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David E. Perkins Papers, 1940-1977

(Manuscript Collection #376)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: David E. Perkins Papers
Creator: Perkins, David E.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1940-1977, undated) including correspondence, newspaper clippings, booklets, reports, pamphlets, programs, commissions, regulations, movie film and miscellaneous.
Extent: 3.41 Cubic feet, 361 items , consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, booklets, reports, pamphlets, programs, commissions, regulations, movie film, and miscellaneous.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

November 29, 1978, ca. 300 items; Papers of U.S. Coast Guard officer, including correspondence (1942-1948, 1972, 1976-1977), regulations, handbooks, clippings, reports, and miscellaneous. Gift of Capt. David E. Perkins, Sunbury, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

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

Preferred Citation

David E. Perkins Papers (#376), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Gift of Capt. David E. Perkins

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Elmore, December 1979

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Capt. David Eaton Perkins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Eaton H. Perkins of Melrose, Massachusetts, graduated from Admiral Billard Academy in New London, Connecticut, in 1943. In 1946 he graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and was stationed first in Seattle, Washington, and then along the southwestern coast of Alaska. He was a crew member of the Coast Guard Cutter CLOVER, checking and repairing the buoys and unmanned lighthouses along the southern coast of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands from 1946 through 1948. In 1949 he was commissioned a lieutenant junior grade and by 1946 he was a lieutenant. In 1963 Perkins, then a lieutenant commander, became chief of the Coast Guard Cutter MODOC. He was promoted to captain in 1968 and the following year received the Meritorious Service Medal for work on the Programs Staff in the Office of Operations at Coast Guard Headquarters. Captain Perkins received the Legion of Merit as commander of all Coast Guard activities in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. In 1971 he was stationed at the Coast Guard base on Governors Island, New York City. Captain Perkins was a director of the Operation Sail 1976 event in New York City and the 1977 New York Harbor Festival. He retired as Chief of Staff to Admiral Rea and is living in Sunbury, N.C.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The four main topics covered by this collection are Captain Perkins' Coast Guard Academy years, duty aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter CLOVER off Alaska, the 1976 Operation Sail event, and the 1977 New York City Harbor Festival.

Letters written while a student at the Coast Guard Academy describe courses studied, types of recreation allowed, regulations, use of underclassmen to run errands, and discipline. Additional commentary concerns the possibility of going to Washington, D.C., to march at "Emperor Roosevelt's Coronation" in 1944, the ceremony involved in the decommissioning of the DENMARK (the last sailing ship in 1945 to carry an American flag) and recommissioning of it in the Danish Royal Navy, the sending of a Japanese Admiral's sword to the Coast Guard Academy in 1945 by General MacArthur, a discussion (1945) of the need for officers to remain in the Navy after the war's end, and commentary on Secretary of Navy Forrestal's plan to make reservists and Annapolis graduates equal in the Navy (1945).

After graduation from the Coast Guard Academy Captain Perkins spent brief periods in Seattle, Washington, before and during his tour along Alaska's southern coast. Letters from Seattle (1946) give observations about the people, discuss disruptions on board the cutter caused by bringing wives from Alaska to Seattle for shopping, describes passing through Snow Pass in the Alexander Archipelago, and mentions the work schedules for the 255-foot ships on weather patrol.

