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Louis Poisson Davis, Jr., Papers, 1937-1983

(Manuscript Collection #452)

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

Title: Louis Poisson Davis, Jr., Papers
Creator: Davis, Louis Poisson, 1919-
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1937-1983) including correspondence, telegrams, a press release, newspaper clippings, military papers, photographs, identification cards and miscellaneous.
Extent: 0.143 Cubic feet, 128 items , consisting of correspondence, telegrams, a press release, newspaper clippings, military papers, photographs, and miscellaneous materials.

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

Accessions Information

October 18, 1982, 50 items; Papers of a Naval officer, including a diary (Dec. 7, 1941 - Feb. 21, 1942), service record (1941-1949), trial data records (1942-1944), correspondence (1980, 1982), and photographs.

August 29, 1983, 28 items; Papers (1944-1945), including correspondence, reports, clippings, citations, and photographs.

October 4, 1983, 50 items; Papers (1941-1945), including correspondence and photographs. Gift of Louis Poisson Davis, Jr., Sarasota, Florida.

November 10, 1993, (unprocessed addition 1), 7 items; Copy of "SUBVETS: SALMON/STICKLEBACK CREW BIOS," reprints of USS SALMON newsletters, and other materials having to do with the SALMON. Donor: Mr. Louis Poisson Davis, Jr.

October 29, 2001, (unprocessed addition 2), 1 item; Confidential report of (undated) of submarine USS Salmon's (SS 182) depth charge damage suffered southeast of Kyushu, Japan, 30 October 1944, during her eleventh war patrol, 4 Sept. 1944 through 17 February 1945, until her decommissioning, 4 April 1946, and subsequent scrapping. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

February 11, 2003, (unprocessed addition 3), 10 items; Papers (1988-2002) including videocassettes (VHS), periodicals and published materials, and a photocopy of a photographic print, compiled by U.S. Naval officer, member of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1941, pertaining to submarine warfare during and after World War II, autobiographical accounts by Louis P. Davis, Jr., John M. Wright, Jr. and John W. Palm concerning their naval careers. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

May 23, 2003, (unprocessed addition 4), 6 items; U.S. Navy Submarine Centennial Prints (2000) autographed by the artist, Dean Ellis, including prints of the submarines U.S.S. CHEYENNE, U.S.S. GATO, U.S.S. HOLLAND, U.S.S. S-44, and U.S.S. WYOMING . 5 prints and one enclosure. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

August 25, 2003, (unprocessed addition 5), 3 items; Collection (1998-2002) of published materials relating to the U.S. Navy's submarine war against Japan during World War II, 1941-1945, including: Under Pressure: The Final Voyage of Submarine S-5, by A.J. (Alvin Joseph) Hill (New York, NY: The Free Press, copyright 2002 A.J. Hill), ISBN 0-7432-3677-7. 239 pp.; Subs Against the Rising Sun, by Keith M. Milton (Las Cruces, NM: Yucca Tree Press, copyright 2000) 1ST printing November 2000. ISBN 1-881325-45-8. 369pp.; Kangaroo Express: The Epic Story of the Submarine Growler, with recollections by "Skipper" Arnold Schade, by Richard J. Lanigan. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

August 25, 2003, (unprocessed addition 6), 1 item; Collection (2002) of published materials relating to the submarine U.S.S. WAHOO (SS-238) and the U.S. Navy's submarine war against Japan during World War II, 1941-1945, including: Unrestricted Warfare: How a new breed of officers led the submarine force to victory in World War II, by James DeRose. Foreward by Roger W. Paine Jr. (New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., copyright 2000) Includes bibliographical references and index. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

September 12, 2003, (unprocessed addition 7), 4 items; Confidential Report Section 7: U.S.S. SALMON (SS 182) Depth charge damage Southeast of Kyushu, Japan (10/30/1944), pp 61-81. (Photocopies); Letter from Farrell Stearns to Lou Davis (copyright 2003), regarding the Report and plans for the SALMON veterans reunion. 1 p. (Photocopy); Letter from Jack M. Chrisman to Lou Davis (4/14/1993), regarding plans to write a history of the SALMON, 2 p. (Holograph); and "Stained Glass Artistry Reflects WWII Submariners [re: Capt. Nick Nicholas of U.S.S. SPIKEFISH (SS 404)]," The Lone Sailor: Range and Bearings from your U.S. Navy Memorial (Summer 2003), 12pp. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

October 7, 2003, (unprocessed addition 8), 7 items, 0.01 cubic feet; Collection (1943-1944, 1972) of 5 World War II photographs of the submarine USS SALMON (SS-182) and its crew on patrol, in Hawaii, and Midway Island; and 2 items pertaining to the USS NIMITZ (CVAN-68), including a Hampton Roads Times-Herald clipping, 5/13/1972, entitled Carrier Nimitz Christened; and a pamphlet, entitled Launching of the Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier Nimitz, May 3, 1972, Newport News Shipbuilding, A Tenneco Company. Rec'd. 9/191/2003. See preliminiary inventory attached. Donor: Davis, Louis Poisson, Jr. (Mr.)

