USS North Carolina Battleship Collection

1939-1975
Manuscript Collection #292
Creator(s)
USS North Carolina Battleship Commission
Physical description
1.66 Cubic Feet
Preferred Citation
USS North Carolina Battleship Collection (#292), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

Collection (1939-1975) consisting of photocopies of photographs, poetry, letters, personal accounts of battles, menus, diaries, clippings, pamphlets, scrapbook, memoranda, etc., concerning the USS North Carolina Battleship and its crew.


Biographical/historical information

The USS North Carolina, known as "the Showboat", was launched in October 1937 as the first of ten North Carolina-class fast battleships. It was armed with nine 16 inch guns in three turrets and 20 5 inch, .38 caliber guns in ten twin mounts, and considered the most powerful naval ship of the era. The USS North Carolina served in the Pacific theater of the Second World War, where it operated as a mobile weapons platform tasked with protecting aircraft carriers from Japanese attacks. It was struck by a torpedo in September of 1942 and forced to return to Pearl Harbor for repairs but quickly rejoined the war effort, leading Task Force 39 in the attack on the Marshall Islands. By the end of the Second World War the North Carolina was the most decorated battleship of the conflict, participating in every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater and earning 15 battle stars. After the war, the battleship served as a training vessel for midshipmen before being decommissioned and placed in the Inactive Reserve Fleet in 1947. It was designated to be scrapped in 1960, but the citizens of North Carolina organized a fundraising campaign to bring the ship to its namesake state. It was moored in Wilmington, North Carolina and opened to the public in October of 1961.

Source:

Blaine Taylor. The Magnificent Showboat: USS North Carolina (BB-55). Accessed February 26, 2020. https://search.proquest.com/docview/236096017?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=10639


Scope and arrangement

This collection contains photocopies of diaries and newspaper clippings from the Ben W. Blee collection as well as documents from Robert J. Celustka, Edward F. Cope, J.A. Halas, Charles Gilbert, and John E. Kirkpatrick. The Joe W. Stryker Papers include ship logs containing day to day operations, radio correspondence, and details concerning the torpedo strike on USS North Carolina in September 1942. The Paul Wieser Papers include a congratulatory letter to the USS North Carolina from Admiral Chester Nimitz congratulating them on their entry into Tokyo Bay in 1945, as well as a copy of "Illustrative Seamanship," a document used to train on battleship operations. The Richard C. Walker Papers discuss battleship armament and include a map of suspected Japanese gun emplacements on the island of Saipan, a target of the battleship's bombardment operations in the Pacific theater. The remainder of the collection, from the USS NC Battleship Commission Papers, contains actions reports, diaries from individual sailors, and one image of the USS North Carolina being towed into its current berth in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The original documents (now replaced with photocopies) formerly held in this collection were housed in this repository on loan until the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission had sufficient space to care for and display the materials. The originals of the photocopies here, as well as other original documents for which we don't have photocopies, are now housed with the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Administrative information
Custodial History

May 20, 1980 (addition 1), 400 items; Commission material (1961-1975), including correspondence, clippings, programs, and miscellaneous pertaining to memorial day ceremonies, the "sound and lights" program, and other aspects of the memorials operation. Lender: USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. Originals were returned December 9, 1998, and photocopies were retained in their place.

August 25, 1980 (addition 2), 5 vols.; Specifications and contract documents (1961-1971) for battleship memorial, Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

May 19, 1981 (addition 3), 1 vol.; Charles Curtis Awkerman journal (1941-1945). Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Lt. Col. Amo F. Judd. Originals were returned to USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998, and photocopies were retained in their place.

January 10, 1983 (addition 4), 33 items; Howard E. Mattson papers, including programs, menus, ship newspapers, charts, and miscellaneous items. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Howard W. Mattson. Originals were returned the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

June 7, 1983 (addition 5), 200 items; Chaplains' correspondence (1941-1945). Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998, and photocopies were retained in their place.

June 24, 1983 (addition 6), 174 items; Executive officer's memos (1943-1944), intelligence file (1941, 1943), historical matter file (1945-1956), and miscellaneous materials. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998, and some photocopies were retained in their place.

July 11, 1983 (addition 7), 177 items; Administrative naval message file (1947). Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

August 29, 1983 (addition 8), 121 items; Navigator's files and records, consisting of manuals, reports, memorandums, charts, orders, forms, and miscellaneous. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Originals were returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

October 4, 1983 (addition 9), 1 reels; Movie film of USS North Carolina. Donor to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission: Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret). Original was returned to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission on December 9, 1998.

Source of acquisition

Loaned by USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial

Loaned by Captain Frank S. Conlon, USN (ret)

Loaned by Lt. Col. Amo F. Judd

Loaned by Howard W. Mattson

Processing information

Processed by D. Lennon

Additional Processing by Johnie Robinson in May 1979, by James D'Angina, and by Martha Elmore on September 29, 2007.

Processing completed by Joel Cook, March 2020

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.


