John W. Downer Collection
John Walker Downer (1881-1977) of Charleston, West Virginia, attended Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Class of ’02, before beginning a long, illustrious military and equestrian career. During WW I he commanded the battalion which fired the first American artillery shot in combat. Downer also participated in the Seventh Olympiad in Antwerp in 1920, as a member of the U.S. equestrian team. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs of Germany and France taken during and immediately after the war by German photographers. These pictures depict the German military hierarchy and the destruction of the war.