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Charles Pendleton Trumbull Papers, 1937-2001

Manuscript Collection #829

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

Title: Charles Pendleton Trumbull Papers
Creator: Trumbull, Charles Pendleton
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers, 1937-2001, of U. S. naval officer, including diaries, scrapbooks, orders, photographs, biographical accounts, and other materials, compiled by Commander Charles P. Trumbull (USN ret.), documenting his naval career from his appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, as a member of the Class of 1941 to his retirement from the Navy in 1961, and his post-retirement life, 1937-2001.
Extent: 1.85 Cubic feet, 5 boxes, scrapbooks, diaries, printed materials, photographs and ephemera

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

Accessions Information

June 21, 2001, 4 containers, 1.85 cubic feet; Papers, diaries, scrapbooks, orders, photographs, biographical accounts, and other materials, compiled by Commander Charles P. Trumbull (USN ret.), documenting his naval career from his appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, as a member of the Class of 1941 to his retirement from the Navy in 1961, and his post-retirement life, 1937-2001. Donor: Commander Charles P. Trumbull (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

Charles Pendleton Trumbull Papers (#829), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Commander Charles P. Trumbull

Processing Information

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

  • Processed by James K. Van Riper May 2002


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

Charles Pendleton Trumbull was born in Hartford, CT (February 25, 1918), graduated from the United States Naval Academy (February 1941) and was assigned to the USS LOUISVILLE (CA 28) home ported in Pearl Harbor, HI. Trumbull served as an anti-aircraft officer and then as a turret and catapult officer aboard the ship. The USS LOUISVILLE returned to Pearl Harbor from escort duty (December 16, 1941) to view the destruction from the Japanese attack.

Trumbull was detached from the USS LOUSIVILLE (August 1942) and reported to the US Navy Submarine School, New London, CT. Upon graduation he was ordered to Brisbane, Australia where he initially served on submarine relief crews. Assigned to the USS GROWLER (SS 215) (March 1943), Trumbull made five war patrols before being ordered to the Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT in connection with the outfitting and commissioning of the USS CABEZON (SS 334).

When this submarine was commissioned (December 30, 1944) Trumbull was assigned as the executive officer. Following training in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific, the USS CABEZON made one war patrol (25 May-11 July 1945). Trumbull remained with this submarine until transferred to the Navy Intelligence School, Washington, D.CA. (May 1948). Following graduation he was assigned as the Assistant District Intelligence Officer, 15th Naval District (Panama Canal Zone) (July 1948).

Trumbull was transferred (May 1950) to the USS TUSK (SS 426) based in New London, CT where he served as the executive officer. He then took command (May 1951) of the USS CHIVO (SS 341). After being refitted as a “Guppy” class submarine to work with the Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory, the USS CHIVO was reassigned to Key West, FL.

Trumbull was ordered (May 1953) to Washington, D.C. for briefings at the Office of Naval Intelligence before being transferred (August 1953) to Hong Kong as the U.S. Assistant Naval Attaché. While there he traveled throughout Southeast Asia. In addition to his intelligence duties while in Hong Kong, Trumbull supervised the visits of hundreds of senior Department of Defense civilian personnel as well as flag/general officers of the Armed Forces.

Trumbull returned to the United States (May 1956) where he was assigned as the head of the Underseas Warfare Branch, Navy Hydrographic Office in Suitland, MD. He was transferred (November 1958) to the U.S. Naval Station, Bermuda where he served initially as the administrative officer and then as the executive officer. Trumbull retired (June 1961) with twenty years of active service. He accepted civilian employment (June 1961) as the administrative manager, marine superintendent, and scientific assistant to the Director, Columbia University Geophysical Field Station, Bermuda. When Columbia University gave up the station (May 1970) to the Palisades Geophysical Institute, Inc., Trumbull stayed on in his same position. The station worked under Navy contract in the fields of deep, low frequency sound transmission and deep underwater explosions. The station’s contracts were greatly reduced (1976) and Trumbull’s employment was terminated.

