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David L. Byrd Papers, 1937-1950

Manuscript Collection #734

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

Title: David L. Byrd Papers
Creator: Byrd, David L.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1937-1950) of U.S. Navy officer, U.S. Naval Academy class of 1941, including correspondence and grade reports of USNA; rosters, photographs, and bulletins from the USS NEW MEXICO (BB-35); newsletters, photographs, and clippings from the USS QUINCY (CA-71); Carrier Division 5 (CTF-77) and miscellany.
Extent: 0.03 Cubic feet, 1 container, 61 items.

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

Accessions Information

October 9, 1996, 57 items; Papers (1937-1950) of U.S. Navy officer, USNA Class of 1941, including correspondence and grade reports of USNA; rosters, photographs, and bulletins from the USS NEW MEXICO ; newsletters, photographs, and clippings from the USS QUINCY ; and miscellany. Donor: Cdr. David L. Byrd, USN (Ret).

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 L. Byrd Papers (#734), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Cdr. David L. Byrd

Processing Information

  • Preliminary inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 9/11/2009; Processing, finding aid & container list by Stephanie Croatt, 5/7/2013; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 6/27/2013 & 11/13/2013


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

David Leslie Byrd served in the U.S. Navy as an officer from 1941 to 1961. He attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in the class of 1941. Senator John H. Bankhead appointed Byrd, who then passed the physical and mental examinations and began his education at the Academy in 1938. Byrd took his midshipman cruise in the summer of 1938 on board the battleship U.S.S. TEXAS (BB-35).

After his graduation from the Academy, Byrd transferred to the battleship U.S.S. NEW MEXICO (BB-40) in 1941. He served on board the battleship as a damage control officer, junior turret officer, and fire control officer until 1943. Although he was stationed at Pearl Harbor for a time, he was not present for the infamous attack on December 7, 1941. Instead, NEW MEXICO had been assigned to escort convoys from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Ireland. In September 1943, Byrd received orders to transfer to the cruiser U.S.S. QUINCY (CA-71). Byrd served on board QUINCY as a fire control officer, and was present for the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 and the invasion of Southern France in August 1944. Byrd was on board QUINCY when she transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt to and from the Yalta Crimea Conference in February 1945.

In June 1945, Byrd left QUINCY to attend postgraduate school at Annapolis. After three years, Byrd received his Master’s degree in industrial engineering. Byrd returned to sea duty in June 1948 on board light cruiser U.S.S. DAYTON (CL-105).

The Navy issued new orders for Byrd to report to San Diego in 1949 to serve as Commander Carrier Division 5 staff. Byrd fought in the Korean War until the Navy recalled him to the Shore Establishments sector of the Navy Bureau of Ordinance in 1951. After his retirement in 1961, Byrd worked in the civilian sector in satellite and laser development.

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

The David L. Byrd Papers are arranged in two series, in original order. Series 1 consists of manuscript materials, including correspondence, photographic prints, printed forms, typescripts, and newsletters. Series 2 consists of oversized materials removed from other folders due to their size.

Series 1 relates to Byrd’s service in the Navy between 1937 and 1950. The materials are arranged in four files in chronological order.

Folder a, 1937-1941 relates to Byrd’s education in the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Correspondence between Senator Bankhead, Byrd’s father, and Admiral Chester Nimitz detail the process by which Byrd was nominated and selected to join the academy. Material in this series also includes Byrd’s grade reports from the Academy, and photographs of his midshipman cruise on board the battleship U.S.S. TEXAS (BB-35)

Folder b, 1941-1945 includes items related to Byrd’s service on board the battleship U.S.S. NEW MEXICO (BB-40). In these materials are officer rosters from the ship, orientation information for sailors stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, news bulletins about the sinking of German Battleship BISMARCK and U.S.S. REUBEN JAMES, and photographs of NEW MEXICO’s officers and of Byrd himself.

Folder c, 1944-1945 deals with Byrd's experiences on the cruiser U.S.S. QUINCY (CA-71) which included the invasions of Normandy and Southern France, in 1944, and her subsequent missions after the invasion. Items from this time include commemorative ship newsletters and newspaper about the events surrounding the invasions, and an invasion map used by the gunnery division on board QUINCY. Materials related to QUINCY’s duties after the invasion include QUINCY’s commemorative newspaper with information about the voyage of Franklin D. Roosevelt on board the ship in 1945. Additionally, there is a report from the Crimea Conference by Roosevelt's press secretary, Stephen F. Early, on 14 February, that details the conference’s attendees and what points were discussed at the conference. Included in this folder is also a list of 48 "Saudi Arabian Guests" including His Majesty Abdulaziz Ibn Rahman al Faisal al Saud (Ibn Saud), King of Saudi Arabia, and other members of the Saudi royal family, including 9 "Miscellaneous slaves: cooks, porters, scullions", who came on board the ship during 12-14 February 1945, after the Yalta conference, when the QUINCY was carrying Roosevelt back to the United States.

Folder d relates to Byrd’s service in the Carrier Division 5 (1949-1950). Items from this time period include photographs of Carrier Division 1 staff officers on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. PHILIPPINE SEA (CV-47) on 22 October 1950; also two photographs of Vice Admiral Arthur Dewey Struble, Secretary of the Navy Francis P. Matthews, Rear Admiral Edward C. Ewen, Vice Admiral Charles T. Joy on 24 November 1950 on the U.S.S. PHILIPPINE SEA; also a roster of officers in Carrier Division 5.

Series 2: Oversized materials in folder os.1 consists of materials removed from folders b and c, 1941-1945, for conservation reasons, due to their large size. The include a map of Iceland with the U.S.S. NEW MEXICO's anchorage marked, ship's newsletters rom the U.S.S. QUINCY.

Related Collections 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

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Series 1:
Manuscript Materials
  • Box 1#0734.1
    • Folder a#0734.1.a
      U.S. Naval Academy file (1937-1941) including photographs of USS TEXAS cruise, report cards, and correspondence between Byrd's father and Sen. John H. Bankhead and Chester W. Nimitz regarding Byrd's Annapolis career. 39 items. 40 p.
    • Folder b#0734.1.b
      USS NEW MEXICO file (1941-1945) from Pearl Harbor to North Atlantic Convoy Duty to South Pacific to Aleutians including ships' rosters, photographs, news releases, map of Iceland, etc. 10 items. 15 p. NOTE: Map of Iceland (734.1.b.10) moved to oversized folder #734.1.os.1
    • Folder c#0734.1.c
      USS QUINCY (CA-71) at Normandy - Pre-invasion Wait in Northern Ireland & Scotland File (May-June 1944) including photograph of Gunnery Office invasion map, ship's newsletters, scrapbook page. QUINCY at Invasion of Southern France (Aug. 1944) including ships mimeographed newsletter. QUINCY Takes Roosevelt to Yalta (1945) including ship's newsletter, Saudi Arabian guest list. 3 items. 14 p. NOTE: Invasion of Normandy ship newsletter (734.1.c.1), ship newspapers (734.1.c.2 & 5), and invasion map (734.1.c.3) removed to oversized folder #734.1.os.1
    • Folder d#0734.1.d
      Carrier Division 5 Staff (STF 77) and Korean War file (1949-1950) including roster & photographs. 4 items. 4 p.
Series 2:
Oversized Materials
Oversize Folder os1#0734.os1
Oversized material (1941-1945) including map of Iceland, ship newsletters and newspapers from QUINCY regarding the invasions of Normandy and Southern France and the events surrounding the Yalta conference, and Gunnery Office invasion map from Normandy. 5 items. 11 p.

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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