biography derived from collection materials, donor information and records on

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by the creator's daughter and grandson.

Existence and Location of Copies

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available at The Museum of Flight Digital Collections.

Separated Materials

A 16mm camera has been separated from the archival component of this collection and is kept in Objects storage.
Guide to the Elmer A. Ball World War II Negatives
Completed - Level 2
N. Davis
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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