May 2011 Family Archivist
Tips and tricks for preserving military memorabilia.

Ask the Archivist: Old Military Uniforms

Les Jensen, curator of the West Point Museum, offers pointers on preserving our ancestors' blues, greens and grays.

Q. Which uniforms are descendants likely to find?

A. Civil War material is rare, but occasionally pieces turn up. Uniforms worn in combat are almost nonexistent; they just didn't survive. But "Ike jackets" from World War II and olive drab coats from World War I were worn home. WWII ones usually still have all the patches and decorations. Folks may find Grandpa's WWI uniform in olive drab wool with blackened metal buttons.