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Illuminated text study for testament "Concerning the State ... Image 1

Illuminated text study for testament "Concerning the State of Mind of Prisoners," by Captain John Wister Haines

Black ink, gold leaf and watercolor on paper with guidelines in graphite
Credit Line
Gift of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 2015
18 1/2 x 12 in.

Description & Inscriptions

[bottom left in black ink on guidelines in graphite]: Violet Oakley / 1947
Captain John Wister Haines was captured by the Japanese on May 6, 1942, while serving as a medical officer at Fort Mills Hospital, Corregidor, an island in the Philippines. According to a local newspaper, Captain Haines, a member of the well-known Wisters of Philadelphia, was reported missing on March 18, 1943, the same day his father, Dietrich Jansen Haines, died. Captain Haines was held prisoner for more than seventeen months at Bilibid, a prison in the Philippines occupied by the Japanese, and was reportedly killed by his captors on October 24, 1944. He was 34 years old. Less than four months after Haines’s death, with the commencement of the Battle of Manila on February 5, 1945, American troops liberated Bilibid Prison.

The testament that Oakley transcribed was reprinted in the April 1946 issue of American Affairs. According to the preface, the original was found in the possession of an unidentified Japanese person after the liberation of the Philippines and sent to Haines’s mother, Ella Wister Haines. That account seemingly contradicts Oakley’s notation that the testament was found hidden in the prison.


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