Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Dental Tech's Scribbles: The Collection of Bill Baltezar

A Dental Tech's Scribbles: The Collection of Bill Baltezar
Andre Sobocinski
The Grog - Vol 6 Number 2 - Spring 2011
Recently, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Library and Archives accessioned a collection of artwork by a Navy dental technician named William "Bill" Baltezar (1924-2009). Before enlisting in the Navy, Baltezar was a trained artist; and through service on active duty (1943-1946) and in the reserves (1946-1953), he never stopped exercising his talent or need to present the daily life of an enlisted sailor through sketch and scribble. This collection consists of letters to his
mother while at boot camp and later Hospital Corps School in San Diego, CA (1944), 26 pages of sketches drawn aboard Patrol Cruiser Escort-851 (1945-46), and illustrated envelopes that once enclosed love letters to his future wife, Dorothea. Dorothea Baltezar recalled of her husband, "he illustrated every envelope of every letter he ever sent—I kept all that he sent me over a two-year courtship." After leaving the Navy, Baltezar worked as an artist in Salinas, CA, where, in addition
to earning a reputation for his art work, Baltezar was a popular character in the community known for his fanciful stories, and performances in local community theater productions. In 2010, the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA, posthumously honored Baltezar with an exhibit of his watercolors entitled "When Ya Gonna Give Me a Damn Show?"

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