|Chameleons, German book illustration (1897)|
Lieutenants [Richard S.] Meryman and Jack [Gage] Stark [neither one from San Francisco]; Sergeant Nishan Tooroonjian, sculptor; Sergeant Jack L. Osthoff, artist; Sergeant Frank W. Swain, artist; Sergeant Louis De Wald, artist; Sergeant Marcus M. Meherin, Jr, artist; Sergeant Joseph Kopersky, designer; Sergeant Sam Macloud, painter; Stanley Long, painter; Sergeant Albert [Sheldon] Pennoyer, artist; Corporal Clifford Neil, artist; Sergeant William R. Moran, mechanic; Sergeant Frank Duncan, artist…
…All of the men wore on their left shoulder a yellow chameleon—nature's own camoufleur, and emblematic of the soldiers' work in colors to deceive and mislead.
Some of these names are familiar. The lieutenant in charge, Richard S[umner] Meryman, was a student of Abbott H. Thayer in Dublin NH, and had collaborated with Thayer and (his son) Gerald H. Thayer prior to 1909 in illustrating their influential book on Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom (available online).
In two earlier blog posts, we've also talked about A. Sheldon Pennoyer, who was one of the founders of the pre-war organization called the American Camouflage Western Division. There is mention of Pennoyer in an earlier column called "Artists and Their Work" by Anna Cora Winchell (San Francisco Chronicle, November 23, 1917), which reads as follows—
A greeting from artists and the camouflage corps comes from Camp Lewis, Washington, through A. Sheldon Pennoyer. It will be remembered that he was the dominating spirit, previous to being drafted, in organizing the camouflage in San Francisco.
From R. Tripp Evans, Grant Wood: A Life. New York: Knopf, 2010—
During World War I, [Grant] Wood was stationed in Washington DC, where he worked for the American Expeditionary Force Camouflage Division…Given his penchant for self-effacement it is equally fitting, as [his sister] Nan records, that he kept a pet chameleon in his studio.