Captain Perkins' duty on the CLOVER, as described in his letters, involved working on isolated unmanned lighthouses and buoys, taking oil and supplies to isolated stations in the Gulf of Alaska, rescue missions, and freeing ships stuck in ice. He also describes the Alaskan towns Attu in the Aleutian Islands (1946), Ketchikan (1946), Anchorage (1946), Kodiak (1946), and Tin City (1947); Russian Territory (1947); a native settlement on King Island (1947), and Victoria on Vancouver Island (1947). He discusses various problems in the Coast Guard such as officers resigning (1947), friction between regulars and reservists (1946, 1947), districts not cooperating (1947), criticism by the House Appropriations Committee (1947), lack of records about ships (1947), lack of tenders on the Alaskan coastline (1947), unions slowing down repair work at the Seattle shipyard (1947), and plans to cut out the use of cutters in favor of Lighthouse Service (1947). Miscellaneous topics include a description of the Bering Sea and its storms (1946); a description of "Father Honest John L. Glatz," the skipper of the U.S. Coast Guard buoy snatcher CEDAR (1947); a description of skippers of the CLOVER and of the CLOVER'S special ice-breaking bow (1947); comments on the exploitation of the native ivory carvers; and Father O'Conner's work at Hooper Bay (1947). Also discussed are the celebration of Christmas at Ketchikan (1946) and at sea (1947), damage done by a volcano at Unimak Pass (1947) and by the Shishaldin volcano (1947) on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands, damage done by the tidal wave (1946) at Scotch Cap on Unimak Island, damage done to the USS PENSACOLA by 1946 atomic bomb tests during the" Crossroads" operation. A 1946 letter describes a visit with Captain Henry A. Larsen, who had written about the voyages of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police vessel, ST. ROCH, to the Northwest Passage during the years 1940 to 1944, during which he talked about his voyages and his exclusion from the Explorer's Club.

Material concerning the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut, includes items relating to Captain Perkins' years as a cadet there from 1943 through 1946. Included are his monthly report cards, Academy Christmas cards and postcards, programs and invitations to his baccalaureate and commencement exercises, and a newspaper clipping concerning his graduation.

Captain Perkins' scrapbook spans the years 1943 to 1973. Items of interest are the invitations, programs, and newspaper accounts for his graduation from Admiral Billard Academy in 1943 and from the Coast Guard Academy in 1946; newspaper articles concerning his appointment as the new commander of the Coast Guard Cutter MODOC in 1963; and clippings concerning his receipt of the Meritorius Service Medal in 1969 and the Legion of Merit Medal in 1971. Also of interest are newspaper clippings describing the Arctic and World War II career of the USS BEAR (1971), and the "Home with Honor" parade in New York City (1973).

Various items pertain to the U.S. Coast Guard base at Governors Island, New York, such as maps, pictures, and guides concerning its long history as an Army post and its status as a Coast Guard base since 1966.

Also included are Captain Perkins' commissions and several booklets. These booklets contain regulations governing appointments to cadetships in the U.S. Coast Guard (1940) and information on ocean electronic navigational aids (1949). Others consist of two Coast Guard Bulletins (1943, 1951), The Sea and Its Lore by Vice Admiral James Pine, U.S.C.G. (1947), and "Aids to Navigation for Offshore Structures" by Lt. Commander Perkins (1960).

The remainder of the collection pertains to the New York City Harbor Festival in 1977 and the Operation Sail celebration of the Bicentennial in 1976. Also present is an official souvenir booklet about the 1964 Operation Sail event that took place July 12-19 in New York City. Items concerning Operation Sail 1976 include a 1972 promotional booklet, a list of the board of directors, a New York News magazine article (June 1976) and a souvenir edition, official souvenir programs, a portfolio of six tall ships prints from paintings by Charles Lundgren, the film Tall Ships are Coming, pamphlets promoting commemorative items, and tall ships pictures. Also of interest are pamphlets, a commemorative report, a magazine article, memos, and the Captain's Handbook for Operation Sail 1976.

Captain Perkins was Chief Operations Officer for the New York City 1977 Harbor Festival held on July 2-4. Correspondence and official papers concern problems with Coast Guard regulations, safety for the festival events, planning notes, and letters of appreciation. Other related items include autographed postcards, an official program, and the Captain's Handbook.

Miscellaneous items include pictures of the coast Guard Cutter CLOVER breaking through an ice floe in Alaska, post cards of Alaskan scenes, photographs of Vietnam, and Captain Perkins with Vietnamese and Thai military officials in 1970. Oversized documents include Captain Perkins' 1946 commission, his 1946 B.S. degree from the Coast Guard Academy, and three tall ships picture.

For related material see the David E. Perkins Oral History interview, O.H. #54.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0376.1
Correspondence, U.S. Coast Guard Academy material, scrapbook, U.S. Coast Guard material, Operation Sail 1964 material, New York City Harbor Festival 1977 material, miscellaneous
Box 2#0376.2
International Naval Review 1976 material, Operation Sail 1976 material
Box 3#0376.3
Tall Ships are Coming film

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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