Washington, DC - Researchers, veterans and their families now have access to “Veterans and the Arts,” an online “Experiencing War” website feature highlighting the stories of veterans who pursued the arts during their post-military lives. This new feature includes nine digitized collections from the Veterans History Project (VHP) archive, each of which holds the first-person narrative of a veteran who used artistic endeavors – such as music, creative writing, sculpture, ceramic arts and even the culinary arts –to assist in the transition to civilian life after serving.
The website launched as an online companion to the Veterans Art Showcase series that concluded, November 9. For these veterans and active-duty service-members, art has served as an outlet through which they can articulate and process their wartime experience.
One featured Iraq War Marine Corps veteran, Maurice Decaul, is a poet, essayist, playwright and the 2013 recipient of the LA Times Jazz Album of the Year. Decaul’s collection comprises a memoir written 10 years after his service in which he reflects on his service memories as well as the nature of memory itself.
Also featured is World War II Coast Guard veteran Irwin “Wynn” Handman, the co-founder of the American Place Theater and notable acting teacher. Handman said, the boredom of life aboard ship, initially piqued his interest in acting. He was known for entertaining his fellow “coasties” by performing comical impressions and other humorous bits. Handman has been credited with teaching such notable actors as Michael Douglas, Richard Gere and Denzel Washington.
To get a glimpse of this creative artwork, access “Veterans and the Arts” here: loc.gov/vets/stories/ex-war-arts.html.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of United States war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP email alerts to receive periodic updates of VHP news. Follow VHP on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.