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William Randall Sayles Papers, 1895-1919: Finding Aid

Published in April 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
  • Call number: MS 221
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: William Randall Sayles Papers
  • Dates: 1895-1919
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 245 leaves
  • Creator: Sayles, William Randall, Jr., 1877-1935
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: William Randall Sayles was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1899. The Sayles Papers, consisting primarily of official U.S. Navy orders, communications, and reports, cover roughly the first half of William Sayles' career as a Navy officer.

Biographical Chronology of William Randall Sayles, Jr.

  • On December 8, is born in Rhode Island.
  • On May 20, is appointed to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1899.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship : BB-2) in the West Indies.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Brooklyn (Cruiser : CA-3) of the Asiatic Station.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Samar (Gunboat : PG-41) of the Asiatic Station.
  • Attached to U.S.S. New Orleans (Protected cruiser : CL-22) of the Asiatic Station.
  • On January 28, is commissioned an Ensign.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Cincinnati (Protected cruiser : C-7) of the European Station.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Buffalo (Auxiliary cruiser) of the Atlantic Training Squadron.
  • On January 28, is promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).
  • On January 1, is promoted to Lieutenant.
  • Attached to the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Severn (Bark) serving at the Naval Academy.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Washington (Armored cruiser : ACR-11) of the Atlantic Fleet.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Charleston (Protected cruiser : C-22) of the Pacific Fleet.
  • Attached to the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • On March 4, is promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • Attached to U.S.S. New Jersey (Battleship : BB-16) of the Atlantic Fleet.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Montana of the Special Service Squadron.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Washington at the New York Navy Yard.
  • Ordered to duty as Naval Attaché in Paris.
  • On July 1, is promoted to Commander.
  • On September 21, is promoted to Captain (temporary).
  • Attached to U.S.S. Henderson (Transport : AP-1) as Commanding Officer.
  • Attached to the Naval War College for instruction.
  • Serving as Naval Attaché in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.
  • On June 3, is promoted to Captain.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Seattle (Armored cruiser : ACR-11) as Commanding Officer.
  • Serving as District Intelligence Officer in New York.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Florida (Battleship : BB-30) as Commanding Officer.
  • Attached to Third Naval District, New York as Chief of Staff.
  • On June 30, retires from the United States Navy.
  • On June 4, dies.
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Description of Contents

The William Randall Sayles Papers, comprising 0.21 linear feet of documentation in a single volume, span from 1895 to 1919. The volume, consisting primarily of official U.S. Navy orders, communications, and reports, covers roughly the first half of William Sayles' career as a Navy officer.

Arranged chronologically, the Sayles Papers regard Sayles' U.S. Navy commissions, leave requests, hospital notices, promotions, awards, bounty claims, and orders to each of his duty stations at sea, on shore, and as a member of various boards. Specific events noted in the papers include, but are not limited to, Sayles' appointment to the Naval Academy (1895); efforts on the part of midshipmen to serve in the Spanish-American War and Sayles' subsequent service aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (1898); Sayles' service on the machinery trial board of U.S.S. Ohio (1904); the unauthorized sale of U.S. government property, namely a junk, in Hong Kong by Sayles (1909); the commissioning of U.S.S. Massachusetts for use during Naval Academy summer cruises (1910); Sayles' appointment and service as American Naval Attaché in Paris (1915-1918); and the torpedoing of S.S. Sussex (1916) by a German U-boat.

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The William Randall Sayles Papers comprise a single volume. Documents within the volume are primarily arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The William Randall Sayles Papers 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 Professor Neville Kirk in February 1984. Accession No. 84-7.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Sayles' U.S. Navy career and time as a Naval Cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy may be found in his Alumni Jacket and Conduct Record at Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

William Randall Sayles Papers, MS 221

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1814-.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in April 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in April 2014. Biographical chronology written in June 1986.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Massachusetts (Battleship : BB-2)
  • Military attachés - United States
  • Ohio (Battleship : BB-12)
  • Sayles, William Randall, Jr., 1877-1935
  • Sussex (Ferry)
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students
  • United States. Navy -- Officers

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Orders (military records)
  • Reports
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

William Randall Sayles Papers, 1895-1919

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