Uniforms in the Family

Uniforms in the Family

It's not too late to enter your ancestral bad hair photos in my blog contest. See details in last week's post. I can't wait until you see what folks sent in! In the meantime, it's time for another photo mystery. This one is a 20th century challenge. Nancy...

It’s not too late to enter your ancestral bad hair photos in my blog contest. See details in last week’s post. I can’t wait until you see what folks sent in!

In the meantime, it’s time for another photo mystery. This one is a 20th century challenge.

Nancy Yates sent in a few pictures of her father, taken when he was about 15 years old, between 1930 to 1932. In the first one, he’s standing alone wearing a uniform with plain sleeves.

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In the second he’s wearing a different uniform with hash marks on the sleeve indicating his rank of corporal. He’s standing with his sister.
Yates2.jpg

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The mystery is the uniform. It doesn’t look like a Boy Scout uniform. It’s too bad I can’t read the pin on his hat or the badge on his other sleeve.

Nancy knows her Dad once served in the Civilian Conservation Corp as an adult. Men had to be at least 17 years old to serve in the CCC.

So what uniform is it? I’m not sure. There were several groups for teens in the 1930s. The 4-H Club, the Future Farmers of America and the Junior Birdmen of America are a few prominent groups, but this uniform doesn’t represent any of those organizations. A great book on the period is William H. Young and Nancy K. Young’s The 1930s (Greenwood Press, $25.00).

One lead is a group sponsored by the American Legion. They formed the Air Cadets in 1933, to train young men as pilots in case of war.

Do you have any ideas? I’m still looking.

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  1. My first thought was a military school of some kind, not like a West Point Academy, but something on a smaller, more regional or local scale. He looks young, but you may have a birth year, and know he only LOOKS young. I see now that he was about 15 in 1930-32, so I think a military type scoop is still a good choice

  2. I was going to say military school, as well, but we have pix of 2 young uncles in military-style uniforms from around the turn of the 19/20th century. As far as we know, they did not attend any military school and we’ve been wondering if these are photographer-staging costumes. Is that a possibility?

  3. Is she sure about the year(s)? I have a picture of my father in his US Army uniform when he first enlisted in the 1930’s that looks exactly like this one. Even the pockets on the jacket are identical, the belt and the pin on the hat and collar. Note the jodphur style pants with leggings. Also, I dragged the picture into my iPhoto and tweaked it; there are 2 stripes on his right sleeve in the second picture, and a shadow where the sleeve is wrinkled from the way he is holding his arm. I would say it is US Army.

  4. I say Army because of Corporal that rank is usually Army..The pants I want to say motor cycle or Cavlery?? I’ve looked at CCC and most of the other sites My dad was Marine his was similar,but not. Not Air Force or Navy

  5. Being 15 was not a limitation of joining the national Guard at that time. My father joined on his 16th birthday in 1937. Simple act of lying about your age and they looked the other way. The lapel cut looks Army but the breast pocket cut is a bit different from it from 1937. Real close though.

    Ken

  6. He is probably in ROTC in his school. My father was in high school ROTC and wore a uniform that was almost the same as the men on active duty.

    From a photo I recently saw in the Tacoma News Tribune there was a group of men from the local CCC. On their sleeves were diagonal bars instead of chevrons.

    The pants and putties would be the standard uniform of that general era from what I remember. Looking at the photo of my father in his high school ROTC uniform the uniform is identical with the exceptions that the hat is not the garrison cap in the photo and my fathers uniform shows no brass.