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World War II collection of Harold S. Griswold

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-0008

Scope and Contents

This collection contains various WWII ephemera obtained by Captain Harold S. Griswold while he was serving in Europe during the war. It includes books on the rise of the Nazi party, assorted periodicals, collectable cigarette cards, postcards of varying countries of origin, German medals, and artifacts believed to have come from the bunker where Hitler died.

Dates

  • circa 1930s-1940s

Conditions Governing Access

Some materials in this collection may be restricted due to the presence of confidential or sensitive content. Please contact Special Collections & University Archives for more details regarding access.

Conditions Governing Use

Towson University Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections; however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with SCUA to determine if we can provide permission for use.

Historical Note

Germany once possessed a long and storied history of collectable cigarette and trading cards that went all but extinct following the Second World War.The tradition started with pictures printed on the inside of wrappers, which later evolved into cards included in the packaging.

While the cards are today known as ‘cigarette cards’, cigarettes were a luxury before WWI and the vast majority of Germans were not smoking, giving cigarette companies little reason to include collectable cards in the packaging. However, WWI changed this, as it did many other things. The distribution of cigarettes to the troops in the trenches would lead to much more widespread smoking after the war.

It was this time that one of the most prolific producers of cigarette cards would come into existence. Reemtsma, a cigarette company founded in 1910, would print its first series in 1923 and would later introduce the concept of picture coupons, which would change the way cigarette cards were collected in Germany. Picture coupons could be collected and then exchanged for a set of pictures. This system was much more favorable to collectors because it meant more collectors were less likely to acquire only half the series before production stopped, there were a variety of series to choose from, and a set of cards nearly always arrived in mint condition.

Card series could be on a variety of subjects, and often there were albums published in which the pictures could be stored. These albums were essentially texts with spaces left blank where the cards could be added in to act as illustrations.

The rise of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker’s Party) brought changes to collectable cigarette cards. The 1930s featured cards that celebrated the NSDAP and its achievements. As the NSDAP, and indeed Hitler himself, were very much against smoking, this was probably an attempt by some companies to stay in business, regardless of how they actually felt about the party and its leadership.

Newspapers of the 1930s also changed to suit NSDAP agenda. Often they were taken over by the Third Reich’s Propaganda Ministry, which used various forms of media to enforce party ideology. Books, films, newspapers, magazines, posters, and radio programs were all used to influence public opinion.

However, the NSDAP had other motives besides producing propaganda, some of which genuinely benefitted the German public. The Winterhilswerk (WHW) was a charitable organization intended to provide necessities to less fortunate Germans during the winter months. In exchange for donations, collectable items were distributed as well as a paper cards that verified a citizen had participated that month.

Examples of cigarette cards, propaganda, Winterhilfswerk items, and other WWII ephemera were collected by Harold S. Griswold during his service.

Biographical Note

Harold S. Griswold (1907 – 1986) was one of four brothers from Fort Madison, Iowa, who served in World War II. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Sanitary Engineering, he joined the US army and served from 1942 to 1946.

During the war he was assigned to the V Corps and served in Belgium and Germany. While in Germany, Captain Griswold worked on water systems of bombed out cities and helped to supervise the health of displaced persons in refugee and concentration camps.

After the war he served as acting director of the Southwestern Branch Office of the Indiana State Board of Health in Washington, Indiana.

His son, Harold E. Griswold, is Professor Emeritus of Music at Towson University.

Extent

2.1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

German

English

Overview

Captain Harold S. Griswold served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946. His son, Harold E. Griswold, is Professor Emeritus at Towson University. This collection contains various WWII ephemera obtained by Captain Griswold while he was serving in Europe during the war. It includes books on the rise of the Nazi party, assorted periodicals, collectable cigarette cards, postcards of varying countries of origin, German medals, and artifacts believed to have come from the bunker where Hitler died.

Related Materials

MSS0002 World War II Collection; MSS0010 Kravitsky Family WWII Ephemera Collection; MSS0012 Paul Hawkins Gantt Nuremburg Trial Papers
Title
Guide to the World War II collection of Harold S. Griswold
Status
Completed
Author
Sarah Keller, revised by John Esh
Date
Spring 2013, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States