YMCA "Snapshots from Home" League: Leicester area requests

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Index cards recording the work carried out for the YMCA "Snapshots from Home" League by Muriel Lawrance, 1941-1945. The cards are arranged alphabetically and include the name and home address of the serviceman, his current position and address, the original request slip or a clipping from the local newspaper, details of the visit, and often thank you notes from the family or the serviceman which reveal how appreciated the photographs were. Most of the men were serving in the Mediterranean and North Africa, while the prisoners of war were in Germany and Italy.

Also included are some circulars and correspondence from the YMCA relating to the scheme, including a letter from the YMCA Secretary stating that they would support Lawrance's idea to photograph the families of prisoners of war; and typed notes by Lawrance giving an account of her work for the YMCA. Two sets of notes seem to date immediately post-war, and there is a later version dated 1976. The notes explain Lawrance's procedures and give lively accounts of the various difficulties met during the work, including transport problems and family members refusing to have their pictures taken.

Administrative / Biographical History

During the Second World War Muriel Lawrance was evacuated from London to Leicester as part of her work for the Caseloid Company. She lived at 32 Welbeck Avenue, Abbey Lane. Lawrance wanted to contribute to the war effort and as a keen amateur photographer she became a volunteer for the YMCA "Snapshots from Home" League. This scheme enabled men on active duty to complete a request form asking for photographs of their families. The forms were returned to the central YMCA office and from there distributed to a network of volunteers. The volunteer would, at their own expense, visit the family, take the requested pictures and send them on to the serviceman. The YMCA assisted with the sourcing of rolls of film, which were scarce and not commercially available. Lawrance was one of a team of 8 photographers in Leicester, and the only woman. She expanded the role to include scanning the local newspapers for reports of prisoners of war and offering to photograph their families too. The scheme was ended in 1946.

Conditions Governing Access

Open and available for general access. External researchers are advised to make an appointment with the Archivist.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated to the DMU Archives in May 2013 by Muriel Lawrance's niece, Mrs P Williams.

Note

Information about Muriel Lawrance provided by the depositor.

Other Finding Aids

An index to the names in the volume has been prepared by the Archivist.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued in May 2013 by Katharine Short, Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography of the volume is permitted.

Related Material

Information relating to the "Snapshots from Home" League can be found in the records of the YMCA, held at Special Collections at the University of Birmingham. The collection includes a similar album (reference YMCA/ACC36). Another album of requests and thank you letters is held by the Imperial War Museum (reference Documents 2031).