The photo of the execution of a Philippine insurrectionist was included, ca. 1898
James J. Halsema was born in the United States on January 1st, 1919, yet he spent the majority of his formative years in the Philippines. His father, E.J. Halsema, was the colonial mayor of the resort town of Baguio, known as the summer capital of the Philippines. E.J. Halsema was also the man that introduced Douglas MacArthur to his future wife, Jean Marie Faircloth, on the SS Hoover in 1935. James attended Brent School in Baguio nearly continuously until his graduation in 1936, when he set off for Duke University. In the summer of 1940, Halsema returned to the Philippines and became the editor of the Baguio edition of the Manila Daily Bulletin, an American-owned newspaper in the Philippines. Halsema was in Baguio when the Japanese invaded the Philippines in late December, 1941.
Along with the rest of the allied civilians in the Baguio area Halsema was incarcerated in the civilian internment camp at Camp Holmes. He spent three and a half years in captivity and endured torture at the hands of his Japanese captors. He was liberated in Manila along with the rest of the Baguio civilian internees at the old Bilibid Prison in February 1945. His internment was only a small chapter in his life.
James J. Halsema led a full and interesting life. After the war he took a job with Associated Press. In the summer of 1949 he married Margaret Alice Cleveland with whom he had six children, and earned his Master’s Degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University. That same year, Halsema began working with the United States Information Agency (USIA) as a Political Affairs Officer. He served in Singapore, Manila, Cairo, Chile and several other places before his retirement in April of 1979. In retirement, Halsema generated several books and articles about his father, his schooling, and the American era in the Philippines. James J. Halsema passed away on February 18, 2005.
James Halsema’s extensive collection of books, maps, and papers donated to the MacArthur Memorial is indicative of his lifelong attachment to, and affection for the Philippines. He collected anything concerning the history of the archipelago, its many native peoples, its culture, and its literature. His near three thousand volume collection ranges from World War II history to novels set in the Philippines; from hotel pamphlets to telephone directories; from scientific books like Tropical Blossoms in the Pacific to government printings of official rulings. Cataloguing and indexing of the library has been completed and it is now open for use. The MacArthur Memorial wishes to thank Mrs. Alice Halsema, Mr. Paul Halsema, Mr. Lou Jurika, Miss Sherri Barnes and Miss Laura Nogrady for all their help in making this collection available to the general public.