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Office of the Commandant/Records of the Office of Midshipmen Activities: Records Relating to the Masqueraders, 1867-2001: Finding Aid

Published in March 2013

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6922
  • Call number: RG 405.3.3 Entry 182a
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Archives
  • Title: Office of the Commandant/Records of the Office of Midshipmen Activities: Records Relating to the Masqueraders
  • Dates: 1867-2001
  • Size: 3 linear feet (7 manuscript boxes)
  • Creator: United States Naval Academy. Commandant of Midshipmen
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Records relating to the midshipman theater group, the Masqueraders, dating through 2001.

History of the Office of the Commandant of Midshipmen

Although not specifically provided for in the original plan for the Naval School at Fort Severn, the Office of the Commandant actually dates from the opening days of the school when Lt. James H. Ward served as executive officer and instructor in gunnery and steam. Under the provisions of the reorganization plan of 1850, an experienced lieutenant or commander was to serve as executive officer to the Superintendent and instructor in naval tactics and practical seamanship, and was to be known as the Commandant of Midshipmen. Later, during the time in which students at the Academy were referred to as naval cadets, he was known as the Commandant of Cadets.

The Office of the Commandant also included responsibility for insuring the "preservation of discipline" and "general security" at the Academy. Line officers of the Navy were detailed as assistants to the Commandant as the responsibilities of the office increased with the growth of the school. Another of the duties of the Office of the Commandant was the command of the annual summer practice cruises and maintenance of its records, under the instructions of the Superintendent. For most years from 1861 to 1909, the Commandant served as commander of the cruise.

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Description of Contents

Various records pertaining to the activities of the Naval Academy's midshipman theater group, the Masqueraders. The records, which pertain to various Masqueraders' productions, consist of performance programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, reviews by midshipmen, audio-visual recordings, and a limited amount of correspondence.

Theatrical activity at the Naval Academy dates back to the Academy's founding days, with the production of "The Lady of Lyons" by the Spirits Club in 1846. In 1908, the Academy's dramatic group came to be known as the Masqueraders, named for the title of the first production staged in the then brand new Mahan Hall. In 1914, the job of producing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, which had formerly fallen to the Masqueraders, was transferred to the Musical Club. In 1968, the two organization merged, retaining the name Masqueraders.

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Arranged in rough chronological order in multiple sequences.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.


Use of the materials is unrestricted.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Custodial History

RG 405 Records of the United States Naval Academy is the property of the National Archives and Records Administration. The materials are housed at the United States Naval Academy, William W. Jeffries Memorial Archives, an affiliated archive, as per a Memorandum of Agreement between the National Archives and Records Administration and the United States Naval Academy.

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Related Archival Material

Location of Related Materials

Additional material pertaining to theatrical activities and the Masqueraders can be found in the correspondence of the Office of the Superintendent RG 405.2.1.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Preferred Citation

Office of the Commandant/Records of the Office of Midshipmen Activities: Records Relating to the Masqueraders, RG 405.3.3 Entry 182a

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

Collection inventory prepared by Alice Gilliland in 2013. Historical sketch prepared by Geraldine N. Phillips and Aloha South in 1975.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Theater -- United States.
  • United States Naval Academy
  • United States Naval Academy -- Masqueraders
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students
  • United States Naval Academy. Commandant of Midshipmen

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Programs (documents)
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

History/Section From Command History V, 1973-1974

Box 1 Folder 2

Correspondence/File of Officer Representative to Masqueraders, 1972-1973

Box 1 Folder 3

Masqueraders' Program, 1867-1915

Box 1 Folder 4

Masqueraders' Program, 1916-1966

Box 1 Folder 5

Masqueraders' Program, 1969-1970

Box 2 Folder 1

Masqueraders' Album, 1967-1968

Box 2 Folder 2-3

Masqueraders' Album, 1968-1969

Box 2 Folder 4-6

Masqueraders' Album, 1969-1970

Box 3 Folder 1-3

Masqueraders' Album, 1970-1971

Box 4 Folder 1

Programs, Photographs, Correspondence, 1971-1972

Box 4 Folder 2

Programs, Photographs, 1972-1973

Box 4 Folder 3

General File, 1973-1974

Box 4 Folder 4

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" - Photographs and Program, 1973-1974

Box 4 Folder 5

"Promises, Promises" - Photographs and Programs, 1973-1974

Box 4 Folder 6

"Diary of a Scoundrel" - Photographs, 1974-1975

Box 4 Folder 7

"Two Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" - Programs and Photographs, 1974-1975

Box 4 Folder 8

"Anything Goes" - Programs and Photographs, 1974-1975

Box 4 Folder 9

Masqueraders, 1976-1981

Box 5 Folder 1

"The Inspector General", 1963

Box 5 Folder 2

"The Gamblers", 1968

Box 5 Folder 3

"Hamlet", 1968

Box 5 Folder 4

"Playboy of the Western World", 1969

Box 5 Folder 5

"Becket", 1969

Box 5 Folder 6

"Hamp", 1971

Box 5 Folder 7

"Child's Play", 1972

Box 5 Folder 8

"The Devil's Disciple", 1972

Box 5 Folder 9

"As You Like It", 1972

Box 5 Folder 10

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", 1973

Box 5 Folder 11

"The Crucible", 1973

Box 5 Folder 12

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", 1974

Box 5 Folder 13

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", 1975

Box 5 Folder 14

"The Diary of a Scoundrel", 1975

Box 5 Folder 15

"Anything Goes", 1975

Box 5 Folder 16

"Othello", 1975

Box 5 Folder 17

"The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial", 1976

Box 5 Folder 18

"Our Town", 1978

Box 5 Folder 19

"A Midsummer's Night Dream", 1979

Box 5 Folder 20

"The Three Musketeers", 1980

Box 5 Folder 21

"Wild Oats" and "The Lark", 1981

Box 5 Folder 22

"The Government Inspector", 1982

Box 5 Folder 23

"You Can't Take it With You", 2000

Box 5 Folder 24

"On the Town", 2001

Box 6 Folder 1

VHS - "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "David Copperfield", 1994, 1997

Box 6 Folder 2-3

Midshipmen Reviews - "Arsenic and Old Lace", 1994

Box 6 Folder 4

Midshipmen Reviews - "David Copperfield", 1997

Box 7 Folder 1

Midshipmen at the Kennedy Center, 1974, undated

Box 7 Folder 2

Miscellaneous Brochures, 1967-1974

Box 7 Folder 3

Newspaper Articles, 1972-1978

Box 7 Folder 4

Press Releases, 1971-1975

Box 7 Folder 5

Photographs, undated

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