Creation of the gallery and research on the portraits has been a painstaking but rewarding undertaking.
Special thanks to Jay Volk, Joan Guerin, Zack Tanner and Jeremy Saylor of WQED Interactive for their work on the web pages. Paula Zetter shared her graphic design expertise. Maria Pisano and Dave Hallewell helped spread the word through marketing and social media. The documentaries and videos were shot and edited by the talented Paul Ruggieri and Pierina Morelli.
Assisting over the past several years in researching the troop portraits and journal entries: interns Sarafina Brooks, Julia Carpey, Shannon Caruso, Katie Conboy, Brian Elliott, Chelsey Frey, Jeremy Erhlich, Samantha Gorsuch, Jodi Lincoln, Nathalie Martinez, Corey McDermot, Keaton Smith, Azia Squire, Hunter Tresnicky and Peter Vogel.
Sincere appreciation goes to Lisa Froug-Hirano, a dedicated World War II era researcher in Honolulu, Hawaii, who reached out upon learning of this project. Her many volunteer hours have provided valuable leads and successful matches to the veterans or their families. Like Elizabeth Black, Lisa's mother was with the American Red Cross Clubmobile during WW2.
Christina Carlton, US Navy, ITC, Francesca Cumero Christine Coleman Cook and Karan Ciotti are with Angelo's Angels, a California-based dog tag research and return organization. They learned of the Elizabeth Black portrait project and generously volunteered their research skills to successfully find families.
Kathy Kirchner of Grosse Pointe, Michigan has provided numerous leads. Kathy has a great interest in American home front activities during both world wars and also enjoys researching war effort contributions. Kathy is featured in my 2015 documentary "Finding Elizabeth's Soldiers."
Chris Hamilton of Batavia, Ohio joined our volunteer researchers in 2015. Chris runs a process serving company and since 2004 has been successful in searches involving adoption, the military and more. He has now added the Elizabeth Black portrait project as one of his missions.
Sue Freilino of Akron, Ohio volunteered her research skills in June 2016 after seeing "Finding Elizabeth's Soldiers on her PBS affiliate. A passionate genealogist, Sue has spent the past decade researching the history of her husband's family. Now she is tackling and solving some of WQED's most challenging Elizabeth Black portrait mysteries.
Norma Chase, a Pittsburgh attorney, has also volunteered her expertise in finding these veterans or their families.
Above all, John and Kay Black have meticulously catalogued, researched and preserved Elizabeth's portraits and memorabilia. Their hard work and commitment has helped preserve - in my opinion - a national treasure.
"Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black" (2013)
"Finding Elizabeth's Soldiers" (2015)