Studio 24

Bloc Studios

Sheffield UK

© 2019 Janie Moore

Ne'er Will I Forget

A drawing made for Elizabeth Black

This is Elizabeth Black. A woman from Pittsburgh, who joined the American Red Cross in 1943. She travelled to WWII camps from England to Germany as part of the Clubmobile brigades, dispensing coffee and doughnuts, and helping to raise morale. In 1944 she wrote a proposal to Washington to sketch the portraits of the servicemen she came across, and send the drawings back to their loved ones at home.

 

70 years later, in a chest left in a relative’s garage, 100 photographic copies of some of the 1000 sketches she made, were discovered. With them were the notebooks filled by her subjects, many of whom whilst signing and providing home addresses, had left personal messages and poems to her. And along with these, were the letters that she had in turn received from the recipients of those portraits - the mothers, wives, sisters. 

 

It is known that in some cases, though not quite how many, the soldiers had already died before the portrait had reached their families back home. 

 

And that some families still have the sketches hanging in their homes, unaware of who Elizabeth Black was.