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Camp Atterbury World War II photograph collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: P003

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 291 black and white, 3 x 5-inch photographic prints depicting life at Camp Atterbury, Indiana in the midst of World War II. Three of the images have copies.

The photographs were taken by William J. Moriarty, Sr., a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, as part of his duties for the U.S. Signal Corps while he was stationed there in 1943. The images demonstrate the daily activities of camp life and training, as well as social events, and depict racial segregation among regular army troops and the Women's Army Corps (WAC).


  • 1943


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

William John Moriarity, Sr. took the Camp Atterbury photographs. He was born November 11, 1903 in the Irish Hill area of Indianapolis, Indiana. When the United States entered World War I, he joined the U.S. Army, serving from 1918 to 1922, spending the latter half of his tour in the Philippines. When Moriarty was discharged from the army, he returned to Indianapolis and worked as a farm hand. He married Wilma L. Fields in 1926 and took a job with the U.S. Post Office.

Moriarity joined the National Guard in the 1930s. During World War II, he was called up for service in 1941 as a master sergeant with the 38th Infantry Division. Moriarity worked as an ultra-high speed Morse code sender/receiver and was stationed at Camp Atterbury, Indiana during 1943 as part of the Signal Corps. He also attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. Moriarty was later selected for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and assigned to a ten-member team (Team 16D). He also went through parachute jump school and used those skills when he and his team parachuted into France eleven days prior to D-Day (June 6, 1944). Lt. Moriarity was severely wounded in the leg in 1945 when a German V2 rocket hit a building he was in.

After World War II, Lt. Moriarity remained in the army and became a courier. He carried sensitive documents across the globe, even making deliveries to General Dwight Eisenhower. Moriarity retired from the Army in 1951 and returned to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He died in 1978.


Biographical information courtesy of William J. Moriarty, Jr.

Historical Note

Camp Atterbury was activated as a base for the U.S. Army on June 2, 1942. Four miles west of Edinburgh, Indiana, the camp comprised just over 40,351 acres of land purchased from Bartholomew, Johnson, and Brown counties. It was named in honor of General William W. Atterbury, the Director of Transportation of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during World War I and president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

During the Second World War, Camp Atterbury had 1,780 buildings providing housing to 44,159 officers and troops, including 499 enlisted men barracks, 40 Bachelor Officer Quarters (BOQs), 23 WAC barracks, 61 prisoner-of-war (POW) barracks, 193 mess halls, 12 chapels, 5 service clubs, 3 officers clubs, 6 theaters, 4 gymnasiums, and 4 swimming pools. Wakeman General Hospital and a convalescent center comprised 68 buildings, occupying 80 acres on the base. The hospital treated more than 85,000 patients during World War II, and was one of the U.S. Army's plastic surgery centers.

Over 275,000 soldiers trained at Camp Atterbury during World War II, including the 83rd Infantry Division; 8th Detachment of Special Troops, 2nd Army; 365th Regimental Combat Team, 92nd Infantry Division; 30th Infantry Division; and 106th Infantry Division. Colonel Welton M. Modisette served as Post Commander of Camp Atterbury until June 13, 1945 and the 1560th Service Command Unit, part of the 5th Service Command, staffed Camp Atterbury from 1942 to 1946.The base hosted a stationed company from the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and around 38,000 women trained at Camp Atterbury during the war. Many WACs went to Camp Atterbury to train for three to four months as x-ray, laboratory, surgical, medical, or dental technicians at the Enlisted Medical Technicians School, part of Wakeman General Hospital.

The Camp also served as an internment camp, housing between 12,000 and 15,000 Italian and German prisoners of war. The prisoners were housed in a large compound located on the extreme western edge of camp.

Following the end of World War II, Camp Atterbury was inactivated for the first time on July 31, 1946. During the subsequent decades, the base was reactivated and inactivated as the United States' martial conflicts waxed and waned. The Indiana Military Academy moved from Fort Benjamin Harrison to Camp Atterbury in July, 1965. The base became an Army National Guard Training Site on September 1, 1976 and until the 1990s, the camp provided support to the Indiana National Guard throughout various conflicts. Today, Camp Atterbury primarily provides military training and serves as a mobilization site for the U.S. military.


Atterbury Muscatatuck. "History." About Us. Last updated April 20, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.

Goodson, Felix E. The Indiana Guard Reserve. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Creative Arts, 1998.

Hinds, James M. Camp Atterbury, Indiana. [Franklin, IN: Camp Atterbury?}, 1985. (at the Indiana State Library: Indiana Pamphlet. ISLO 355 no. 57)

"Indiana Village and Farms to Give Way to New 55,000 Acre Army Camp." Indianapolis Sunday Star, February 1, 1942.

"New Hospital Pride of Camp Atterbury." Indianapolis Star, October, 25 1942.

"U.S. Orders Work Started on Southern Indiana Camp." Indianapolis Times, January 7, 1942.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 index card box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged numerically, in order of the negative numbers assigned to them by William J. Moriarty, Sr.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from William J. Moriarty, Jr. on 1987/06/17 and 1987/10/23.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions are available electronically in the ISL Digital Collections, as part of Indiana Memory:

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2005/03 by Elizabeth M. Wilkisnon. Finding aid created 2005/03 by Elizabeth M. Wilkisnon. EAD finding aid created 2015/11/30 by Brittany Kropf.


Camp Atterbury World War II photograph collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.