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Legan World War I Photographs

Identifier: MSS 0433

Scope and Contents

The Legan World War I Photographs contains black and white photographs of locations, individuals, and propaganda from the First World War.

Photographs 1-50 are 5x7" black and white prints documenting the First World War. These photographs show locations in France, including Aisne, Alsace, Arras, Marne, Paris, Reims, Somme, and Verdun. Scenes include trenches, artillery, soldiers, city halls, chateaus, churches, cathedrals, towns, and landscapes. Many feature dramatic destruction. United States forces are present in a handful of the images.

The photographs apear to have been created and published under the direction of the French Army's Photography Section. The backs of most of these photographs are stamped "Reproduction Interdite Le Chef de La Section Photographique de l’Armée." Handwritten descriptions have been provided in both French and English.

Photograph 51, while somewhat similar, does not have this stamp. It shows a Governor's Palace and unlike the rest of the collection is identified a the gift of Mr. H. M. S. Sheppard.

Photographs 52-77 are copy photographs depicting World War I era propaganda accompanied by captions. Stamps on the backs attribute these to the Register and Tribune Syndicate. Captions carry the title, "World War Propaganda Exposed!" The photographs themselves are undated, but do not appear to be from the wartime era.


  • approximately 1914-1918, and undated


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from MSS 0433 Legan World War I Photographs must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Historical Note

Photography was used as a tool of both historical documentation and propaganda in the First World War. In France, the Section Photographique de l’Armée (SPA) was formed to support these functions. The SPA was part of the Ministry of war, but also worked with the Ministry of Art and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photographers had little leeway in what images they would capture, and publication was carefully controlled.



1.25 Linear Feet (2 boxes) : 77 photographs

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

Donated by Mrs. H. C. Legan


Legan World War I Photographs
Matt Richardson
February 24, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002