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Nimitz Library
Nimitz Library

Battles Family Letters, 1899-1911: Finding Aid

Published in February 2022

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 36
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Battles Family Letters
  • Dates: 1899-1911
  • Size: 0.06 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 5 folders
  • Creator: Battles Family
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Donald R. Battles was a naval constructor in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1903. The Battles Family Letters span from 1899 to 1911. The letters are the product of the correspondence between Midshipman Donald R. Battles and his parents during Battles' time studying at the United States Naval Academy, as well as correspondence between Dr. Raymond Willis Battles and other members of the Battles Family.

Biography of Donald R. Battles

Donald R. Battles, son of Dr. Raymond Willis Battles of Erie, Pennsylvania, was born on October 29, 1881 in Cussewago, Pennsylvania. Appointed at large from Pennsylvania to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1903, Battle graduated first in his class on February 2, 1903. During his mandatory sea service prior to commissioning, Battles served aboard U.S.S. Gloucester (Gunboat) from April until March, 1903 before transferring to U.S.S. Montgomery (Protected cruiser: C-9) on April 21. He received his commission as an Assistant Naval Constructor on December 1, 1903 and was ordered to duty at the Boston Navy Yard on January 2, 1904. On May 11, 1906, he was ordered to the Norfolk Navy Yard, where he remained on duty until assuming duties as Assistant Superintendent of Construction at Quincy, Massachusetts in August 1909. Battles resigned from the United States Navy on June 1, 1912 and died on January 20, 1941.

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Description of Contents

The Battles Family Letters, comprising 0.06 linear feet of documentation, span from 1899 to 1911. The letters are the product of the correspondence between Midshipman Donald R. Battles and his parents during Battles' time studying at the United States Naval Academy, as well as correspondence between Dr. Raymond Willis Battles and other members of the Battles Family.

Included with the letters are several envelopes.

The Battles Letters are arranged chronologically into a single series with no subdivisions, but fall into two major sequences: letters written between 1899 and 1900, and letters written between 1910 and 1911. The letters from 1899 and 1900 are between Donald R. Battles, his mother, and his father, Dr. Raymond Willis Battles while the younger Battles was a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. These letters, four in total, make references to studies in mathematics, grades, and the 1900 summer training cruise aboard U.S.S. Chesapeake (Bark). The letters from 1910 and 1911 were received by Dr. Raymond Battles from other members of the family. These letters, three in total, make passing reference to Donald Battles, the health of various family members, and the birth of a child.

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The Battles Family Letters are arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Battles Family Letters are 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Linda J. Beach in November 2009. Accession No. 09-29.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to Donald R. Battles can be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Midshipman Conduct Record.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Battles Family Letters, MS 36

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Register of Alumni, Graduates and Former Naval Cadets and Midshipmen. Annapolis, Md: The Association, 1990.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904-1913.

Battles, Donald R. Midshipman Personnel Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in February 2022. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in February 2022.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Battles Family
  • Battles, Donald R., 1881-1941
  • Midshipmen -- Conduct of life
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts

Additional Creator/Author

  • Battles, Donald R., 1881-1941
  • Battles, Raymond W.
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Battles Family Letters, 1899

Donald Battles to Dr. and Mrs. Raymond W. Battles. Discussion of Battles' math and English professors, a lecture in the gym from a Dr. Pigott, and the unveiling of Ernest Flagg's plans for the new Naval Academy buildings.

Box 1 Folder 2

Battles Family Letters, 1900

Donald Battles to and from Dr. and Mrs. Raymond W. Battles. Includes references to Battles' examination grades, a measles epidemic in Annapolis, studies in trigonometry, baseball versus Lafayette College, and the 1900 summer practice cruise in Block Island Sound aboard U.S.S. Chesapeake.

Box 1 Folder 3

Battles Family Letters, 1910

Letters received by Dr. Raymond W. Battles. Includes updates on the Battles Family and attempts to see Halley's Comet.

Box 1 Folder 4

Battles Family Letters, 1911 June 25

Letter received by Dr. Raymond W. Battles on Hotel Astor letterhead.

Box 1 Folder 5

Battles Family Letters (Envelopes Only),

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