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Caught My Eye: Homer Clonts’ Annotated Map

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Map of the Pacific Ocean with markings on it.
U.S. Navy Signalman 3rd Class Homer Buford Clonts detailed his movements and battles from 1943-1945 on a map of the Pacific. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The following is a guest post by Andrew Cassidy-Amstutz, archivist for the Veterans History Project.

In our world of daily Facebook status updates and trending Twitter hashtags, an annotated map by Homer Bluford Clonts caught my eye as an example of how service members during World War II recorded their daily thoughts and activities in roughly 140 characters.

Clonts served in the Pacific Theater during World War II as a Signalman Third Class and tracked the movements of the various ships on which he served on a map that he carried with him. Simultaneously, Clonts jotted brief notes on the reverse side of the map about his day-to-day life onboard each ship. These notes range from the mundane “(Feb. 19 1944) Had first liberty” to the momentous “(July 27 1944) Arrived at Guam. Had to cruise around because the harbor wasn’t taken.”

Paper with list of locations on it.
Reverse side of the Clonts map. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Clonts continued tracking his movements and recording snapshots from his service until he was discharged on November 10, 1945. Over the course of his service, Clonts made over 100 entries on the back of the map. These entries provide today’s readers with a glimpse into what Clonts thought was most important about his day-to-day life in the Navy.

Due to heavy usage during Clonts’ service, the map arrived at the Veterans History Project (VHP) needing some fairly extensive treatment from the Library’s conservators. Prior to its treatment, significant portions of text were illegible due to staining and the adhesive tape used to strengthen the map’s many folds. In the end, over 35 feet of adhesive tape was removed while stabilizing the map. Following treatment, the map and accompanying notation, along with the remainder of Clonts’ collection, has been preserved and made accessible to researchers.

For additional information about the Clonts map, see the September/October 2015 edition of the Library of Congress Magazine and this article on the Slate blog “The Vault.”

Have an intriguing original map or other original documents or photographs relating to the service of the veteran in your life? Donate it to the Veterans History Project! See our website for more information on how to participate.

Comments (2)

  1. This should be made available digitally so we can all see it and explore.

    • Thanks for your comment, Rochelle! It is possible that the map may be viewable on the VHP website at some point in the future, but in the meantime, you can explore it by clicking on the photos of the map (of both the front and back) that are embedded in the blog post. Once you click on the map, you can zoom in closer to better see Clonts’ notations. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

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