Dr. Howard G. Lanham is a practicing physician living in Westminster , Maryland. Since childhood he has had an interest in military history, particularly that of the American Civil War. At age eight he acquired his first Civil War artifact and became interested in uniforms and equipment of the Civil War. He is a member of the company of Military Historians and has published several articles in the journal of the American Society of Military Insignia Collectors.
Approximately 15 years ago, he began a computer project which required a precise description and literature citation for each item in his collection. In the course of this he realized that there was little availible reference material regarding insignia of grade (rank) of the United States Army. Among these, shoulder straps were particularly interesting and understudied. It was difficult to date shoulder straps as to a period of manufacture and to accurately catalog them. After an initial exploration of the problem, Mike Winey, the well-known photo archivist at the United States Army Military Institute of Carlisle, Pennsylvania suggested that the material would make a good publication.
Straps: The Evolution of United States Army Shoulder Straps is the product of this research. It should appeal to those who appreciate the kind of detail that only a skeptical person with both a historical and scientific research backround can produce. The material within the book is collected from diverse sources including Dr. Lanham's decades of observing militry artifacts and study of some of the leading collections in the country.