New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921. Unidentified Compiler.
New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921.
New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921.
New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921.
New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921.
New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921.

New England Photograph Album featuring the Army's 531st Balloon Company at Boston circa 1921.

Various New England Locations: 1920s. Photograph Album. The album contains 58 vernacular b/w photographs, most measuring approximately 2.5" x 4.5". Most photographs are in nice shape and held to the page with corner mounts; a few have light corner creases. Album and pages have some minor wear.

The highlight of the album is a section with 19 photographs of a post-WWI Army Balloon Company. One of the photographs is annotated on the reverse in pencil, "531st BC."

The 531st Balloon Company was a reserve unit located in the Boston area in the early 1920s. Photos include unit members holding an American flag, a balloon being inflated, men climbing into a balloon's basket, a balloon ascending, a balloon in flight and bird's-eye views taken from the balloon.

Other sections of the album contain earlier photographs of Groton School (St. John's Chapel, campus grounds, crew practice, a baseball game, etc.), an auto trip (western scenery, very muddy roads, two autos stuck in the mud, etc.), a farm (hay stacks, corn field, cargo truck), and several street scenes (marked New Bedford on the reverse) showing a book and shoe store, hotel, tobacco and fruit store, and millinery.

. Very Good. Item #008221

With the United States entry into World War One, patriotic fervor ran high, especially among college students and many enlisted along with friends rather than wait to be drafted. Aviation units were especially popular, and while a group of Yale students were discussing possibilities, one suggested joining “the Balloon Service” to serve as the “eyes of the war.” Eight other Yalies joined him and became the first of the ‘gasbaggers’. At the time of the Armistice, 35 U.S. balloon companies were serving in France, and more had been activated at home. Following the war, most of the army’s balloon observation balloon assets were transferred to the reserves. For more information see LeBow’s A Grandstand Seat: The American Balloon Service in World War I.

An online search identified the 531st Balloon Company as a 1920s Boston reserve unit. It is listed in Clay’s US Army Order of Battle 1919–1941 as organizing on 31 March 1924 and demobilizing two years later. Clay, however does not reference Boston, reporting instead only that although San Antonio was designated as the location of the 531st's headquarters, the unit was never assigned there. However, Clay also notes that a similar reserve unit, the 562nd Balloon Company, was located at Boston from 1921 to 1927. Perhaps the two units were somehow related.

Price: $550.00