After a little over a year of retirement in Bermuda, he accepted (February 1978) the position of technical manager at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. He held this position for seventeen months and then returned (July 1979) to the United States and full retirement. He lived in Chapel Hill, NC until moving (1988) to Hillsborough, NCA. In retirement Trumbull was active in the Republican Party; was a member of the Chapel Hill Civitan Club and served as its president (1984-1985); was a member of the Navy League and a chapter president (1994-1995); and was a member of the Trumbull Scottish Clan in the United States. Trumbull traveled extensively after retirement from the Navy to include trips to China, Greece, Mexico, and Russia.

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

Series 1 consists of two large scrapbooks covering Trumbull's undergraduate career at the U. S. Naval Academy. The first scrapbook contains ca. 60 large pages and an insert of ca. 16 smaller pages. This scrapbook covers Trumbull’s time at the U.S. Naval Academy from his entrance in the summer of 1937 through June of 1939. In addition to photos and memorabilia, this scrapbook contains: a ca. 25 page “Fourth Class Summer 1937” special instruction pamphlet; a four page memorandum “Interpretation of the Oath for Midshipmen” for the fourth class; a three page 1937 Summer Schedule for Midshipmen of the Fourth Class; USNA Order # 28-37 concerning the academic calendar; a three page pamphlet on flags of the early American navy; a four page order concerning Christmas leave at the USNA in 1937; a ca. 34 page magazine of “Life” at the naval academy; a June Week Program of four pages; Regimental Order #38-38 of three pages concerning the practice cruise of 1938 and 1939; Regimental Order # 48-38 of two pages concerning cruise tours and a gear list; a ca. 52 page USNA cruise manual for the 1938 practice cruise; USNA Order # 17-38, a ca. 44 page Academic Calendar; a four page newsletter from the USS TEXAS; a two page instruction for extra-curricular activities in 1938; an eight page Midshipmen’s Boat Club Constitution for 1938; a three page program regarding the presentation of the John Paul Jones sword and the Admiral Albert Gleaves bust; and USNA Special Order 11-39 concerning June Week 1939.

The second scrapbook has 72 pages and covers Trumbull’s time at the U.S. Naval Academy from the summer of 1939 until his graduation in February 1941. (This mid-year graduation was four months earlier than scheduled in order to get officers to the fleet quickly in anticipation of war, the first such early graduation since 1917.) In addition to photos and memorabilia, this scrapbook contains: USNA Special Instruction for Second Class Summer 1939 (ca. 27 pages); USNA Special Order 23-39 of ca. 48 pages concerning the academic calendar; a four page paper on smokeless powder; a three page magazine clipping on sailing; a ca. 44 page USNA Cruise Manual for 1940; a 13 page pamphlet about the 1940 Midshipman Cruise aboard the USS NEW YORK; a paper “Orders and Forms for Navigation Detail: Battleship Practice Cruise” of ca. 24 pages; USNA Special Order # 21-40 of ca. 50 pages concerning the academic calendar; USNA Executive Order # 61-41 regarding the graduation exercise; a three page program for the 1941 USNA mid-year graduation; and the assignment list for the 1941 mid-year graduates of the USNA.

