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Leo Hewlett Thebaud Papers, 1880-1951 (bulk 1918-1951): Finding Aid

Published in July 1986

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 227
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Leo Hewlett Thebaud Papers
  • Dates: 1880-1951
  • Bulk Dates: 1918-1951
  • Size: 1.88 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 half-manuscript box, 1 flat box
  • Creator: Thebaud, Leo Hewlett, 1890-1980
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Vice Admiral Leo Hewlett Thebaud was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1913 who served tours of duty at the Naval Academy and with several Destroyer Squadrons spanning both World Wars. The papers include letters to and from Thebaud, photographs, news clippings, published histories, and a Navy pennant.

Biography of Leo Hewlett Thebaud

Lew Hewlett Thebaud was born in New Jersey in 1890 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1913. Following graduation, Thebaud was assigned to U.S.S. Wyoming, where he served until 1917 when he was transferred to U.S.S. Paul Jones as commanding officer in escort duties in the Atlantic. While serving with U.S.S. Paul Jones, Thebaud was awarded the Navy Cross for rescuing the crew of U.S.S. Henderson.

Later destroyer duty includes service aboard U.S.S. Wickes, U.S.S. De Long, U.S.S. Dickerson, U.S.S. Herndon, and the command of U.S.S. Bainbridge. Ashore he had duty with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, followed by service at the Naval Academy, the first of three such assignments. Upon being ordered to sea once again, he joined U.S.S. Pennsylvania and U.S.S. Gilmer, before assuming command of U.S.S. James K. Paulding, aboard which he participated in the Nicaraguan Campaign. He later served as Executive Officer of the Presidential yacht U.S.S. Mayflower during the Hoover administration, followed by service as First Lieutenant aboard U.S.S. Arkansas. After U.S.S. Arkansas, Thebaud was appointed Aide to Rear Admiral Wat T. Cluverius, Commander Cruiser Division Four, Scouting Force, U.S. Fleet. In 1933, he became Assistant Naval Attaché in Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon. Returning to the United States, he oversaw the fitting out of the destroyer U.S.S. Clark, taking command of her upon her commissioning.

After another tour at the Naval Academy, Thebaud was appointed Commander Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Seven, and subsequently took over Destroyer Squadron Thirteen. Early in World War II, he served as Commander, U.S. Escort Control and SOPA, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, before being ordered to assume command of the cruiser U.S.S. Boise in the Mediterranean. For his service in the Mediterranean, Thebaud was awarded the Legion of Merit with Gold Star and the Army Oak Leaf Cluster for support of the amphibious landings at Sicily. Duty in the Pacific Theater followed, where he commanded Cruiser Division Ten in the Marianas and Bonin Islands. He later served in intelligence and as Naval Attaché in Paris, prior to being named Inspector General of the Navy and then Commandant of the First Naval District. Thebaud was transferred to the Retired List in 1952. Additional decorations received by Thebaud include the Navy Commendation Ribbon, the Order of the British Empire, the French Legion d'Honneur, the Czechoslovakian Order of Merit, and the Order of Yub Hui of the Republic of China. Leo Hewlett Thebaud died on April 18, 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Description of Contents

The Leo Hewlett Thebaud Papers, comprising 1.88 linear feet of documentation, span from 1880 to 1951. The papers consist of a selection of Thebaud's personal correspondence, photographs, and ephemera, including his Vice Admiral's pennant.

The collection's correspondence, not all attributed to Thebaud, spans from 1918 to 1936. Those items written to or by Thebaud pertain to family issues, as well as the conveyance of several official documents. The remaining correspondence includes a letter from James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce to Henry B.F. Macfarland regarding American support during World War I and several colonial society membership applications for Townsend Scudder, III.

The photographs, dating largely from 1949, depict outposts in the Canadian arctic. One additional photograph is of a painting of U.S.S. Davis. The remainder of the collection's textual documents come in the form of publications and newspaper clippings on the topics of British naval victories in World War I, Viscount Cunningham, post-World War II peace, and John Paul Jones.

Also included in the collection is Thebaud's blue and white, three star Vice Admiral's pennant.

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The Leo Hewlett Thebaud Papers are arranged by document type.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Leo Hewlett Thebaud 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 Vice Admiral Leo Hewlett Thebaud, by way of his daughter, Mme. Nicolson in December 1980. Accession No. 80-33.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Thebaud's career and time at the Naval Academy is available in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

Six volumes have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Leo Hewlett Thebaud Papers, MS 227

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"Leo Hewlett Thebaud '13." Shipmate 43, no. 6 (1980): 103.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in July 1986. Finding aid written in July 1986 and revised by David D'Onofrio in May 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Arctic regions
  • Scudder, Townsend, 1900-
  • Thebaud, Leo Hewlett, 1890-1980

Genre Terms

  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Pennants
  • Photographs
  • Printed ephemera
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Contents List

Letters, 1918-1936

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 1

To Henry B. F. Macfarland from Lord James Bryce, 1918 July 10

Regarding America's support in World War I.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 2

To Leo from "Dad", 193- July 18

Regarding the illness of Thebaud's mother.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 3

To Mrs. Thebaud from Leo Thebaud, 1931 April 3

Note regarding Thebaud's clothing needs.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 4

Invitation to tea on H.M.S. Achilles, [1936]

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 5

To "My Dearest" from "Algy," Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 1936 August 10

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 6

To "My Darling" from "Alger," Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 1936 August 19

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Letters - Applications for membership, undated

Copies of societal membership applications for Townsend Scudder, III.

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 1

Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New York membership application, undated

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 2

Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of New York membership application, undated

Box 1 Folder 2 Item 3

Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution membership application, undated

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Letters - Transfer reports of registered secret and confidential publications, 1928-1929

Box 1 Folder 3 Item 1

U.S.S. James K. Paulding transfer report, 1928 January 3

Box 1 Folder 3 Item 2

U.S.S. Mayflower transfer report, 1929 April 4

Box 1 Folder 3 Item 3

U.S.S. Mayflower transfer report, 1929 May 9

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Box 1 Folder 4

Photographs - Arctic regions, 1949

One map and 10 photographs of arctic stations in Thule, Greenland; arctic stations in Resolute Bay, Eureka Sounds Isachsen, Mould Bay, and Alert, Canada; an icebreaker; and a polar bear.

Box 1 Folder 5

Photographs - U.S.S. Davis (Destroyer : DD-65), undated

Publications, 1880-1951, undated

Box 1 Folder 6 Item 1

"Captain John Paul Jones." (From: Loubat, J.F. The Medallic History of the United States. p. 97-112, 1880

Box 1 Folder 6 Item 2

Newspaper clippings, 1945-1946

Clippings on peace following World War II and the United Nations, among other topics.

Box 1 Folder 6 Item 3

"A Great Sailor (Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope) in his Garden." The Tatler and Bystander, p. 578-9, 1951 March 21

Box 1 Folder 6 Item 4

Gibbon, Perceval. The Triumph of the Royal Navy: How the German Fleet Came to Britain., undated

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Box 1 Folder 7

Miscellaneous, undated

Includes ephemera from hotels and restaurants, as well as an invitation from the Pan American Union.

Box 2[OS] Folder 1

Pennant, undated

Thebaud's navy blue and white, three-star Vice Admiral pennant.

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