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Clell Thorpe World War II Photographs

Identifier: 1971-003

The bulk of this collection dates from the years 1943 through 1945. The collection mainly contains black and white photographs taken by Clell Thorpe, as well as some 4"x5" negatives, one letter, one manuscript, and some miscellaneous items.

The material is arranged in five series: Naval School of Photography, Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB-613), Pacific Atoll, Tarawa, and Miscellaneous.


  • 1941-1960


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


2.50 linear feet

Biographical Information

Clell Thorpe served as a Marine Corps photographer documenting the activities of Marines in the South Pacific during World War II. During the period [1944?]-1945, he traveled to several islands that had been taken from Japanese in earlier battles, such as Tarawa (captured in November 1943) and Kwajalein (captured in February 1944).

In 1943, Thorpe trained as a Marine Corps photographer at the Naval School of Photography in Pensacola, FL. The Marine Corps is administratively part of the U.S. Navy.

One of Thorpe's assignments involved photographing the Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB-613). The squadron trained in Boca Chica, Florida and Newport, Arkansas during 1944, then went to the home base for the VMB-613 as the squadron participated in operations in the Marshall Islands throughout the war.

Thorpe took many photographs on a Pacific atoll in the Marshall Islands, which was not identified due to wartime censorship.

Thorpe also photographed on Tarawa Island in 1945.

Thorpe is known to have lived in Houston, Texas during 1947, and probably other years.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the UH Libraries by Clell Thorpe in 1971.

Digital Collections

Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB-613) Photographs digital collection

Guide to the Clell Thorpe World War II Photographs
Monica Zarzycka and Julie Grob
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-12-16: As a part of the 2021 Special Collections reparative description project, Bethany Scott revised this finding aid’s series-level scope and contents notes for potentially harmful language per current best practices.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA