[Nogales, Az.]: 1916. 71 original photographs, most 3.5 x 5.5 inches or slightly smaller. Quarto album, limp leatherette covers. Cloth worn, hinges cracked, spine chipped. Photos in corner mounts, with extensive manuscript captions on album leaves and blank image versos. Adhesive of corner mounts beginning to fail, some photos loose, but generally crisp, clean images. Good plus. Item #2569
A vernacular album containing over seventy well composed and printed images that document the experience of Louis O. de Rongé, who was with his militia unit at Nogales, Arizona, in 1916 during the Border War. De Rongé was a private in the Fifth Militia Cavalry Troop B from Hartford, Connecticut, a unit that had originated as the state governor's Volunteer Horse Guards. The troop was mustered into federal service on June 20, 1916 and was sent to Nogales directly in order to strengthen border security while Pershing's Punitive Expedition was ongoing. They remained stationed on the border until October, and were eventually sent to the Western Front as part of a machine gun battalion following American entry into World War I.
The present album provides an excellent of the experience for this group of Connecticut national guardsmen. In addition to portraits of fellow enlisted men, officers, and staff, the photographs contain numerous images of camp life and training, and several examples of the troop on maneuvers and on patrol in the surrounding area, going as far afield as the tiny town of Arivaca, thirty-five miles northwest of their camp. The album also includes several interesting shots of the two towns of Nogales as well as of the local Mexican and American populations. Each image is well captioned both on the album leaves and on the blank versos of the prints. The final ten uncaptioned images are apparently family portraits unrelated to the subject. De Rongé clearly knew his way around a camera, as the images here are quite well produced and constitute a very good record of service life in Nogales, where tensions between Mexico and the United States were often at their highest during this period.