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George P. Demeroukas papers

 Collection 0575-GWP

George P. Demeroukas (1930-2012) was a technical illustrator and US Army veteran based in Chicago, Illinois. While stationed with the Japan Signal Battalion of the US Army in Japan from February 1955 to March 1956, Demeroukas photographed sites throughout Japan and collected numerous printed materials.

This collection consists of items Demeroukas created and collected while in Japan and covers the years 1950 to 1956. Materials include a photograph album of military patches and black and white photographs documenting the sites Demeroukas visited, as well as additional photographs, photographic slides, and negatives. The collection also includes brochures, pamphlets, documents, and four books, The American Way of Housekeeping (1950), Japan (1953) by Horace Bristol, Hiroshima (1954) by Y. Sasaki, and Japan Today: A Pictorial Guide (3rd edition) (1952) by Shodo Taki.

The George P. Demeroukas papers were collected and preserved by Katharine J.S. Demeroukas (1937-2019).


  • 1950-1956 and undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections Reading Room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection is unprocessed. This means that materials are in the same state we received them and have not been reviewed for content or condition. The collection may need to be screened prior to use. Please contact us before visiting the Special Collections reading room to view this collection. A preliminary inventory is available under the Inventories/Additional Information section.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the special collections reading room staff.


2.20 Linear Feet (1 oversize flat box, 1 Hollinger box, 1 half-size Hollinger box)

736 Photographs : black and white

222 Photographic Slides : 35mm

25 Negatives (Photographs) (3 negative envelopes, 7 original negative packets, and 15 negative film canisters) : 25 total sets of negatives

Content Description

The George P. Demeroukas papers consist of materials Demeroukas collected and created while stationed with the Japan Signal Battalion of the US Army in Japan, from February 1955 to March 1956.

The image collection includes a photograph album with black and white photographs and a selection of military patches, a sleeve of black and white photographs, photographic slides, packets and envelopes of photograph negatives, and film canisters of photograph negatives. Images may include sites Demeroukas visited while stationed and traveling in Japan, such as Gojohara, Gokahama, Fujishima, Fukanuma, Fukushima, Hirose River, Hiroshima, Igarashima, Kamakura, Kyoto, Matsushima Islands, Nara, Niigata, Osaka, Otsu, Sendai, Shizuoka, Tokyo, Yamagata, Yokohama, and Yokomuki.

Materials also include brochures, pamphlets, and documents Demeroukas collected in Japan, as well as four books, The American Way of Housekeeping (1950), Japan (1953) by Horace Bristol, Hiroshima (1954) by Y. Sasaki, and Japan Today: A Pictorial Guide (3rd edition) (1952) by Shodo Taki.

Biographical / Historical

George Peter Demeroukas was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 2, 1930, to Panagiotes "Peter" Demeroukas (1891/92-1961) and Helen Danelopoulos Demeroukas (1905-1975), both of Dimitsana, Greece. Peter immigrated to the US in 1907; Helen came in 1925, following her arranged marriage to Peter in Paris, France. George and his three siblings—Bessie (1926-2018), Harry (1927-1988), and Katherine (1929-2010)—grew up in a two-story apartment house at 124 S. Winchester Ave. The family attended St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church. At first, Peter operated an ice cream parlor and candy kitchen; later he had a shoe repair shop.

George attended Brown School, where he learned to speak English in kindergarten. He graduated in 1943. He enrolled in Crane Technical High School, a boys-only school, and majored in machine design. While there he participated in the ROTC program, serving as an officer and rifle-team member. He graduated from Crane in 1947. Extracurricular education included taking courses in design and illustration at the Art Institute of Chicago (1946-1947) and in electronics and television repair at Coyne Electrical Institute (1947-1949). He repaired shoes and handled other duties at his father’s shop in downtown Chicago.

He was drafted into the US Army for a two-year stint, from April 1954 to March 1956. George received basic training at Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri) before being assigned to the US Army Signal Corps. He was sent to Fort Monmouth (New Jersey) for a 26-week course in microwave radio repair. Upon graduation he received the rank of Private First Class. When asked what his preferences were for his next assignment, his first choice was Europe, followed by the Far East. He was assigned to the Japan Signal Battalion.

In February 1955 George was flown to Japan via the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). His first posting was to Camp Sendai (Sendai), headquarters of the US Army IX Corps. As part of a six-man crew he performed installation, operational, and maintenance procedures on microwave radio repeater and terminal stations (AN/FRC-23 and AN/FRC-26). By the 1950s, microwave radio relay towers and repeaters were increasingly being used to send telephone and television signals. They were seen as an improvement to conventional overland transmission wires. The crew either worked in and around the post they were assigned to, or they fanned out over the countryside, spending several days each at different sites, before moving to their next military post and repeating the process. George was also in charge of maintaining the crew’s truck in Sendai.

In March 1956 George returned to the US aboard the USNS General H.B. Freeman, a ship in the Military Sea Transportation Service. He was separated from the Armed Forces (i.e., left active duty) at Fort Sheridan (Illinois). He then served in the Illinois Reserve Militia for one year, receiving an honorable discharge from both entities. He received two medals—National Defense Services and Sharpshooter (Carbine).

George moved back to his parents’ home. In April 1956 he began work as a technical illustrator at Admiral Corporation in Chicago. His initial duties included the drafting of radio, television, and high-fidelity schematic diagrams. At Admiral he met Katharine Joan Starkel (1937-2019) of Chicago, who worked in the secretarial pool. Following their 1961 marriage, they had two children, daughter Marie (1962) and son Christopher (1964). The family lived in a two-story apartment house at 1417 N. 36th Avenue, Melrose Park, Illinois.

George continued at Admiral, becoming group leader and chief technical illustrator in 1969. His job was terminated in 1973, when his division moved to Connecticut. He later worked as a technical illustrator at several Chicago-area companies, including Rockwell Industries and Gottlieb, a pinball machine manufacturer. He retired in 1996.

George had many hobbies over the years. As a youth, he collected coins and postage stamps. He also took up photography, taking snapshots of his family, of Chicago, and of the trips he took across the US, both before, during, and after his army stint. In the late 1960s he taught himself how to make stained-glass lamps, and in the 1970s, lapidary work. In his later years he collected and repaired vintage radios and transistor radios.

Katharine cared for George at home for five years before his death on May 20, 2012.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These materials were assembled and preserved by George's wife Katharine J.S. Demeroukas after his death in 2012. The collection was donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Marie Demeroukas and Christopher P. Demeroukas, the daughter and son of George P. and Katharine J.S. Demeroukas, on August 17, 2022. They donated additional materials on April 7, 2023.

Processing Information

Prior to their donation, these materials were held by the Demeroukas family. Marie Demeroukas prepared extensive finding aid notes, a guide to the image collection, and a negative inventory. Demeroukas also arranged photographic slides by location or topic.

These materials were received by the University of Maryland Libraries in 2022 and 2023. Upon arrival, the photographic slides and negatives were left in their original containers and photographs were placed in protective sleeves. Remaining materials were re-housed into archival quality boxes and placed in acid-free folders. Items were left in the original order in which they were received.

George P. Demeroukas papers
Minimally Processed
Biographical note and the attached guide to the images prepared by Marie Demeroukas, June 2022, and minimal finding aid written by Lindsay Oliver, December 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-10-04: Liz Caringola incorporated information about accession 2023-0033-GWP into the finding aid.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742