Alvin Arthur Fahrner Papers

Manuscript Collection #202
Fahrner, Alvin Arthur, 1915-1994
Physical description
0.43 Cubic Feet, 305 items , consisting of correspondence, orders, reports, memos, newsletters and publications, clippings, post cards, financial records, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Alvin Arthur Fahrner Papers (#202), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1939-1952) consisting of correspondence, orders, reports, memos, newsletters, clippings, post cards, financial records, and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Dr. Alvin Arthur Fahrner (November 17, 1915 - October 20, 1994), a native of Farmville, Virginia, was a professor of history at East Carolina University from 1960 through 1981. Before entering the Navy in 1940, he was an employee of the Virginia Department of Highways. After graduating from Midshipman School, Fahrner was assigned to various naval vessels, including the USS CALIFORNIA, on which he served during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 1941). From 1943 until 1945, Fahrner was an aide to Admiral Edward W. Hanson, first in COMBATDIV 9 with the third and fifth fleets, and then at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. During this time Fahrner saw action in most of the major combined military operations in the Pacific, including the Marshall Islands, Saipan, the Marianas, Iwo Jima, and others. Fahrner returned to reserve status in March of 1947.

Scope and arrangement

Personal correspondence (1939-1952) contains several items of interest, including Christmas cards (undated) containing derogatory comments about the Japanese. Also included in this material are letters (1947, 1952) from Admiral Hanson congratulating Fahrner on his release from naval duty and advising him about the possibility of returning to active duty in the event that "war might come accidentally."

Military correspondence, orders, and records (pre-World War II) deal with Fahrner's entry into the Navy and attendance at Midshipman School (1940), assignment to the USS ARIZONA, and appointment to the staff of Commander Battle Force aboard the USS CALIFORNIA (1941). During World War II the material deals with Fahrner's continued assignment to this staff, but aboard the USS NEW MEXICO and USS PENNSYLVANIA (1942). After receiving anti-aircraft training and serving on Atlantic convoy duty (1942-1943), Fahrner was ordered back to the Pacific as an aide and flag lieutenant on the staff of Admiral Edward W. Hanson of COMBATDIV 9 (1943-1945). Fahrner was then assigned to Hanson's staff at Pearl Harbor Navy Yard until his separation from the service (1945-1947).

Naval publications consist of ships' newspapers (1944-1945), newsletters from Pearl Harbor (1945), and a program, Here Comes the Navy, for an all-star baseball game at Pearl Harbor.

Miscellaneous material includes accounts of shipboard life, menus, a speech, poetry (possibly by Fahrner), and newspaper clippings documenting Fahrner's commendation for meritorious service and his transfer to Pearl Harbor.

Oversize material consists of publications, magazine clippings, a 1944 newspaper article and illustration of the USS WISCONSIN and a poster, "Air Defense," depicting the USS SOUTH DAKOTA in action.

Administrative information
Custodial History

June 27, 1972, ca. 200 items; Files (1941-1947), including correspondence, military orders, reports, newsletters, and miscellaneous

July 23, 1975, 50 items; Papers (1944-1946), consisting of Navy newsletters, newspapers, and miscellaneous. Gift of Dr. Alvin A. Fahrner, Greenville, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Dr. Alvin A. Fahrner

Processing information

Processed by D. Beard, April 1985

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Fahrner, Alvin Arthur, 1915-1994
Hanson, Edward W.
Corporate Names
Arizona (Battleship)
California (Battleship : BB-44)
East Carolina University--Faculty
New Mexico (Battleship)
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility
Pennsylvania (Battleship)
United States. Navy--Education
United States. Navy--History--World War, 1939-1945
United States. Navy--Military life
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Ocean
World War, 1939-1945--Hawaii
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American

Container list
Box 1 Military correspondence (1940-1947), general military records and orders (1941-1947), and personal correspondence (1939-1952)
Box 2 Various naval publications (1944-1945) and miscellaneous material (1944-1945, undated)
Folder os1 Naval publications (1944-1946), newspapers (1944-1945), and miscellaneous material (undated)