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

Louis Poisson Davis, Jr., Papers (#452), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Louis Poisson Davis, Jr.

Processing Information

  • Processed by J.W. Morris III, March 1985

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


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

Lieutenant Commander Louis Poisson Davis, Jr. (b. 1919) is the son of Captain Louis Poisson Davis (1883-1978). A 1941 graduate of the Naval Academy, the younger Davis saw action in the Pacific during World War II beginning at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, aboard the USS REID. In August 1942 Davis transferred to submarines and made five war patrols aboard the USS SALMON. In 1944 he took command of his own submarine, the S-18. Embroiled in a disagreement with his squadron commander over the S-18' s seaworthiness, Davis was relieved of command and resigned from the Navy on November 29, 1945. After postgraduate work at Princeton and Rutgers, Davis passed the New York Bar Examination in 1954 and went on to a career in business and the law. He now lives in Florida.

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

(For more biographical information see Davis's entry in Who's Who in American Law, included in his collection.)

Early correspondence is from Davis to his parents, written aboard the USS HENDERSON (1941) and the USS REID (1941) after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Subsequent correspondence, both personal and official, includes a citation (1944) for bravery given while aboard the USS SALMON. The majority of the collection pertains to Davis's loss of command of the S-18 and his attempts to have an inquiry made into the incident. Failure to receive a hearing resulted in Davis's resignation on November 29, 1945. Filed with official correspondence are letters acknowledging transcripts sent to Rutgers and Princeton from the Naval Academy, a fitness report, a Board of Inspection and Survey Report on the S-18, orders, a service record, and resignation papers.

Other correspondence includes letters from a French historian (1982) and from Bob Sneed, chairman of the USS REID reunion committee (1982).

In addition to personal and official correspondence, the collection contains a diary written aboard the USS REID (Dec. 7, 1941 - Feb. 21, 1942), describing the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent anti-submarine patrols off the Hawaiian Islands; an ammunition log for the USS SALMON (undated); and three torpedo logs for the USS SALMON (Aug. 1942 - Dec. 1942; Nov. 1942 - May, 1944; Mar. 1944). Several newspaper clippings concern Davis's citation (1944) and business career (1950) after the war.

Photographs document Davis's Naval Academy career (ca. 1937-1941), his participation in the war (ca. 1941-1945), and his family life (ca. 1945).

Miscellaneous material consists of identification cards, a galley proof for Who's Who in American Law, a graduation invitation, a menu from the TSMV DUNTROON, and other material.

For related material, see Collection #309.

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

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Autograph Entries :

  • Clark, J[erome] Bayard (2) 1944-1945
  • Denfield, Louis E[mil] 1945
  • Hill, Arthur M[iddleton] 1945
  • Jacobs, Randall 1945

Subject Entries :

  • EDUCATION— COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES— U.S. Naval Academy— 1937-1941
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Courts of Inquiry— 1944-1945
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Discipline— 1944-1945
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Education— U.S. Naval Academy— 1937-1941
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships and Shipping— 1944-1945
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS S-18— 1944-1945
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS REID— 1941-1942
  • U.S.— MILITARY— Navy— Ships— USS SALMON— 1942-1944
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Battles— Pearl Harbor— 1941
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Navy— Camouflage— 1942-1945
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Navy— Courts of Inquiry— 1944-1945
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Navy— Discipline— 1944-1945
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Navy— Submarine Warfare— 1942-1944
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Navy— Torpedoes— 1942-1944
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Ships and Shipping— 1941-1945
  • WAR— WORLD WAR II— Ships and Shipping— 1944-1945

Date Entries :