Series 2 contains twelve folders. The first folder of ca. 122 hand-written pages concerns Trumbull’s midshipman cruise in 1938 aboard the USS TEXAS. The second folder of ca. 216 pages contains correspondence, orders, news clippings, photos, and memorabilia of Trumbull’s naval service from February 1941 to 1951, including his World War II service aboard a cruiser and two different submarines. The third folder has ca. 188 pages of photos, correspondence, orders, submarine technical data, and memorabilia regarding Trumbull’s service aboard the USS CHIVO from April 1951 to April 1953. The fourth folder of ca. 86 pages concerns Trumbull’s service as Assistant Naval Attaché in Hong Kong from February to December of 1953. It contains correspondence, orders, news clippings, photos, and memorabilia. The fifth folder contains ca. 246 pages of information about Trumbull’s service in Hong Kong in 1954. Its contents are similar to those in folder four. The sixth folder is of ca. 161 pages and covers Trumbull’s service in Hong Kong from January to June of 1955. Its contents are similar to those in the fourth folder. The seventh folder contains ca. 160 pages concerning Trumbull’s service in Hong Kong during the period July-December 1955. Its contents are also similar to those in folder four. The eighth folder has ca. 235 pages and concerns Trumbull’s service in Hong Kong during the early months of 1956. Its contents are similar to folder four. Folder nine has ca. 75 pages and covers the period June 1952 to May 1961. It contains a wide variety of letters and notes of thanks and appreciation addressed to Trumbull during his naval career. The bulk of this correspondence is from his service as the Assistant Naval Attaché in Hong Kong and includes signatures of a number of high ranking civilian and military officials. Folder ten contains ca. 98 pages with correspondence, orders, and photos for the period March 1956 to June 1958. This information concerns Trumbull’s service with the Hydrographic Office in Suitland, MD. Folder eleven includes ca. 42 pages and covers the period October 1958 to June 1961 when Trumbull was the administrative and war plans officer for the U.S. Naval Station, Bermuda and subsequently the station’s executive officer. Correspondence, orders, and news clippings are in this folder. Folder twelve is a war journal of ca. 196 pages written by Trumbull aboard the USS LOUSIVILLE from November 1, 1941 to March 1, 1942 and contains observations about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Folder thirteen holds a war journal of ca. 66 written pages for the period August 1 to September 11, 1942 while Trumbull was aboard the USS LOUSIVILLE.

Series 3 contains six folders. The first folder has 17 pages and is an autobiography of Trumbull’s life from 1937 to 1981, which was written for a 1982 high school reunion. The second folder of ca. 21 pages contains correspondence between Trumbull and Betty Tausig from June to October 1999 concerning the USNA class of 1941 and the service of its graduates in World War II. Folder three has ca. 126 pages of the period July 1961 to January 1971 when Columbia University employed Trumbull in Bermuda. It includes correspondence, letters of assignment, and security clearances, plus an assortment of photographs. Folder four is a continuation of the information in folder three, except for the fact that Trubull’s employer changed from Columbia University to Palisades Geophysical Institute, Inca. It has ca.102 pages of correspondence, diagrams, and news clippings, plus assorted photos and covers the period from November 1970 to July 1976. Folder five has ca. 64 pages of correspondence between Trumbull and Rear Admiral Kemp Tolley from October 1966 to January 1998. This correspondence concerns service in China, particularly pre-World War II. Folder six holds a three-page chronological update of Trumbull’s autobiography that was prepared in June 2001 and three-page narrative update.

Series 4 has four folders containing a variety of articles written by Trumbull. Folder one is a collection of undated short stories about animals, fish, Russian railroads, and submarines written by Trumbull. It contains ca. 64 pages. Folder two has ca. 21 pages plus six letters. It includes an article titled "The True Story of the Submarine Growler’s 4th War Patrol and the Death of Howard Gilmore,” written by Trumbull in June 2000. It is interesting as it challenges the facts surrounding and awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II. Folder three has ca. 22 pages and is an article titled “Locating the Sunken Submarine Scorpion: The True Story.” It was submitted to the Institute for Naval Proceedings for publication in 1998 by Trumbull. Folder four has ten pages and holds a published article titled “The Chinese Dialects” that was written by Trumbull and published in “Verbatim: The Language Quarterly.”

