New Bedford — For 30 years, Standard Times readers have been looking at the South Coast from behind the lens of Edward Milton Sylvia. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Silvia took a variety of images. From people like John F. Kennedy and Piero’s Bozo to riots on Kempton Street and kids catching hay fever at Buttonwood Park, Sylvia’s storytelling images have grown to over 100,000 photos.
Prior to his participation in the Standard Times, Sylvia was in the US Army Air Force.
And now, his uniforms and other items are on permanent display at the Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Military Museum.
“We usually refuse to make uniform donations, mainly because we have so many donations,” said Bill Needswitz, president of the museum. However, given Sylvia’s long career at the Standard Times and other items donated in uniforms, Needswitz was happy to accept the donation and set up the display.
He contacted Matthew Bruyette, Veterans Services Officer of Dartmouth, to obtain a copy of Sylvia’s military records.
“He helped us to inform us,” said Niedzwiedz.
Sylvia served during World War II from 1942 to 1946, according to his discharge dissertation. He was 27 when he signed up.
Neidzwiedz said the military photographer had no specific job, so Silvia was assigned to the signal corps to manage communications and information systems. He was trained in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. His discharge documents called him a wireless telegrapher.
Sylvia spent her military career in the state, but Neizwitz was unable to track his exact whereabouts after training.
“We don’t know where he went from Fort Monmouth,” Neidzwiedz said. At some point Sylvia was in Mississippi, as one of the pictures of the donated item shows a young Sylvia in uniform next to the sign at the Beauvoir House, Jefferson Davis Shrine in Biloxi.
“He has all sorts of pictures here, but I’m not sure if he took them,” Neidzwiedz said.
Among his awards and medals, Sylvia was awarded the American Campaign Medal WWII, Good Conduct Strip, WWII Victory Medal, and WWII Honorary Discharge Device.
How Sylvia’s uniform came to the museum
Sylvia was the only child of Edward C. and Eva Hutte Silvia. He married Alice E. Kubel, who died in 1990 at the age of 73. Silvia died in 2006 at the age of 90. They had no children.
It’s an interesting story how uniforms and photographs were handed over to the War History Museum.
Sylvia lived on John Street in New Bedford and was a neighbor of Janet Francis. When Sylvia died without an heir, he left his home in Francis.
“They painted together,” said Francis’ niece Patricia Requier.
Lecuyer said her 94-year-old aunt had recently moved to a nursing home and found Sylvia’s uniform and photos in a cedar closet while her house was empty.
“We didn’t want to throw it away,” Lecuyer said.
Lecuyer said some of his paintings were also in her aunt’s house.
“We found a relative on the side of his wife in the family,” she said she would take a picture. “It should go to the family.”
Sylvia’s photography days at Standard-Times
“He was in his fifties and I was in his twenties, but I had a hard time keeping up with him,” wrote the late Hank Seaman in the 2006 Standard-Times column after Sylvia’s death. Seaman worked in a dissertation with Sylvia. “He was so enthusiastic about life that I always called him one of the youngest men I knew. He also had the will of iron. Milt wants to do something. If so, the power on earth will not change his mind. ”
Seaman said Sylvia was also a great painter and “played the average saxophone.”
Sylvia took a picture under the name E. Milton Sylvia, but was simply called “Shirako” by the people who worked with him.
The Digital Commonweath website describes Sylvia as follows: While a man was building the Braga Bridge on Fall River, he climbed to the top of the towering steel with a camera and shot the workers below. He recorded immigrant families from the last day in the village of the Azores Islands to the landing at Logan Airport and the emotional reunion with his family. ”
Sylvia was offered the opportunity to work for larger newspapers in New York and Boston, but he chose to stay in New Bedford. He once said, “My year at the Standard Times was the best year of my life. I love the New Bedford area. With the ocean inside you, it’s hard to let go.” I was told.
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