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John S. Lionberger Letterbook, 1916-1918: Finding Aid

Published in February 2014

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 220
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: John S. Lionberger Letterbook
  • Dates: 1916-1918
  • Size: 0.75 linear inches (1 volume)
  • Creator: Lionberger, John S. 1889-
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: John S. Lionberger was an officer in the United States Naval Reserve during World War I. The Lionberger Letterbook consists entirely of letters between John S. Lionberger and his father, Isaac H. Lionberger during John's training at Reserve Officer Training School at the United States Naval Academy during the summer of 1917 and subsequent service aboard U.S.S. North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29) during World War I.

Biography of John S. Lionberger

John S. Lionberger, of St. Louis, Missouri, was an officer in the United States Naval Reserve during World War I. Lionberger attended Reserve Officer Training School at the United States Naval Academy in the Summer of 1917 and subsequently served aboard U.S.S. North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29) with the rank of ensign. Lionberger presumably resigned from the Navy following the end of the War, as per his intentions stated in his letters. Prior to World War I, Lionberger worked as a lawyer, having received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1911.

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Description of Contents

The John S. Lionberger Letterbook, comprising a single volume of documentation, spans from July 18, 1916 to December 21, 1918. The letterbook consists entirely of letters between U.S. Naval Reservist John S. Lionberger and his father, Isaac H. Lionberger during John's training at Reserve Officer Training School at the United States Naval Academy during the summer of 1917 and subsequent service aboard U.S.S. North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29) during World War I.

The first 39 leaves of the letterbook consist of letters written by John S. Lionberger to his father. The letters, dating from John's training at Reserve Officer Training School at the United States Naval Academy during the summer of 1917 and subsequent service aboard U.S.S. North Dakota, describe his course work at the Academy, daily routine, and training exercises, such as target practice, as well as Lionberger's thoughts on naval service and the War itself. Specific entries from Lionberger's time at the Naval Academy include examples of his coursework in ordnance (page 7), speculation at a regular Navy commission and request for destroyer duty (page 11), and description of spotter training (page 12). From his service aboard North Dakota, Lionberger writes of such events and topics as censor restrictions (page 15), boxing matches against other ships' crews (page 15), picket duty (page 17), relations between regular officers and reservists (page 19), descriptions of the men in his mess (page 22), North Dakota and Texas riding out a violent storm (page 23), range keeper training in New York (page 24), selection to be permanently detailed aboard North Dakota (page 26), frustration over American and Navy bureaucracy (page 29), joining the wardroom mess (page 31), desire for the War not to end until being deployed (page 33), his decision not to stay in the Navy (page 35), and hunting in Cuba after the end of the War (page 37). On occasion, Lionberger also notes economics aspects of the war, including the Allied Economic Conference in Paris (page 1) and the effects of currency inflation (page 27). Several of Lionberger's early letters date from his service in the Naval Reserves before attending Reserve Officer Training School.

The remainder of the volume consists of letters written by Isaac H. Lionberger to John S. Lionberger. Isaac's letters include responses to John's letters, as well descriptions of World War I from a civilian point of view. Topics discussed by Isaac in his letters include public reaction to the War and Russian Revolution, thoughts on how democracies react in a crisis, the burden of wartime taxes, social unrest on the home front, and reactions to the Armistice, as well as family and personal news.

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Arrangement

The John S. Lionberger Letterbook is divided into two sections: letters sent and letters received. Each section arranged chronologically thereunder.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The John S. Lionberger Letterbook 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

Purchased from Almagre Books in June 1986.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Lionberger's time as a Reserve Officer trainee available in Special Collections & Archives includes: the Register of First Reserve Officers Training Class in RG-405 Entry 127A; and Lionberger's grades in RG-405 Entry 129, Record of Reserve Officers' Classes.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

John S. Lionberger Letterbook, MS 220

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in February 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in February 2014.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Lionberger, Isaac H., 1854-1948
  • Lionberger, John S. 1889-
  • Naval Education -- United States
  • North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29)
  • Sailors -- United States -- Correspondence
  • United States. Naval Reserve -- Officers
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Economic aspects
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives, American
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Social aspects

Genre Terms

  • Letter books
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

John S. Lionberger Letterbook, 1916 July 18-1918 December 21

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