*To make a donation to preserve Alfred Sedivi's photographs, please click here to visit the Kickstarter "Preserve Rare Photos from USS Indianapolis and WWII" project. Checks can be made to The Naval Institute Foundation and sent to 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402. Please note "USS Indianapolis/Sedivi" in the memo section of the check. Credit card gifts can be made over the phone via 410.295.1054 during reguar business hours.*
In the closing days of World War II, torpedoes from a Japanese submarine slammed into the side of USS Indianapolis and doomed the heavy cruiser. The sailors who didn’t drown were left adrift on the open ocean for four days during which they battled the elements, starvation and shark attacks. Fewer than 320 from the ship’s original crew of 1,196 survived.
The captain of the ship took the blame for the loss of ship and life — driving him to commit suicide. He would be posthumously exonerated fifty years later following a campaign greatly helped by the efforts of a boy working on a school project about the incident.
Most learned of Indianapolis through the 1975 film Jaws. Actor Robert Shaw delivered one of the greatest monologues in the history of the movies. As the character “Quint,” Shaw gave a gripping account of his experience as one of the surviving sailors of the ships. The tragedy was also the subject of the 1991 TV movie Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.
Among those who lost theirs lives when the Indianapolis sank was Alfred Joseph Sedivi, the ship’s official photographer. Sedivi documented the lives of the sailors who served, played, prayed and fought on the ship they affectionately called “the Indy Maru.”
Sedivi’s cameras also captured the aftermath of the battles on Tinian, Saipan, Guam, Tarawa and Iwo Jima. His photos survived the war because he routinely sent them home until just a few days before his ship’s fatal mission.
The collection consists of 1,650 images, the overwhelming majority of which have never been published. In addition to hundreds of candid shots of the crew that provide unique insight to daily life on the Indianapolis, there are dozens of photos that escaped wartime censors and contain rare scenes of kamikaze strikes and Japanese prisoners on the ship.
Unfortunately, a portion of the photos were damaged when they were stolen decades ago and improperly stored. The surfaces of several of these prints stuck together and were partially torn when they were separated. A few hundred other photos have curled and started to crack.
Now that the entire collection has been reassembled, the U.S. Naval Institute has launched a campaign to raise the funds needed to restore and digitize all 1,650 photos. With your generous donation, we can ensure that this important collection of photographs will be available for future generations. To contribute, please visit kickstarter url
Our $3,000 goal would provide the funds to digitize the entire 1,650 photo collection and preserve the original photos, including preservation materials (archive boxes, poly slides for each photo). The Institute's stretch goal of $7,000 would enable the purchase of a quality digital camera and copy stand mount allowing for the photo albums to be digitized without being taken apart. The albums would then be preserved and properly stored in their original and current condition. If funds raised total $10,000 or more, the Naval Institute will develop a traveling exhibition of the photographs to be displayed at museums and locations across the US.