John B. Davenport Papers

Manuscript Collection #823
Davenport, John B.
Physical description
0.007 Cubic Feet, 1 item , consisting of a memoir
Preferred Citation
John B. Davenport Papers (#823), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (ca. 1937-1945) of U. S. Naval officer, U. S. Naval Academy Class of 1941, consisting of a reminiscence (22 p.) of life at the U. S. Naval Academy and experiences from World War II.

Biographical/historical information

John B. Davenport was born September 11, 1919, in Watertown, New York. He graduated from high school in January 1937, before he qualified for the First Alternate position for entrance into the United States Naval Academy. Davenport was sworn in as a Midshipman on July 9, 1937, and later graduated February 7th, 1941. December 7, 1941, he was an eyewitness to the attack on Pearl Harbor, hiding in the bottom of the USS Oklahoma. Between March and April 1942 he was off the coast of Portland, Maine, on a shakedown cruise. July 1942 he was part of a task force made up of destroyers, cruisers, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, and the new battleship USS South Dakota. John B. Davenport married Barbara Wood January 1, 1946, and went on to teach Math at St. Cloud State College in Minnesota for two years before spending the next 20 years teaching at Dutchess Community College in Hyde Park, NY. He retired with his wife in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in 1988 until his death on October 13, 2013.

Scope and arrangement

These papers contain the memoirs of John B. Davenport concerning his experiences at the U.S. Naval Academy, as well as his time spent on a naval base during World War II.

He decided to attend the Naval Academy at a young age and was sworn in as a Midshipman on July 9, 1937. Davenport joined the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor in February, 1941. He and his fellow soldiers bought a truck from an old Japanese farmer in Honolulu, Hawaii, to drive around during that summer. The week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma was moored to the port side of the USS Maryland at Ford Island. He tells his eyewitness account of what happened December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, including the explosion of the USS Arizona while the Oklahoma was capsized and their rescue done by a military motor launch. Davenport also describes his experience during the war aboard the USS San Juan and the USS Monterey.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 8, 2001, 1 item; Papers of U.S. Naval officer, USNA Class of 1941, consisting of a reminiscence (22 pp.) of life at the U.S. Naval Academy and experiences from World War II. Donor: Capt. John B. Davenport, USN (Ret).

Source of acquisition

Gift of Capt. John B. Davenport

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Processed by Leah Turner on December 6, 2017

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
Davenport, John B.
Corporate Names
Monterey (Aircraft carrier)
Oklahoma (Battleship)
United States Naval Academy--Students
United States. Navy--Officers
Mathematics teachers
Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941
World War, 1939-1945