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H. V. Brown Papers, 1939-1943

Manuscript Collection #703

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

Title: H. V. Brown Papers
Creator: Brown, Harold V.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1939-1943) include mainly correspondence from a U.S. naval officer describing life on the minesweeper USS YMS-62 (1942-1943) during World War II while stationed in New Oleans and Burwood in Louisiana, at sea and in Algeria. Lieutenant Commander Brown also records his impressions of Algeria in these letters.
Extent: 0.055 Cubic feet, 55 items, correspondence of the commanding officer of USS YMS-62.

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

Accessions Information

May 22, 1995, 52 items; Personal correspondence (1942-1943) of U.S. Naval Officer. Gift courtesy of the Friends of ECU Library.

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

H. V. Brown Papers (#703), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Friends of ECU Library

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

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

Harold V. Brown ("Brownie"), originally from St. Joseph, MI, served in the pre-war Navy on the Great Lakes. During World War II, Brown commanded the auxiliary motor minesweeper, USS YMS-62 (1942-1943). During this command Brown was promoted and was stationed in Louisiana and Algeria.

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

The collection consists mainly of letters written by Brown to Mrs. Thelma Thompson, in Key West, FL. However, correspondence to Mrs. Thompson from relatives discusses Godfrey Thompson's death and their Christian Science faith (January 12, 1940). The bulk of the correspondence is comprised of Brown's letters from New Orleans and Burwood, LA, letters written at sea, and from Algeria.

Specific topics discussed while in Louisiana include movies such as "King's Row," "Hitler's Children," "Mrs. Miniver," and "Broadway" (November 1942-February 1943); softball games with other sailors (February 22-26, 1943); playing the music of Kay Kaiser (February 22, 1943); an American Legion troupe of girls and young women sent to entertain the sailors and attend a dance (February 28, 1943); and a local delicacy, the "poor-boy" sandwich (February 22, 1943). Throughout the correspondence, Brown mentions reading, playing cards, ship cleaning chores, paperwork, boredom, and much "standing by" that occupied the crew's time.

Correspondence written while en route to Norfolk, VA, concerns a "northeaster" off Miami, FL, and horrible weather off Cape Hatteras, NC (March 1943, undated). Once in Algeria, letters (May 4-9, 1943) detail the haggard condition of the native people and that they are dressed in rags; Brown's impression that the buildings, waterfront, and people are what he expected; the beauty of the countryside; the lack of whiskey and beer; rotten native wine that is like "dynamite"; and German and Italian prisoners of war and their poor condition. Also mentioned are Brown's promotion (May 7, 1943), receiving pay in Frenchfrancs (May 22, 1943), and Brown's extra duties as the Senior Officer Present Afloat (SOPA, June 6, 1943). At times throughout the correspondence, Brown mentions people he encounters that he knew previously, either in training or before the war, even a young man that served with him on the Great Lakes (June 6, 1943).

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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