Living Photographs by Mole and Thomas.

Taken at the beginning of the 20th century, by English photographer Arthur S. Mole and his American colleague John D. Thomas, these living photographs show thousands of American soldiers posing as symbols of American history.

They traveled from one military camp to another taking photos of soldiers forming patriotic symbols as a part of planned promotional campaign to sell war bonds. Thousands soldiers would form gigantic patriotic symbols such as Statue of Liberty, president Woodrow Wilson, American Eagle or Liberty Bell which were photographed from above.

Mole and Thomas spent days preparing formations which were photographed from a 70 to 80 foot tower with an 11 by 14 inch camera. Photos by Mole and Thomas are now part of the Chicago Historical Society, the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress.

In the picture of the Statue of Liberty there are 18,000 men: 12,000 of them in the torch alone, but just 17 at the base. The men at the top of the picture are actually half a mile away from the men at the bottom.

 

The Living Uncle Sam: 19,000 officers and men at Camp Lee, Virginia, January 13, 1919.

The Human US Shield: 30,000 officers and men at Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1918.

The living emblem of the United States Marines, formed by 100 officers and 9,000 enlisted men at the Marine Barracks, Paris Island, South Carolina.

A portrait of President Woodrow Wilson, formed of 21,000 officers and men at Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1918.

The Human Liberty Bell, formed by 25,000 officers and men at Camp Dix, New Jersey, 1918.

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