A large part of the collection consists of correspondence and orders spanning the admiral's career. An early series of letters (November 1928 - November 1931) detail Holderness's post-graduate courses and problems associated with them. Later correspondence includes a letter (September 23, 1943) from Holderness describing work conditions and productivity at the Port Newark, N. J., shipyard during World War II, as well as a series of letters (April 1945 - June 1947) describing construction and operation activity at the Manicani Island SRB, situation reports (May - August 1945), post-warplans for the base (August - September 1945), and its history from its inception (April 1946). Of particular interest is a letter (March 1947) describing the homeward voyage of one of the base's officers with stops at Manila, Okinawa, Shanghai, and Yokosuka, and the officer's opinions on each place.
The remaining correspondence concerns post-war activities of Holderness, including a description of life in the Navy (January 26, 1948), promotion board recommendations (June 29, 1955), and details of retirement status and benefits for a rear admiral (December 11, 1957). Further correspondence contains congratulatory letters Holderness received upon his promotion to rear admiral (1951). Of particular interest are letters from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Clifton B. Cates (July 23, 1951), and future admiral Ernest M. Eller (July 12, 1951).
A series of Manicani Island SRB establishment reports (May - October 1945) list on-going construction of piers and docks, the status of ship repair departments, and personnel assigned to the base. Descriptive photographs are found in many of the reports. Narrative histories of the base, technical descriptions of the floating dry docks, and copies of the base newsletter covering the first anniversary of the surrender of Japan and Holderness's leaving command (December 1946) are included.
Beyond Manicani Island, the collection contains information on ship repair bases overall. Holderness received several long letters and reports from other officers about their experiences with these bases during the war, giving detailed opinions on many aspects of their operation. Holderness also collected an extensive survey of forward repair bases from W. W. Keller that covers many of the pros and cons of the concept based on Keller's experiences.
Miscellaneous material, newspaper clippings, and printed material deal with Holderness's promotion to rear admiral (1951), and include launching and commissioning programs for the USS
NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55) in 1940, the USS
ATLANTA (CL-51) in 1941, and the USS
WORDEN (DD-352) in 1934. The 50th Reunion Book for the United States Naval Academy Class of 1923 and a signed picture of the reunion members, annual reports on the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (1956, 1958), the International Naval Review and Fleet Week Program (1957), a Christmas service guide and menu for Manicani Island SRB (1945), and a booklet on Camp John Hay in the Philippines are also included. There are programs for events at many of Holderness's duty stations, a number of certificates and diplomas that he received during his career, and his Masters thesis from MIT. Of special interest are the official program for the 350th celebration of the Jamestown Landing and a souvenir booklet for the Jamestown Festival (1957).
Two albums, a number of photographs, and an oversize folder complete the collection. The albums contain information, clippings, and photographs from Holderness's time at the Office of Industrial Relations and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Loose photographs include many shots of Manicani Island and various ceremonies Holderness attended throughout his career. Of interest are pictures of the USS
IDAHO (BB-42) and USS
MISSISSIPPI (BB-41) entering dry dock at Manicani Island (1945). The oversize folder contains all of Holderness's official promotion commission certificates.