MsC 802

Collection Dates: 1917 -- 1920
25 items.

Collection Guide

This document describes a Manuscript Collection held by the

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries

Guide Contents

Administrative Information

Biographical and Historical Information

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Related Materials

Acquisition and Processing Information

Box Contents List

Administrative Information

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Biographical Note

Leon H. Caverly was born on November 22, 1884 in Dover, New Hampshire, married in the early 1900s and had a child. His wife died in the flu pandemic of 1918, by which time Caverly was a cinematographer who in June 1917 had joined the Marine Corps Publicity Bureau. His daughter was raised by his wife's mother.

Caverly was sent to Europe where he documented military activities in France, Belgium, and Germany with both motion picture and still photography. He writes in a later letter that a film titled America’s Answer to the Huns, the second official U.S. government war film, contains much of his work. A surviving print of this film has not yet been located. After the Armistice, he worked filming Russian prisoner camps in Germany and German civilian riots in Berlin. In September of 1919, the Marines sent Caverly to Cuba and Haiti for six months to do documentary photography. He was mustered out in 1920.

He returned to private sector employment, and through the 1920s he seems to have worked for or with traveler and travel writer E.M. Newman, traveling and photographing for the "Newman Traveltalks" books; Seeing Paris (1931) includes 300 Caverly photographs. He married a second time in 1925, to Grace V. Kopp, and may have had his own business from 1926 to 1929 or 1930. In 1933, the Caverly's had a daughter, Lynn Gail Caverly Hartung. Damaged financially by the 1929 stock market crash, he took a took a job as a photostat operator in New York City, in which position he remained until he retired in 1956, at the age of 72. He died December 12, 1966, and was buried in the Long Island National Cemetary.

Some of his World War I glass slides and photographs were donated to the Historical Society in Newark, New Jersey. There is also a collection of Caverly's materials at the Smithsonian Musuem in Washington, D.C.

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises a series of 20 letters, 4 photographs and 1 business card. All but one of the letters are written by Caverly to F. G. Riley, also a New York photographer. The letter of August 1, 1918 includes a signed sketch. The collection also includes one letter dated January 24, 1917, from movie director and producer Herbert Brenon to Riley. Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Photographs are in protective sleeves.

Photographs: Box 1

Acquisition and Processing Information

These papers were purchased by the University of Iowa Libraries in 2005 with funds provided by The Friends of the Libraries.

Guide posted to Internet: February 2006.

Box Contents List

Box 1

Correspondence 1917--1920


Copies of letters of commendation and biographical information about Caverly provided by his daughter, Lynn Caverly Hartung.

"My Trip Over Seas."  LHC's seven page account of his travel to France on a troopship, the first months of training in France for trench warfare, and his first visit to the trenches.  Also an descriptive inventory of approximately 300 photographs he made in France.  Both documents are photocopies of LHC typescripts held by the New Jersey Historical Society.  Two photographs have printed out from digital versions and placed in this folder.

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