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Angelo Spinelli papers

Call Number: MS 1632

Scope and Contents

The Angelo Spinelli Papers consist of materials documenting his life and, in particular, his experience as an American P.O.W. during World War II. Printed materials of the collection include a genealogy of the Spinelli family (in Italian) and Spinelli's written reminiscences. The majority of the collection pertains to Spinelli's photographs taken inside Stalag IIIB during the war. The collection includes 148 exhibit photographs and a videotape of various television programs which have used Spinelli's photos. The collection also includes copies of several newspaper and magazine articles about Spinelli's photographs. The folio folder of the collection includes a copy of a newsletter written by American P.O.W.s at Stalag IIIB in 1943.


  • 1943-1989


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. Copies of commercially produced audiovisual materials contained in this collection cannot be made for researcher use outside of the repository.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of written reminiscences by Angelo Spinelli and printed material relating to Spinelli and his photographs. Of note is an issue of a prisoner of war newsletter entitled "The Pow Wow" dated June 25, 1943.

Biographical / Historical

Angelo M. Spinelli was born in 1917 in the Bronx. During World War II, Spinelli was a combat photographer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He took part in the invasion of North Africa on November 8, 1942, and was captured by the Germans on February 14, 1943, near the Fiad Pass. Soon after his arrival at Stalag IIIB near Fustenberg on the Oder, Spinelli obtained a camera and tripod from a German guard in exchange for cigarettes. In his twenty months at Stalag IIIB, Spinelli continued to trade cigarettes for rolls of film and took over 1200 photographs of life within the prison camp. The 300 negatives that turned out to be usable portray the daily life of the "Kriegies," American P.O.W. slang for the German word for prisoner of war.

Nine months after his capture, Spinelli was awarded in abstentia the Legion of Merit for reconnaisance work which he had performed. Spinelli was freed by the Russians in May 1945 from Stalag IIIA near Berlin where he spent the last seven months of the war.

In 1946, Spinelli wrote a booklet, in collaboration with Colonel C. Ross Greening, entitled The Yankee Kriegies. Spinelli's photographs have appeared in many books, such as Prisoners of World War II, and have been exhibited throughout the United States.

After the war, Spinelli was a jewel merchant in Yonkers for 38 years. He retired to Hallandale, Florida, in January 1989.

The papers were the gift of Angelo Spinelli in 1992

Guide to the Angelo Spinelli Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Carol King and Randall D. Law
July 1993
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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