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

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Series 1:
U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY SCRAPBOOKS, 1937-1941
Box 1#0829.1
Scrapbook(black cover) featuring photographs, clippings, booklets, etc. pertaining to student life at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for the 1937-1938 school year.
Box 2#0829.2
Scrapbook(black cover) featuring photographs, clippings, booklets, etc. pertaining to student life at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, 1939-1941.
Series 2:
NAVAL CAREER, 1938-1961
  • Box 3#0829.3
    • Folder a#0829.3.a
      Bound journal written by Trumball recording his tour aboard the battleship USS TEXAS during the United States Naval Academy's Midshipmen's European cruise in 1938. Features handwritten entries and stickers from various hotels throughout Europe and England. 1 item. 73 p.
    • Folder b#0829.3.b
      Documents pertaining to orders, duty changes, and itineraries for Trumball as regards his service in the United States Navy from 1941-1951. 148 items. 216 p.
    • Folder c#0829.3.c
      Documents, correspondence, dispatches, and photographs from Trumball's time as the Commanding Officer of the USS CHIVO (SS 341) from 1951-1953. 177 items. 278 p.
    • Folder d#0829.3.d
      Documents, correspondence, and photographs regarding activities and duties as Assistant U.S. Naval Attache stationed in Hong Kong from February to December of 1953. 87 items. 104 p.
  • Box 4#0829.4
    • Folder a#0829.4.a
      Documents, correspondence, and photographs regarding activities and duties as Assistant U.S. Naval Attache stationed in Hong Kong in 1954. 231 items. 276 p.
    • Folder b#0829.4.b
      Documents, correspondence, and photographs regarding activities and duties as Assistant U.S. Naval Attache stationed in Hong Kong January through June of 1955. 162 items. 191 p.
    • Folder c#0829.4.c
      Documents, correspondence, and photographs regarding activities and duties as Assistant U.S. Naval Attache stationed in Hong Kong July through December 1955. 166 items. 205 p.
    • Folder d#0829.4.d
      Documents, correspondence, and photographs regarding activities and duties as Assistant U.S. Naval Attache stationed in Hong Kong, 1956. 212 items. 277 p.
  • Box 5#0829.5
    • Folder a#0829.5.a
      1 copy of 1952 report concerning Trumball's abilities as commanding officer of the CHIVO, and correspondence consisting of letters of appreciation and thanks. 73 items. 76 p.
    • Folder b#0829.5.b
      Orders, moving papers, and schedules regarding transfer of duty stations, and naval documents concerning duties at the Hydrographic Office in Suitland, Maryland. 73 items. 108 p.
    • Folder c#0829.5.c
      Orders and travel documents, correspondence, and naval documents regarding duties as Administrative/War Plans and Executive Officer, U.S. Naval Station, Bermuda , Oct. 1958- June 1961. 43 items. 48 p.
    • Folder d#0829.5.d
      Bound journal written aboard the USS LOUISVILLE November 1941- March 1942, featuring photos, handwritten entries, and documents regarding life at sea. Envelope containing copies of photographs in the journal. 2 items. 114 p.
Series 3:
CIVILIAN CAREER 1937-2001
  • Box 5#0829.5
    • Folder e#0829.5.e
      Bound journal written aboard the USS LOUISVILLE August 1942- September 1942, featuring photos, handwritten entries, and documents regarding life at sea. 1 item. 97 p.
    • Folder f#0829.5.f
      Typewritten autobiography (Saga of Charles P. Trumbull), written for a class reunion in 1982. 1 item. 19 p.
    • Folder g#0829.5.g
      Stapled volume of correspondence between Trumbull and Betty Tausig regarding her book on the USNA class of 1941. 1 item. 39 p.
    • Folder h#0829.5.h
      Documents concerning Trumbull's employment with Columbia University and his residency in Bermuda in connection with this job. 77 items. 145 p.
    • Folder i#0829.5.i
      Documents relating to employment in Bermuda with Palisades Geophysical Institute, Inc. 72 items. 114 p.
    • Folder j#0829.5.j
      Spiral bound book of correspondence between Trumbull and Rear Admiral Kemp Tolley from October 1996 to January 1998. 1 item. 34 p.
    • Folder k#0829.5.k
      Stapled copy of a 2001 update to Trumbull's autobiography written in 1982, and a typewritten anecdote written by Trumbull. 2 items. 8 p.
Series 4:
WRITINGS 1998-2001
  • Box 5#0829.5
    • Folder l#0829.5.l
      Stapled collection of short stories written by Trumbull. 1 item. 34 p.
    • Folder m#0829.5.m
      Stapled copy of records regarding the GROWLER and the death of Howard Gilmore. 1 item. 23 p.
    • Folder n#0829.5.n
      Stapled copies of correspondence regarding an article about the SCORPION and a copy of this article written by Trumbull. 1 item. 12 p.
    • Folder o#0829.5.o
      Stapled copy of an article about Chinese dialects written by Trumbull. 1 item. 7 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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