In honor of Memorial Day, we are highlighting one of our collections that features our veterans, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Service Men’s Center Scrapbook. This volume contains photographs, letters, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, activity programs, and other items relating to the Tuscaloosa Service Men’s Center for soldiers during World War II.
The Center existed to provide recreational and social life for service men and women who were temporarily in the area. These soldiers may have been home on leave or passing through the area by bus or train. Activities at the Center included meals, dances, games, and concerts.
The Center was run female hostesses, including some University of Alabama students. For a time, the Center was located at the Governor’s Mansion, at the corner of University Boulevard and Queen City Avenue, which now houses the University Club.
In addition to soldiers passing through Tuscaloosa, the Center also sought to meet the recreational needs of Northington General Hospital, located in Tuscaloosa on McFarland Boulevard where University Mall now stands. This was a U.S. Army hospital that opened in 1943, and was the second largest Army hospital in the United States at the time.
In addition to items relating to the center itself, this scrapbook contains letters from soldiers who visited there and various books and pamphlets relating to soldiers during World War II. Included is the June 30, 1944, edition of “Yank: The Army Weekly” magazine which provides insight into soldiers’ daily life.
Many other items of interest like the above guide to military ribbons, medals, and patches, can be found in this nearly 1,000 page scrapbook, which can be used in its entirety in Acumen. Set aside some time to explore it!