NHHC home Art Collection

Marines in Action


Marine Airman
Kerr Eby #40
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories

A Marine fighter pilot stands by his plane, having just returned from lending air support to men of the assault waves at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. He and many like him showed amazing courage and grim determination in strafing the Japanese while their buddies fought doggedly on the beach.


Night Shift
Kerr Eby #26
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories

Aircrewmen work by floodlights as they repair a plane during the battle of Cape Gloucester on New Britain. Stark white against the ebon jungle night, they work with studied haste, their practiced hands sure and steady among the complex works of the plane engine.


Last Rights For the Sergeant
Kerr Eby #41
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories

Bowed in grief which breaks through their traditional stoicism, Marines mourn the passing of their beloved sergeant, buried not far from where he fell in jungle combat. Numbers of humble graves like his line the long road toward Pacific victory.

Kerr Eby

Kerr Eby was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1889, the son of Methodist missionaries. The family returned to their native Canada in 1893, where he lived until his high school graduation. He then moved to New York City to study art, first at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and later at the Art Students League. One of the finest etchers of this century, his illustrations appeared in such magazines as Harper's, Century, Scribner's and Everybody's. In World War I he served as a sergeant with the 40th engineers in France, and his sketches of scenes at Belleau Wood, Chateau- Thierry, Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne later formed the basis for his famous book War, published by Yale University Press in 1936. In World War II he was accredited as a war artist- correspondent for Abbott Laboratories in 1943 and accompanied the Marines when they landed at Tarawa. During the next four months he became a familiar figure wherever the fighting was hardest in the South Pacific, including Empress Augusta Bay and Bougainville, where he lived for three weeks in a foxhole on the front line, rough sketching the jungle fighting. While there, he contracted a tropical disease which weakened his health. He returned to the United States unable to resume his very active career. He died in 1946.


"Marines In Action" is a tribute to the valor of the United States Marine Corps. The collection is presented by Abbott Laboratories to the American people through gift to their government that the pictures may be part of the permanent record of this war.

Abbott expresses its deep gratitude to the officers and men of the Marine Corps, without whose generous assistance the pictures could not have been created. To Kerr Eby, who landed with the Marines at Tarawa and accompanied them in their conquest of Bougainville is tendered special thanks and our most sincere appreciation.

Abbott gratefully acknowledges the able direction given the project by the art and poster section of the Navy Department's Office of Public Relations which also handled the countless details involved. Gratitude is likewise expressed to the Associated American Artists for administrative work and for their unfailing cooperation and help at every stage in the development of the program

Finally I wish to extend my personal thanks and appreciation to the those members of the Abbott organization whose vision was responsible for inauguration of the project and under whose guidance it has been carried on to successful completion.

S. DeWitt Clough, President Abbott Laboratories North Chicago Illinois, 1944.

page 3 of 3

Back to previous page

search the NHC site | artists list | exhibit listing
Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Art Collection Branch

6 December 1999