Related material

For more information on the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship, see:

Joe Warren Stryker Papers (#339), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Joe W. Stryker Oral History Interview (#OH0053), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Collection (#OH0024) Oral History Interviews with 64 individuals, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA


Key terms
Corporate Names
North Carolina (Battleship : BB-55)

Container list
0292 Digitized Material
Box 1 Folder a Ben W. Blee Papers: Photocopies of executive officer's memoranda,and messages to the ship, radio log entries, personal accounts of the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" and the Leyte Gulf action, and issue of "Press News" published by the Supply Department (October 31, 1944). April 1944-July 1945
Box 1 Folder b Ben W. Blee Papers: Photocopies of clippings of articles about the USS North Carolina Battleship written by Capt. Ben W. Blee. 1985
Box 1 Folder c Robert L. Celustka Paper: Photocopy of letter from officer of the deck Celustka describing the USS North Carolina being torpedoed. Sept. 15, 1942
Box 1 Folder d Edward F. Cope Papers: Photocopies of a diary (April 14, 1942 - July 28, 1943) with good coverage of the Solomon Islands campaign (1942), USS North Carolina "Morning Press" pub. by Gunnery Office (Dec. 20, 1942) and "Radio Press News" (Aug. 25, 1942).
Box 1 Folder e Joseph A. Halas Papers: Photocopy of a diary (January 9 - April 22, 1945) with good description for Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and raids on the Japanese main islands.
Box 1 Folder f Charles Gilbert Papers: Photocopy of a diary (November 2, 1942 - July 25, 1945) with good information about the Marianas Operations of June 1944.
Box 1 Folder g John E. Kirkpatrick Papers: Photocopies of analysis by anti-aircraft gunnery officer of aircraft actions (August 24, 1942) in an engagement between 40 Japanese airplanes and a task force.
Box 1 Folder h John E. Kirkpatrick Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports (November 25-26, December 8, 1943) with good detail regarding the bombardment of Nauru on December 8, 1943.
Box 1 Folder i John E. Kirkpatrick Papers: Photocopies of officer rosters, Action Reports (January 29-30, 1944), and memoir (written Sept. 2, 1975) about Kirkpatrick's service with the USS North Carolina as an anti-aircraft gunnery officer.
Box 1 Folder j John E. Kirkpatrick Papers: Photocopies of Listing of Battle Stations based on an allowance of 2080 men.
Box 2 Folder a Joe W. Stryker Papers: Photocopies of officers roster (December 1, 1942), notes (November 17, 1943), and Task Force Operating Instructions (June 3, 1942).
Box 2 Folder b Joe W. Stryker Papers: Photocopies of war diary (August 23, 1942), USS North Carolina Radio Press News issue (August 25, 1942), naval messages (August 1942 - December 1943), memoir of Battle of the Solomons, and a list of ships present at Pearl Harbor (November 9, 1943).
Box 2 Folder c Joe W. Stryker Papers: Photocopies of executive officer memos (1944).
Box 2 Folder d Joe W. Stryker Papers: Photocopies of naval messages (January-May, 1947) concerning clippings describing the laying of the keel of the USS North Carolina, and a 1968 letter.
Box 2 Folder e Paul A. Wieser Papers: Photocopies of letters (August 1942, September 5, 1945) giving a good account of the invasion of Guadalcanal (1942) and being at anchor in the Tokyo Bay (1945) 3 days after the formal surrender of Japan.
Box 2 Folder f Paul A. Wieser Papers: Photocopies of an Instruction manual titled Illustrative Seamanship with drawings by James Dumont.
Box 2 Folder g Richard C. Walker Papers: Photocopies of oversize blueprints for a 40 mm anti-aircraft gun training system and a map of Japanese Gun Emplacements in Saipan in the Western Pacific (c. 1945).
Box 3 Folder a USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Ship's history and Action Reports for August -September 1942
Box 3 Folder b USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of War Damage Report No. 61 "USS North Carolina Torpedo Damage, Solomon Islands, September 15, 1942"
Box 3 Folder c USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports November 25, 1943 - January 30, 1944
Box 3 Folder d USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports February 21 - June 19, 1944
Box 3 Folder e USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports November 25, 1944 - February 22, 1945
Box 3 Folder f USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports March 14-22, 1945
Box 3 Folder g USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports March 22 - April 26, 1945
Box 4 Folder a USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Action Reports July 8 - September 2, 1945
Box 4 Folder b USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Log Book February 1945
Box 4 Folder c USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Chaplain's File (correspondence with families of Navy personnel and with American Red Cross)
Box 4 Folder d USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Chaplain's File 1941-1943 (correspondence with families of Navy personnel and American Red Cross)
Box 4 Folder e USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Log Book April 1945
Box 4 Folder f USS North Carolina Battleship Commission Papers: Photocopies of Administrative Message File February - October 1944
Box 4 Folder h J. T. Stevenson Papers: Photocopies of Log Book (January 26, 1942 - September 17, 1943) kept by Stevenson who served in the damage control section of the USS North Carolina
Box 4 Folder i G. Guild Strott Papers: Photocopies of diary (December 11, 1941 - September 30, 1942) and USS North Carolina Radio Press News issues (August 4 - September 5, 1942)
Box 4 Folder j Harry S. Harnly Papers: Photocopies of Correspondence (April 1, May 3, September 6, 1945) which contains good descriptions of actions in Iwo Jima and Okinawa and of the Tokyo Bay area after the war's end.
Oversize Folder os1 Photograph of USS North Carolina sailing into its berth in Wilmington, North Carolina. Photographer is Hugh Morton.