  • 1937-1940
  • 1941-1949

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

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

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

  • Box 1#0452.1
    • Folder g#0452.1.g
      Copy of "SUBVETS: SALMON/STICKLEBACK CREW BIOS," reprints of USS SALMON newsletters, and other materials having to do with the SALMON
    • Folder h#0452.1.h
      Confidential report of USS Salmon's (SS182) depth charge damage 10/30/1944
  • Box 2#0452.2
    • Palm, John W. My Plebe Year at Annapolis, July 1, 1937 to June 2, 1938 Midshipman Class of '41. 1 v. (89 p.) Photocopy. Spiral bound. Autographed to Lou Davis by the author. (ca. 2001 John Werner Palm.)
    • Sontag, Sherry and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew. Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. 1 v. 352 p. Autographed to Lou Davis by Sherry Sontag. (New York, Public Affairs, 1998)
    • Wright, John M., Jr. Captured on Corregidor: Diary of an American P. O. W. in World War II. 1 v. 181 p. Autographed to Lou Davis by the author. (Jefferson, NC & London: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1988)
    • Bergen, Brooksie. "Serving: His [Louis P. Davis, Jr.] Memories of Pearl Harbor Are More Vivid than a Movie," Photograph by Bill West. Sarasota Downtown # Beyond: Sarasota's Exploring Guide. (August / September 2001), p. 79
    • Photographic print. Caption: "Lou Davis, Charlie Styer, Rusty Crenshaw. Le Havre [France], June 1938. Beer, beer, beer." Photocopy.
    • ABC News - TV Sept 21 Anniversary [Broadcast including an interview with] Lou Davis & Dick Wright & Explanatory typescript addressed to Victor [Delano]. 1 VHS videocassette Maxell T-120 6X
    • Blind Man's Bluff: Tracking Russian Submarines. 1 VHS videocassette FUJI T-120 (40675XGA) Copied from WEDW Broadcast, 11/10/2002
    • Hitler's Lost Submarine: U 869. Copied from PBS broadcast, 10/5/2002. 1 VHS videocassette T120 SONY (04CA2124A)
    • Kursk HTP. Copied from TLC broadcast 10/9/2002. 1 VHS videocassette T120 SONY (04CA2124A)
    • Shipwreck: Deep Sea Rescue [USS SQUALUS] 1 VHS videocassette TDK T120 RV (1N290DCB2)
  • Box 3#0452.3
    • Folder a#0452.3.a
      Collection of 5 World War II photographs [items 1-5] of the submarine USS SALMON (SS-182) and 2 items [items 6-7] pertaining to the USS NIMITZ (CVAN-68)
      • Returning from war patrol, the crew displays its exuberance and war time accomplishments. I do not remember names for the crew members shown.
      • Returning from war patrol, the crew displays its exuberance and war time accomplishments. I do not remember names for the crew members shown.
      • Returning from war patrol, the crew displays its exuberance and war time accomplishments. I do not remember names for the crew members shown.
      • Refit of USS SALMON at Midway Island in 1943. Chief Quartermaster Tim Wood, Lieut. Louis P. Davis, Jr., & Lt. Cmdr. Lyle S. Strickler attend a picnic lunch.
      • Nicholas J. Nicholas, CO, USS SALMON and Louis P. Davis, Jr., Torpedo Officer, at Waikiki Beach [Hawaii] during a refit in 1944.
      • Clipping: Carrier Nimitz Christened, The Times-Herald, Hampton Roads, VA, v. 73, no. 115 (5/13/1972), p. 1.
      • Pamphlet: Llaunching of the Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier NIMITZ May 13, 1972, Newport News Shipbuilding, A Tenneco Company. 14 p.
    • Folder b#0452.3.b
      Confidential Report Section 7: USS Salmon (SS-182), etc. 4 items, 36 pages.
    • Folder c#0452.3.c
      U.S. Navy Submarine Centennial Prints (2000)
  • Box 3#0452.3
    Books
    • Under Pressure: The Final Voyage of Submarine S-5, by A.J. (Alvin Joseph) Hill (New York, NY: The Free Press, copyright 2002 A.J. Hill), 239 pp.
    • Subs Against the Rising Sun, by Keith M. Milton. (Las Cruces, NM: Yucca Tree Press, copyright 2000). 1ST printing November 2000. 369pp. ISBN 1-881325-45-8
    • Kangaroo Express: The Epic Story of the Submarine Growler, with recollections by "Skipper" Arnold Schade, by Richard J. Lanigan.
    • WAHOO (SS-238) and the U.S. Navy's submarine war against Japan during World War II, 1941-1945, including: Unrestricted Warfare: How a new breed of officers led the submarine force to victory in World War II, by James DeRose. Foreward by Roger W. Paine Jr. (New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., copyright 2000) Includes bibliographical references and index.

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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