Guide to the George D. Bancroft Papers, 1917-1919 and 1974-1975
A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029
Prepared by: David D'Onofrio
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
George D. Bancroft (no relation to Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft) was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 10, 1896. After graduating from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy in May 1917, Bancroft enlisted in the Hospital Corps of the United States Navy. Assigned to U.S.S. Powhatan (Transport: SP–3013) as a Hospital Apprentice on August 16, 1917, Bancroft ultimately advanced to the rank of Chief Pharmacist's Mate, before being discharged on January 25, 1919.
Upon the conclusion of his naval service, Bancroft returned to Brooklyn where he operated a drug store from 1919 until 1935, when he and his family relocated to Bradford, [New York]. In Bradford, Bancroft became a partner in a business known as Gove & Bancroft. In 1956, Bancroft retired and moved, along with his family, to Goshen, New York.
George D. Bancroft died May 1, 1975. He was survived by his wife, Lillian E. Bowns Bancroft, a son, Paul, and daughter Dorothea.
Scope and Content Note
The George D. Bancroft Papers span Bancroft's brief U.S. Navy service, covering the years 1917 to 1919. The papers focus on Bancroft's three transatlantic cruises aboard the transport ship U.S.S. Powhatan as a Hospital Apprentice and Pharmacist's Mate.
Included in the collection are diaries, photograph albums, genealogical material, an obituary, a recommendation letter, and a compact disc.
The Bancroft Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type into a single series with no subdivisions. The bulk of the collection consists of hand-written diaries and photograph albums from Bancroft's service aboard U.S.S. Powhatan. Throughout the diaries are references to the weather and sea conditions, liberties taken in Paris and Pauillac, France, complaints about the lack of mail and news from home, sea sick passengers, and various duties performed by Bancroft, including dispensation of medication, sterilization of equipment and quarters, report production, and watch duty. The diaries also refer to specific incidents, such as encounters with German U-Boats, injuries and illnesses among the crew and passengers, and damages sustained by the ship. The photograph albums, the contents of which are duplicated on a compact disc, consist mainly of images of Bancroft, the crew and passengers of the Powhatan, and of the French port town of Pauillac. The remainder of the collection consists of a 1919 letter of recommendation for Bancroft from Powhatan's senior medical officer, genealogical material on Bancroft's ancestors (compiled by Bancroft in 1974), and Bancroft's obituary from 1975.
The George D. Bancroft Papers, while offering few specifics pertaining to Bancroft's duties and opinions, reflect the general nature, and often tedium, of transport duty during the First World War.
|1||1||Diary, November 12 - December 31, 1917|
|2||Diary, January 1 - March 5, 1918|
|3||Diary, March 21 - May 30, 1918|
|4||Genealogical Material, October 1974|
|5||Letter of Recommendation, January 25, 1919|
|6||Obituary, May 1975|
|7||Photograph Album, ca. 1917-1918|
|8||Photograph Album, ca. 1917-1918|
|2||1||Photograph Album (Reproductions on Compact Disc), ca. 1917-1918|