Thomas Burrowes Papers

Manuscript Collection #377
Burrowes, Thomas
Physical description
0.87 Cubic Feet, 463 items, consisting of diaries, correspondence, photographs, certificates, citations, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, reports, journals, biographies, orders, appointments, speeches, programs, a book and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Thomas Burrowes Papers (#377), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1925-1974, undated) consisting of diaries, correspondence, photographs, certificates, citations, newspaper, clippings, magazine articles, etc. and miscellaneous.

Biographical/historical information

Rear Admiral Thomas Burrowes was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 17, 1904. In 1925, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Upon his graduation, he was commissioned as an ensign and took his first duty aboard the battleship, USS WEST VIRGINIA. Burrowes spent thirty-five years on active duty in the United States Navy, serving in various capacities. He achieved the rank of rear admiral in 1953 and continued his naval career until his retirement in 1960. Burrowes was married to the former Jean Archer Randal who now lives in Silver Springs, Maryland, and had two children, Jean Ann and Thomas Burrowes, Jr.

Scope and arrangement

This collection primarily deals with Burrowes' activities during his various assignments and commands. The four diaries in this collection cover the years 1925 through 1973.

For additional biographical information, see the collection.

The first of these diaries (1925-1941) contains financial records and notes day-to-day activities aboard the USS WEST VIRGINIA, USS MARCUS, USS NOA, USS EAGLE 35, USS EAGLE 58, USS KANE, USS WHIPPOORWILL, USS TEXAS, USS MOFFETT, USS CONNER, and USS MCKEAN. The second diary (Jan.-Nov., 1947) contains information relating to personal and professional activities while Burrowes was Commander Destroyer Squadron Seven, which operated in the Pacific. A third diary (July, 1948 - April, 1956) concerns Burrowes' career as commander of the USS WISCONSIN (Jan. 1951 - Feb., 1952) during its recommissioning, shakedown cruise, and tour of duty off the coast of Korea. The bulk of the material discussed in this section of the diary consists of notes on the activities aboard ship during the shakedown cruise with a group of midshipmen from the Naval Academy; on trips made to various ports of call such as Edinburgh, Scotland, Lisbon, Portugal, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and on the ship's operations off the coast of Korea (Nov., 1951 - Feb., 1952). The remainder of this diary consists of Burrowes' duties as Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for the Naval Reserve and as Commander Destroyer Flotilla Three, Pacific Area. The final diary (May, 1956 - Jan., 1974) records Burrowes' day-to-day activities as Commander Military Sea Transportation Service (May-Aug., 1956), Director of Logistic Plans Division (Sept., 1956 - Sept., 1958), Commander Service Force, Atlantic (Sept., 1958 - June, 1960), and through the years of his retirement which began in July, 1960.

The bulk of the correspondence (1929-1959) in this collection consists of requests for leave, letters of commendation, requests for change of residence, arrangements for visiting NATO members and various memos.

A large portion of this collection consists of material concerning the various ships on which Burrowes served. The material on the USS O'BRIEN includes a roster of officers, a list of personnel, and a war damage report. Newspaper and magazine articles on the O'BRIEN deal with the sinking of the ship (1942) by the enemy. Also included are photographs depicting the sinking of the vessel. The material concerning the USS ABNER READ includes pictures showing the reconstruction of the ship, a program of the memorial service held for shipmates who were lost in an explosion on a patrol mission during the occupation of Kiska Island (Aug., 1943), a list of next-of-kin of the dead and missing, and a magazine article discussing the occupation on Kiska Island. The WISCONSIN material contains official communications and reports on the grounding of the ship in the Hudson River (Aug., 1951), routine reports on ammunition and inventory, change of command ceremonies, and rosters of officers. Other correspondence involving the WISCONSIN concerns invitations to its recommissioning ceremonies; a visit to the Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland (June, 1951); and an article Burrowes wrote for Coronet. Newspaper and magazine articles report on the ship's recomissioning, its grounding in the Hudson River, and its involvement in the Korean War. There also are some interesting photographs of the ship. Other material on ships in this collection consists of copies of newspaper articles on the sinking of the USS HOBSON (1952); correspondence, history, pictures, and operating procedures of Destroyer Squadron Seven; and a series of articles on the development and importance of destroyers to the Navy.

This collection also includes correspondence and articles reflecting the need to develop a program of leadership indoctrination for young officers and concern over the increased AWOL rates, personnel shortages, and decline in morale throughout the ranks. Correspondence generated while Burrowes was Director of Logistic Plans Division reflects his concern over transportation problems within the Navy and the need to modernize the methods of replenishing ships.

The remainder of the collection contains letters of appointment to Burrowes' various commands (1925-1958), change of duty orders (1929-1959, undated), citations he received for meritorious acts (1932-1952, undated) and award certificates (1925-1955, undated). Also included in the collection are a group of official naval biographical sheets (1945-1960) on Rear Admiral Burrowes and a copy of his United States Naval Academy transcripts. A book entitled Your Future in the Navy written by Burrowes during his retirement is also contained in the collection.

Three groups of miscellaneous material include various newspaper articles concerning such subjects as the sinking of the USS WASP and a NATO meeting held in Norfolk, Virginia; miscellaneous photographs of various vessels; and a group of papers including such items as rosters of officers, programs, and memos.

Administrative information
Custodial History

December 4, 1978, ca. 450 items; Papers of U.S. Navy officer, including diaries (1925-1941, 1947-1974); correspondence (1951-1959); files on USS WISCONSIN (1951-1952), USS ABNER READ (1943), USS O'BRIEN (1942), Destroyer Squadron Seven (1947), and Destroyer Flotilla Three (1954); speeches, reports, clippings, photographs, citations, and miscellaneous. Deposited by Mrs. Thomas Burrowes, Silver Springs, Maryland.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Thomas Burrowes

Processing information

Processed by E. Dunn, March 1981

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
Burrowes, Thomas, 1904-1974
Corporate Names
Abner Read (Destroyer)
O'Brien (Destroyer : DD-415)
United States. Navy--Military life
United States. Navy--Officers
United States. Navy. Destroyer Squadron, 7th
Wisconsin (Battleship : BB-64)

Container list
Box 1 Diaries, correspondence, citations, orders, appointments, biographies, certificates, miscellaneous
Box 2 Ship files (correspondence, newspaper articles, photographs, miscellaneous) Shore duty files (correspondence, articles, miscellaneous) Miscellaneous (photographs, articles, publications)