Guide to the Williams C. Wickham Papers, 1905-1944
A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029
Prepared by: Liz Coelho
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
Williams Carter Wickham was born July 17, 1887 in Hanover County, Virginia and graduated from the Naval Academy with the Class of 1909. Credilla Miller was born April 17, 1890, and married Williams on April 22, 1912. Together they had three children: Williams, known as "Billy," Laurence, known as "Whoppy," and Credilla, known as "Dale" or "The Red Head." Laurence later served as a Marine lieutenant during the Second World War.
Wickham served aboard many ships during his career, including the destroyers, USS Reid, USS Shaw, USS Crowninshield, USS Litchfield, USS Dent and USS Pillsbury, and the heavy cruisers, USS Chester, USS Minneapolis and USS Houston. From 1939 to 1940 he commanded the heavy cruiser, USS Quincy, and in 1941 was assigned as Commandant of the Georgia Tech Naval ROTC Station in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1944 Captain Wickham was a patient at Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado.
Credilla Wickham died in January 1965 and Williams C. Wickham on July 11, 1985. They are buried together in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery.
Scope and Content Note
The Williams C. Wickham Papers, comprising 1 linear foot of documents, primarily spans Wickham’s career from 1918 through 1944. It is composed mainly of correspondence between Wickham and his wife Credilla during periods of deployment, and treats mainly of personal domestic matters. The couple discusses the difficulties of moving households and raising children and the loneliness and tedium of long separations. Several of the children’s letters to both parents are included, as is a letter to Credilla from her father prior to her marriage. Several letters to Wickham from fellow officers address their endorsement of him for membership in the New York Yacht Club. There is a small collection of business correspondence regarding banking, real estate, taxes and billing for household repairs and services.
The Wickham Papers are organized into four series by date/ship or station on which Wickham was assigned and document type. U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY contains correspondence related to the appointment of Wickham to the Academy by Senator Thomas S. Martin of Virginia. PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE contains letters between husband and wife, and includes letters from their three children, a letter to Credilla from her father, and a letter to Credilla from her friend "Jane." In cases where other materials were enclosed with the letters, such as business correspondence, they are left in situ. PROFESSIONAL CORRESPONDENCE contains correspondence concerning the recommendation of Wickham for membership in the New York Yacht Club and a Naval Signal telegram. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE includes financial documents, bills, tax assessments and real estate transactions.