Joe Thompson Jr papers
(Document/manuscript/pamphlet/archival material)

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Boyd, Lucas G., 1932- interviewer.
Swanson, Alice, interviewer.
Special Collections - Closed Stacks
SCC oral histories
Special Collections - Closed Stacks
Safe room shelf 18
Special Collections - Closed Stacks
Workroom range 2 section 6
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Special Collections - Closed StacksSCC oral historiesLibrary Use Only
Special Collections - Closed StacksSafe room shelf 18Library Use Only
Special Collections - Closed StacksWorkroom range 2 section 6Library Use Only
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Document/manuscript/pamphlet/archival material
Physical Desc
3.6 cu.ft.
ca. 600 negatives (1 binder): b&w; 120 mm.
40 contact sheets: b&w; 8x10 in.
ca. 600 photographs (6 albums): b&w; 8x10 in.
115 photographs (aerial reconnaissance): b&w; 10x10 in.
2 audiocassettes (VHP Tapes #117 & 118)+ transcript.
9 audiocassettes (VHP Tapes #311-319)+ transcript.
40 CD-ROM (.tif files) : b&w.


Organization & arrangement of materials
Negatives, CD-ROMs, contact sheets and photographs. ,Arrangement: numeric by contact sheet, logbook, and image number as assigned by photographer.
General Note
Shelved separately from rest of Veterans History Project collection, except for audiotapes.
General Note
CD-ROMs stored in image reproduction room.
General Note
Materials housed in the Special Collections Division of the Main Library, Nashville Public Library.
General Note
Photographic enlargements and CD-ROMs made possible by the Nashville Public Library Foundation.
Restrictions on Access
In library use only. Available by appointment. Negatives and CD-ROMs restricted to staff use only.
Scope and content: The heart of the Joe Thompson Jr Papers is the nearly 600 photographs taken by Thompson while serving in the Army Air Force in Europe during World War II. They begin in England, where Thompson served initially as a U.S. flier attached to the Royal Air Force for training. They go on to document his experiences and those of his comrades in the 67th and 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons of the 9th Air Force. They include scenes showing the push from the Normandy beachhead through France and the liberation of Paris; airbase scenes including candid portraits of American pilots and ground personnel at leisure; civilians in England, France and Belgium; aircraft and wrecks; scenes of Army infantry and armor in camp or advancing; scenic landscapes and street scenes including some taken in war-torn villages and streets; and a variety of similar images. These photographs are supplemented by a series of interviews in 2005 with Thompson by Nashville Room volunteer Alice Swanson, in which Thompson provides commentary on his photographs, and recalls many of his military experiences. Earlier interviews conducted with Thompson by Lucas Boyd around 1995 are a photograph-by-photograph narration of selected images, in preparation for an exhibit at Montgomery Bell Academy, which was later adapted by the Tennessee State Museum. Thompson's materials also include a number of aerial reconnaissance photographs, a written memoir, three photograph logbooks, and other items.
In 2008, Thompson loaned his mission logbook to the Special Collections Division, making it available to the public for research, under special conditions. This logbook documents every flight he made, beginning during training in 1941 through the war until his return to the United States in 1945. Information includes type of plane flown, type of mission flown, and notable incidents, such as being hit or attacked by flak. Lines that have been highlighted in red indicate combat missions. Thompson has pasted in photographs and newsclippings, most of them dating from the war but including some post-war materials dating as late as 1989, creating a type of scrapbook out of his mission logbook. In some cases, some photographs and clippings cover up information logged about a mission. They are glued down and cannot be removed, so the information that was originally recorded about a mission is inaccessible.
Preferred Citation of Described Materials
Cite as: [photograph no. or item citation], Joe Thompson Jr Papers, World War II Series, Veterans History Project Collection, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Nashville Public Library owns copyright granted by Joe Thompson Jr 2003 & 2005 on all materials except for mission logbook, reconnaissance photographs and restriction by Lucas G. Boyd on audiocassettes and transcript. Joe Thompson Jr. retains copyright in his Mission Logbook, on indefinite loan to the Nashville Public Library (as of 2008).
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Audiocassettes and transcript of interview conducted by Lucas G. Boyd,Restricted: Researchers may consult these materials for private research purposes, which do not result in publication, exhibition, broadcast, or other means of public dissemination. Publication, exhibition, broadcast, or other public dissemination of information contained in the interview or transcript is permitted if use of the excerpted material is limited to narrative descriptions of 10 photographs or less. Any such use in excess of 10 narratives must obtain the permission of Lucas G. Boyd in writing. [Boyd grants limited rights to use by and on behalf of Nashville Public Library; see details in Thompson donor file.] All of these restrictions expire Jan. 1, 2010. Additional details concerning this restriction are to be found in the Joe Thompson Jr. donor file; staff access only;,Signed restriction.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Mission logbook,Restricted: No photocopies due to fragile nature of materials. In addition, the following restrictions apply: 1) Use for any other than scholarly research or educational instruction is regulated by laws of copyright and permission for such usage must be obtained from the copyright holder. 2) Donor asks that as a courtesy, researchers contact the Donor or a member of the Donor's family to inform them of the materials' use. Contact information will be provided to the researcher by Library Staff at time of access to the logbook. See full restriction with item for complete details about all applicable restrictions.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Joe Thompson, Jr;,Gift;,2002.,Acc. 2002.091.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Aerial reconaissance photographs,Joe Thompson, Jr;,Gift;,2005.,Acc. 2005.023.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Mission logbook,Joe Thompson, Jr.;,Loan;,2008.,Acc. 2008.064.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Related materials: ,Joe Thompson Jr. is featured in the videorecording "Volunteers for Victory" produced by WSMV and Demetria Kaladimos.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Associated Materials: Joe Thompson Jr Papers;,Special Collections and University Archives Department, Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University. ,Correspondence from Europe during World War II service.
Biographical or Historical Data
Joe Thompson, Jr was born in Nashville, Tenn. on June 8, 1919. He attended Vanderbilt University, and entered the Army Air Corps in Aug. 1941. He was attached to a Royal Air Force squadron for training, and served in the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 9th Air Force, seeing action in the invasion of Normandy, the drive across France, the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, and the Rhine Valley campaign across central Germany. He was discharged in June 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, with five clusters and five battle stars, and the French Croix de Guerre. He married Martha Crook in 1948 and had four children. He continued to make his home in Nashville after the war, was very active in community and veterans affairs, and worked for Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company until age 90. On March 15, 2012, he received the Legion of Honor, France's highest award. He died scarcely a week later on March 24, 2012.
Majority in English, with portions in French.
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
Finding aid available in repository and online;,item level control.,
Ownership and Custodial History
Materials in possession of Joe Thompson Jr at time of donation.
Linking Entry Complexity
Forms part of the World War II series of the Veterans History Project collection.
Publications About Described Materials
A published autobiography featuring numerous photographs from the collection is: Tiger Joe : a photographic diary of a World War II aerial reconnaissance pilot / Joe Thompson & Tom Delvaux. Nashville, Tenn. : Eveready Press, c2005.
APA Citation (style guide)

Thompson, J., Boyd, L. G., & Swanson, A. Joe Thompson Jr papers.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Thompson, Joe, 1919-2012, Lucas G. Boyd and Alice, Swanson. Joe Thompson Jr Papers. .

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Thompson, Joe, 1919-2012, Lucas G. Boyd and Alice, Swanson, Joe Thompson Jr Papers. .

MLA Citation (style guide)

Thompson, Joe, Lucas G. Boyd, and Alice Swanson. Joe Thompson Jr Papers.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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