William Stamps Howard, Jr., Papers

Manuscript Collection #356
Howard, William Stamps, Jr., 1902-1962
Physical description
1.33 Cubic Feet, 227 items, 2 volumes , consisting of correspondence, dispatches, military records, photographs, newspaper clippings, journal, log book, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
William Stamps Howard, Jr., Papers (#356), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1930-1949) consisting of correspondence, dispatches, military records, photographs, newspaper, clippings, journal, log book, and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Captain William Stamps Howard, Jr. (1902-1962) was a native of Tarboro, NC, and a 1925 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. At the outbreak of World War II he commanded the destroyer USS STURTEVANT in convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. In 1943, Howard commanded Escort Division 28 in the Pacific and subsequently oversaw various other task groups in the Marshall-Gilbert-Ellice campaigns.

Scope and arrangement

Personal correspondence (1944-1945) consists of letters from Howard to his wife written from the Central Pacific Theatre. The letters reflect day-to-day ship activities and the responsibilities of Howard as commander of an escort task group which numbered at times as many as sixty vessels. Letters comment on local military engagements and incidents, atrocities, Japanese prisoners-of-war, souvenir hunting, recreation problems for his men, and the sinking of submarines. Other letters comment on a Marine invasion of January 31, 1944, and sailing past Japanese islands to draw fire. A letter (Feb., 1945) outlines Howard's activities in the South Pacific; and another letter (April, 1945) comments on Roosevelt and Truman, the fear of socialism as an outgrowth of racial changes, and the effectiveness of Negro combat soldiers.

General correspondence (1935-1943) pertains to ships on which Howard served. Letters (1935, 1936) pertain to exercise performance of the USS TREVER, commanded by Howard, which won a "red E." A report (Jan, 1942), concerns a depth charge attack by the USS STURTEVANT on a submarine. A letter (Nov., 1941) outlines naval escort strategy for an escort group in the Atlantic; and a letter of August 14, 1943, concerns the commissioning of the USS CLOUES.

Pacific Area Escort Division 28 records concern Howard's command of task groups 57.7 and 96.3. A typescript "Wartime History of Commander Marshalls-GilbertsPatrol and Escort Group (CTG 96.3)" (undated) outlines Howard's role in the conflict. The bulk of the records pertain to Task Group 57.7 commanded by Howard.

The log book (1941) of the USS STURTEVANT, a destroyer in Destroyer Division 62, Squadron 31, reflects convoy duty in the submarine infested waters of the North Atlantic just prior to the outbreak of World War II and shortly afterward. Log entries provide details of the rigors of convoy duty and delineate numbers, names, and positions of convoy ships, and records ships torpedoed. Entries concern attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent news bulletins regarding war news. Information concerning the sinking of the USS REUBEN JAMES is also recorded. Entries record daily reports of submarine positions, and an entry (Dec. 15, 1941) describes an encounter of the STURTEVANT with a submarine.

Also in the log is a copy of a letter (Dec. 16, 1941) describing the detection of a torpedo; evasive and offensive action; and evaluation of sound detection gear. A handwritten copy of a communique account of the REUBEN JAMES sinking and a similar entry for the USS KEARNY also appear, as does a list of destroyers turned over to England by the U.S.

A journal (1930-1943) records Howard's activities while serving on the USS NIAGARA and MAYFLOWER and other duties. Entries reflect his on and off duty activities and professional and social activities. Entries for 1931 concern the fire and sinking of the MAYFLOWER. An entry for 1934 logs war maneuvers of a fleet cruise, and entries for 1940 pertain to the outbreak of war. Personal financial entries (1936-1943) record information on his stocks- shares bought, dividends paid, etc.

Administrative information
Custodial History

March 15, 1978, 75 items; Papers (1930-1949), including correspondence, diary, log book, photographs, and miscellaneous. Donor: Mrs. W. Stamps Howard, Jr., Tarboro, NC.

February 23, 2007, (unprocessed addition 1), 38 items, 0.90 cubic feet; Papers (ca. 1930-2007, n.d.) pertaining to the United States Navy captain, raised in Tarboro, North Carolina, including biography, correspondence, diaries, financial and personnel records, scrapbook materials, film, video, compact disc, and digital video discs, especially pertaining to his assignment in American Samoa, 1937-1939, and his service aboard USS NIAGARA (AGP-1), USS TREVER (DD-#339), USS RUSSELL (DD-434), USS STURTEVANT (DE-240), and USS CLOUES (DE-265). See preliminary inventory attached. Donor: Williams Stamps Howard, III.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. W. Stamps Howard

Processing information

Processed by D. Lawson, February 1979

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
Howard, William Stamps, Jr., 1902-1962
Corporate Names
Mayflower (Armed yacht)
Niagara (Gunboat : PG–52)
Reuben James (Destroyer)
Sturtevant (Destroyer escort)
United States. Navy--Military life
United States. Navy--Officers
Destroyer escorts--United States
Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
World War, 1939-1945--Pacific Area
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American

Container list
Box 3 Folder b Item 1 Flag Day (n.d.) 8 mm. Reel #1. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Smells of vinegar
Box 3 Folder b Item 2 Samoa Personalities (ca. 1937-1939) 8 mm. Reel #2. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Smells of vinegar
Box 3 Folder b Item 3 Samoa - Manua (1937-1939) 8 mm. Reel #3. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Duplicate number. Smells of vinegar
Box 3 Folder b Item 4 Ships (n.d.) 8 mm. Reel #3. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Duplicate number. Smells of vinegar
Box 3 Folder b Item 5 Samoa - Tota (1937-1939) 8 mm. Reel #4. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Smells of vinegar
Box 3 Folder b Item 6 Samoa November 1937 - July 1937 (n.d.) Property of W.S. Howard 1955 Marina Way, Buford, GA 30518. Sony Braodcast Video Cassette Master
Box 3 Folder b Item 7 Samoa November 1937 - July 1937 (2005) © YesDVD. Duration: 1:46:12. DVD 2550-05. 1 item. 1 p