In 1953, Malcolm “Mac” Fleming joined the Indiana University School of Education and the Audio-Visual Center of Adult Education, where he began as an instructor and acting supervisor of motion pictures. What students may not have known is that their young instructor had been taught the trade by Uncle Sam.
Originally from Oregon, once the Army heard Fleming knew his way around a camera, they transferred him to the Signal Corps Photo Center in New York to be trained as a combat photographer. Billeted near Times Square, Mac practiced his craft on the streets of Manhattan, capturing shots of the busy metropolis, the results later reviewed and critiqued by his trainers. At his next stop in England, Fleming was told the Army needed motion picture photographers, so “[the sergeant] quickly taught me how to load a one-hundred-foot roll of 35 mm motion picture film into a handheld Eymo camera and I became a cinematographer overnight.”
In the belt pouch meant for a first aid kit, Mac instead carried his own small camera so that in addition to the official Army photos, he could capture shots of scenes that were of personal interest. In a field notebook, he documented these images just as he did the Army photos and films, and what resulted was a rich record of one young soldier’s experience in the European Theater. The destruction, the refugees carrying what possessions they could, and village life that went on as it could were all captured by Fleming’s little camera.
Now in his 90s, Prof. Fleming has donated his extensive collection to the University Archives, but not before collaborating with the IU Press in a gorgeous book, “From War to Peace in 1945 Germany: A GI’s Experience.” The book which includes his original notes, partnered with updated captions and a foreword by James H. Madison, IU’s Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor Emeritus of History, and an afterword by Brad Cook, Curator of Photographs here in the Archives, is a must have for anybody with an interest in World War II.
The rich history and culture of Indiana University and its regional campuses are captured in a collection of approximately two million images held by IU Archives. With the launch of the new Archives Photo Collection website, users will be able to more easily search that collection for specific images.
The site allows users to discover photos in the collection’s database – currently 4,000 catalogued images and increasing daily – in a variety of ways. Users can search the descriptive terms provided for each image, or browse the entire collection by dates; personal, building or event names; topics; or photographer/studio. The site also features an option, “My Selections,” to temporarily store images that users have selected. Users have the option to order a print or higher-resolution scan of the original image.
The vast majority of images in the IU Archives Photo Collection were shot by IU’s Extension Division, Photographic Services Department, Athletic Department, and News Bureau. Many of the photographers employed by these departments have become well known for their work, including Will Counts, Barney Cowherd, Jerry Uelsmann, Jerry Mitchell, Jack Welpott, Clarence Flaten, Dave Repp, Ralph “Porky” Veal, and Ric Cradick. Other images in the collection were shot mostly by local professional photographers, alumni, and faculty.