Sweetheart Grips: How Soldiers Kept Loved Ones Close

Since the invention of the camera, soldiers have carried photographs of loved ones in their helmets, pockets, Bibles, cigarette cases, and anywhere else they could keep them close. The smiling faces of those waiting for them at home boosted morale and reminded them of home. During World War II, a new trend emerged of soldiers keeping photographs in their weapons. The plexiglass grips were more than just decorative. The clear material allowed soldiers to view the magazine from the side of the gun and see how many rounds remained. To keep this view clear, sometimes the photographs would be inserted underneath the right plate, keeping the left unadorned. Sweetheart grips are interesting piece of World War II and photography history, yet not much is known about them. A few collectors have sought them out for their military paraphernalia collections, but there are hardly any sweetheart grips in photography collections.