Alfred P. Maurice WWII Envelopes

Alfred P. Maurice was born in New Hampshire in March 1921.  He began his art career as a Muralist for National Youth Administration while in junior high school and continued to find ways to make creating art a part of his work life. As his lifelong art career unfolded, he was an Instructor and Administrator of the various Art Programs at  Michigan State, Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, State University of New York at New Paltz, New York and the University of Illinois, Chicago.

During World War II, Mr. Maurice served between 1944 and 1946. To pass the time he drew on most any available paper and soon was known for his abilities. One of his jobs in the Army Air Force was to illustrate technical manuals. He would often sell drawings to his fellow servicemen to make a little extra money to send home. Early on, Mr. Maurice created a cartoon character, Herman (pronounced, Hoy-man), who became is alter ego in his playful illustrations of life in the military.

During World War II, Mr. Maurice would often draw illustrations about his own experiences and thoughts during these long months. These envelopes depict everyday life at the camp.

Because Maurice and the other soldiers were not needed in combat, the officers came up with creative ways to keep the soldiers in line by assigning general busy work and performing additional inspections. Left to himself, Herman would be up to mischief or finding new and interesting ways to entertain himself and others.  

In interviews, Mr. Maurice often spoke about how much he wanted the war to end so that he could return to a normal life. Being away from his beloved fiancée, Dolores, in addition to the tropical heat and daily grind of army routine all compounded his impatience to leave the Philippines. He was happy to hear the news that the war finally ended in September 1945 only to find there was a 'shipping shortage' which delayed shipping the soldiers back home.

Original Omeka ID: /collections/show/15

Scanning and text by Kalea Borling, WOU Archives Student. Text edited by Hannah Hardcastle, WOU Student Employee.