James O. Harrison papers

James O. Harrison papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Harrison, James Ostelle, 1920-
Title: James O. Harrison papers
Dates: 1939-1945
Quantity: 0.05 Linear feet (1 folder for this collection; MS 2293, 2335, 2339, 2394, 2408, 2418, & 2418 housed together in 1 box)
Coll. Number: ms2339(m)

Biographical/Historical Note

Jim Harrison, known as Ostelle to family and friends who knew him before the Second World War at which time he became James O. Harrison on military records thus Jim thereafter.

Jim was born on his father's farm in Johnson County, Georgia in 1920. After graduating from high school, Jim attended Middle Georgia College at Cochran, Georgia where he was able to pursue another of his interests - flying. He became a student in the Civilian Pilot Training Program and learned to fly. He went on to joing the Army Air Force in April 1941. He flew P-39s and P-40s in the Panama Canal Zone and the Galapagos Islands on patrol missions to protect the Canal from possible attack by Japanese submarines.

In June of 1943 Jim was assigned to the 90th Photographic Reconnaissance Wing of the Army Air Force and spent the next 18 months flying p-38s equipped with cameras instead of guns. His photo-recon missions took him all over the European theater of war. On March 3, 1944 he was shot out of the sky over Trieste by anti-aircraft fire and came down in the Adriatic Sea. He was rescued by Italian fishermen, cold but uninjured, and returned to a British outpost on the Italian coast. He was back with his outfit the next day and finished his tour of duty.

Jim was relieved of active duty in August 1947 but stayed in the Air Force Reserves until he retired in 1980 with the rank of Lt. Colonel. During the intervening years Jim returned to college and ultimately earned a PhD from Cornell University. After getting his Masters degree in Entomology from the University of Georgia. Jim taught two years at Young Harris Junior College before going to work for the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica. For seven years Jim worked with the insect pests on banana plants. He eventually became known as the "Father of Insect Ecology" because of his work to promote natural insect control on the banana plantations. During that time he earned his PhD in insect ecology from Cornell. When he returned to Georgia in 1962, Jim joined the faculty of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Jim retired in 1985 after 22 years at Mercer.

- Joyce R. Harrison, 1997 (Retrieved June 16, 2009)

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of Army Air Corps records for James O. Harrison during World War II, including flight records, photographs, clippings and correspondence.


Arranged by record type.

Index Terms

Aerial observation (Military science)--Europe.
Aerial observation (Military science)--Panama--Panama Canal.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Harrison, James Ostelle, 1920- -- Correspondence
Mercer University. -- Faculty
Photographic reconnaissance systems--Europe.
Photography, Military.
United States. Army. Air Corps.
University of Georgia. -- Alumni and alumnae
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, American.
World War, 1939-1945--Photography.
World War, 1939-1945--Reconnaissance operations.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

James O. Harrison papers. MS 2339(M). Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Army Air Corps records/Papers, 1939-1945