Spine label from Theodore W. Richards'Great White Fleet Scrapbook.
Spine label from Theodore W. Richards'Great White Fleet Scrapbook.

Guide to the Theodore W. Richards Great White Fleet Scrapbook, 1908-1909; 1916; 1945

MS 219

A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
Nimitz Library

Naval Academy Seal

United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029

Prepared by: David D'Onofrio
(Original Guide by Mary R. Catalfamo, 1986)

August 2010

Descriptive Summary

3.5 linear inches.
Access to the Theodore W. Richards Great White Fleet Scrapbook is unrestricted.
The Theodore W. Richards Great White Fleet Scrapbook is the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information
Preferred Citation:
Theodore W. Richards Great White Fleet Scrapbook, MS 219
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Biographical Sketch

Theodore Wright Richards, born in Virginia on October 8, 1870, joined the United States Navy on November 12, 1894 as an assistant surgeon. As an assistant, and then passed assistant surgeon, Richards served at the Naval Laboratory in New York, aboard U.S.S. Machias (Gunboat: PG-5), and at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. On March 3, 1903, Richards was commissioned as a surgeon, after which he served aboard U.S.S. Arkansas (Battleship: BB-33), at Norfolk Naval Hospital, aboard U.S.S. Kansas (Battleship: BB-21), aboard U.S.S. Maine (Battleship: BB-10), and again at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as Assistant to the Bureau. Later in his career, Richards served as a medical director with the rank of Captain, commanding the Naval Hospitals at Annapolis, Puget Sound, and Washington. Richards retired from the U.S. Navy on November 1, 1934.

Scope and Content Note

Theodore W. Richards' Great White Fleet Scrapbook and its enclosures, comprising 3.5 linear inches of documentation, span from 1908 until 1909, with several documents from 1916 and 1945. The scrapbook details the itinerary, crew activities, ports of call, and local reactions to the arrival of the United States Atlantic Fleet (commonly known as the Great White Fleet) during its cruise of 1907-1909.

The scrapbook is composed of press clippings, invitations, itineraries, event programs, event tickets, letters, maps, postcards, poems, pamphlets, and admission/membership cards. In addition to the scrapbook, the collection also includes several journal articles and loose press clippings.

The Great White Fleet Scrapbook is the product of Richards' service aboard U.S.S. Kansas (Battleship: BB-21) during that ship's participation in the West Coast, Asian, and Mediterranean legs of the cruise of the Great White Fleet. The scrapbook covers port calls at San Francisco, California (May 1908); Seattle, Bellingham, and Tacoma, Washington (May 1908); Honolulu, Hawaii (July 1908); Auckland, New Zealand (August 1908); Sydney and Melbourne, Australia (August - September 1908); Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan (October 1908); Manila, Philippines (October and November 1908); Colombo, Ceylon (December 1908), Suez, Egypt (January 1909); Nice, France (January 1909); and Norfolk, Virginia (February 1909). For the various port calls, the scrapbook includes materials pertaining to receptions, banquets, dances, parades, and remarks by Rear Admiral Charles S. Sperry. The scrapbook also includes materials relating to topics such as traditional Hawaiian sports; reactions to the fleet's arrival; landscapes and cityscapes of Australia and New Zealand; and comparisons between the Great White Fleet and Commodore Perry's mission to Japan. Among the various press clippings are political cartoons and caricatures depicting the fleet and its crew; President Theodore Roosevelt; and the native peoples of the various countries visited by the fleet. One clipping in the scrapbook pertains to the amphibious landing of American troops at Luzon in January 1945.

The enclosures, originally folded inside the back cover of the scrapbook, include additional press clippings, a map, and several journal articles written by Richards. The articles, originally published in the United States Naval Medical Bulletin, pertain to drowning during naval engagements and the quality of artificial light aboard naval vessels.

Container List

Box Folder  
1 Great White Fleet Scrapbook, 1908-1909 and 1945
Box Folder
2 1 Enclosures - Itinerary (Melbourne, Australia), August 1908
2 Enclosures - Journal Articles, 1912 and 1916

Copies of "Loss of Life by Drowning in Naval Warfare" (1912) and "Studies Pertaining to Light on Shipboard" (Parts I and II, 1916).

Box Folder
MSOS 1 Enclosures - Maps and Press Clippings, 1908-1909

Includes a diagram of the American fleet in Tokyo Bay; a map of Nice, France; and a newspaper clipping from The Japan Times.