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.