DERRY — He’s history and he wants others to consider taking the journey with him.
Town historian Richard Holmes encourages anyone with family documents, photos or items pertaining to Derry to consider donating them to the town’s historical archive collection.
The town recently received a donation from the Routhier family — several albums full of personal photographs taken in the years leading up to World War II and beyond.
The photos belonged to Arthur Routhier, a Derry resident who served in the U.S. Army and saw military action all over the world.
Donated by Derry resident Lorraine Routhier, Arthur’s sister-in-law, the collection is valuable in many ways, Holmes said.
Arthur’s brother, Roland was also a World War II veteran and a local business owner. He served the town as a longtime Supervisor of the Checklist.
Holmes said the family album is a great donation to Derry’s rich history.
The photos include the years Arthur worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps and led up into the Korean Conflict years.
The collection is unique, Holmes said, as it shows not only wartime photos, but also create a visual history of locations around the world, the people living there and the landscape.
There are photos of soldiers and landing craft about to storm beaches at Normandy on D-Day. There are photos of peddlers traveling through an Italian town and soldiers getting a haircut. There are also horrendous photos of the aftermath and liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
Holmes said each page is like living a segment of history all over again. He said he always appreciated a donation like this that is connected somehow to a Derry resident.
“These are the candids,” he said. “We don’t see people getting haircuts at Anzio Beach.”
Holmes was struck by Routhier’s personal views on the world and his interests as he served as a soldier abroad.
“Here he is in Rome, he goes to see the Vatican,” Holmes noted, pointing out another small black-and-white image.
Holmes said the collection is a wonderful addition to Derry’s historical collection. Right now, the town has a small museum in the lower level of the Adams Memorial Building and also has a 12-foot walk-in vault where many artifacts and archives are stored.
“They will be well preserved forever,” he said.
Holmes invites anyone with items they want to donate to stop by his office at the municipal center Monday from 8 a.m. to noon, or Wednesday, 4 to 7 p.m. Visits are also available by appointment by calling 434-6042.