Remembering a World War II Veteran Through His Work

Authored by Emily Leo

A watercolor painting depicting a scene from life in Franklin Square during the 20th Century. A temporary carnival held in or near Franklin Square in the early 1950s. Indiviglia, Salvatore J. 1952. Carnival. Watercolor on paper. Franklin Square Public Library, New York. (The Franklin Square Historical Society owns the copyright to this painting and has loaned it to the Franklin Square Public Library to display. Photo taken with permission from the Franklin Square Public Library by Emily Leo on September 15th, 2020).

World War II veterans are an ever-shrinking population. While most living veterans are well into their 90s, many of their stories have not been told. Salvatore J. Indiviglia was 99 when he passed on May 28, 2018. According to an article from the Pew Research Center, “The [Department of Veteran’s Affairs] projections show that between Sept. 30, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020, 245 WWII veterans are expected to be lost each day” (Schaeffer 2020). Thus, it is more crucial than ever to record as many of their stories and experiences as possible before they are lost for good. However, sometimes their stories live on through the work they have done throughout their lives. I was able to find his story through the paintings he has left behind and the organizations he was a part of. Salvatore J. Indiviglia was a resident of Franklin Square, New York for 68 years, a veteran of World War II, and a prolific artist whose work is displayed in numerous places, most notably, in the Franklin Square Public Library (Newsday 2018).

Salvatore J. Indiviglia was born on November 16, 1919 and grew up in East Harlem, New York. He studied and graduated from various art schools starting from the Leonardo Da Vinci Art School, to the School of Industrial Arts (also known as the High School of Art and Design), and ultimately earning a B.A. of fine art from Pratt Institute. His education also included working an apprentice-assistantship under Alfred D. Crimi (Special Collections Department/Long Island Institute 2008). He served with the 5th U.S. Army as both a soldier and an artist. According to Audubon Artists, he created paintings that “toured the United States as part of war bonds and recruitment promotions” (Audubon Artists 2020). After the war, he worked as a Commercial Art Director for multiple studios in New York City. He was also an active member of various art societies. These societies included the American Watercolor Society, the Salmagundi Club and Audubon Artists. From 1960-1970, he served as a Navy Combat Artist and a US Naval Academy Information Officer and received the Navy Commendation Medal for Outstanding Service (Audubon Artists 2020). He contributed his artwork to military magazines like All Hands, a monthly magazine created for the United States Navy for its sailors. He also served as a commander for American Legion Post 1014, which unfortunately no longer exists due to low membership (Newsday 2018). As a civilian, he conducted private art classes, and continued to create wonderful artwork for the communities in which he lived. Six of his paintings are displayed in the Franklin Square Public Library. He worked in a variety of mediums ranging from charcoal to watercolor. The paintings that are displayed in the library including the one pictured above, were created in watercolor, and depict scenes from Franklin Square during the 20th Century. These paintings were given to the Franklin Square Historical Society because Mr. Indiviglia wished for the paintings to remain in the community. The Historical Society loaned these paintings to the library so that they may be enjoyed and appreciated by the public.

Salvatore J. Indiviglia’s life and work exemplifies Vincentian spirituality through the Core Value of Service. These values are defined as “[commitment] to a life of stewardship as a caretaker of God-given talents, resources and knowledge, and caregiver responding to the needs of others” (St. John’s University 2020). Mr. Indiviglia dedicated his life to serving his country and serving his community through his service as a soldier, a teacher and as an artist.


Audubon Artists. 2020. “IN MEMORIAM Salvatore J Indiviglia Memoriam.”

Indiviglia, Salvatore J. 1952. Carnival. Watercolor on paper. Franklin Square Public Library, New York.

Newsday. 2018. “Salvatore Indiviglia 1919 – 2018.” May 31, 2018.

Schaeffer, Katherine. 2020. “On 75th Anniversary of V-E Day, about 300,000 American WWII Veterans Are Alive.” Pew Research Center. May 8, 2020.

St. John’s University. 2020. “Core Values.”

Special Collections Department/Long Island Institute. 2008. “Salvatore J. Indiviglia Collection of World War II and Vietnam Material, c. 1922-2008.”