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Orin Shepley Haskell Letters, 1897-1924 (bulk 1916-1923): Finding Aid

Published electronically 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
  • Call number: MS 259
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Orin Shepley Haskell Letters
  • Dates: 1897-1924
  • Bulk Dates: 1916-1923
  • Size: 1.67 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 4 manuscript boxes
  • Creator: Haskell, Orin Shepley, 1897-1974
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Orin Shepley Haskell was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1920. The Haskell Letters, written by Haskell to his girlfriend and first wife, Audrey McDougall, span Haskell's naval career, from his experiences as a U.S. Naval Academy plebe, to his duties as an engineering specialist and plans for retirement from the Navy.

Biography of Orin Shepley Haskell

Orin Shepley Haskell was born in Pittsfield, Maine in 1897. Haskell was admitted to the United States Naval Academy on June 7, 1916 and graduated as a member of the Class of 1920. Following graduation, Haskell served aboard U.S.S. Wyoming (Battleship : BB-32), Dent (Destroyer : DD-116), North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29), Conner (Destroyer : DD-72), and Bainbridge (Destroyer : DD-246) as an engineering specialist, while also attending Destroyer Engineering School in 1921. Haskell resigned from the United States Navy with the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade) in February 1924. Following his resignation, Haskell spent five years as headmaster of the Lyman Abbott School in Farmington, Maine, thirty years as an employee of General Electric in Schenectady, New York, and five years with the Mohawk Development Service.

Orin Haskell was twice married; first to Audrey McDougall Haskell, and later to Dorothy S. Haskell. Orin Shepley Haskell died on June 26, 1974 near Beaver, Maine.

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Description of Contents

The Orin Shepley Haskell Letters span from 1916 to 1923, with additional items dating as far back as 1879 and as recent as 1924. The letters, written by Haskell to his girlfriend and first wife, Audrey McDougall, span Haskell's naval career, from his experiences as a U.S. Naval Academy plebe, to his duties as an engineering specialist and plans for retirement from the Navy.

Much of the content of the collection's 376 letters is of a personal nature, dealing with Haskell's courtship of Audrey McDougall and their ensuing relationship. The letters also pertain to midshipman life at the Naval Academy and offer accounts of life and duty as a naval officer aboard the U.S.S. Wyoming (Battleship : BB-32), Bainbridge (Destroyer : DD-246), and North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29), and to a lesser extent, U.S.S. Conner (Destroyer : DD-72) and Dent (Destroyer : DD-116).

In addition to the letters between Haskell and McDougall, the collection also includes several postcards, photographs, genealogical material, a shoulder board, a Lucky Bag yearbook, and a short story written by Haskell.

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The Orin Shepley Haskell Letters are arranged chronologically. Materials other than Haskell's correspondence are filed at the end.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Orin Shepley Haskell 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

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Books and Collections by the Naval Academy Alumni Association in October 1987. Accession No. 87-47.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Haskell's time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy may be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket at Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

Publications Citing These Papers

The Orin Shepley Haskell Letters have been cited, or partially reproduced, in A Navy Second to None: The History of U.S. Naval Training in World War I by Michael D. Besch, America's Black Sea Fleet: The U.S. Navy Amidst War and Revolution, 1919-1923 by Robert Shenk, and Letters from Annapolis : Midshipmen Write Home, 1848-1969 by Anne Marie Drew.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Orin Shepley Haskell, MS 259

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo and revised by David D'Onofrio in February 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Bainbridge (Destroyer : DD-246)
  • Haskell, Orin Shepley, 1897-1974
  • Midshipmen -- United States -- Conduct of life
  • North Dakota (Battleship : BB-29)
  • Turkey
  • United States Naval Academy -- Social life and customs
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students -- Correspondence
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1920
  • United States. Navy -- Sea Life
  • Wyoming (Battleship : BB-32)

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • School yearbooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Haskell Letters, 1916 July-September Letters 1-25

Esperanto Congress (July 30); Esperanto Congress, "weak squad" (muscularly deficient midshipmen), and midshipmen's midnight party (July 31); upcoming military review, "awkward squad" (midshipmen deficient in drilling, and sailing (August 3); Commandant Nulton rebukes midshipmen and threatens to cut off candy supply, plebes and limited leave (August 4); Chapel so hot that prayer book stains midshipmen's blouse, and baseball (August 5); pay and allowances, machine gun practice (August 7); sailing race, "rough house" on 4th floor of Bancroft, sharpshooter guards swimming midshipmen against sharks (August 10); account of liberty, First Class plans to haze plebes for being too "ratey" (fresh) (August 13); Plebes' busy schedule (August 15); new order regarding midshipmen's evening fraternization with females (August 18); racist remarks regarding black Naval Academy waiters (August 22); rifle range score cheating (August 25); rifle range score cheating, midshipmen studying different languages not allowed to room together (August 28); upperclassmen forbid plebes' use of "Lovers' Lane," ban on plebe smoking, plebe sent to prison ship for smoking (August 30); infantile paralysis - midshipmen restricted, Reina Mercedes (September 2); punishment for "skylarking" (September 6).

Box 1 Folder 2

Haskell Letters, 1916 September-November Letters 26-50

Praise for Naval Academy, "weak squad" (September 7); midshipmen and musical instruments (September 18); relationship between plebes and upperclassmen (September 30); lack of hazing (October 2); "weak squad" (October 6); dance instruction for plebes (October 14); artillery shed fire, Commandant Nulton soaked by midshipmen with fire hose (October 15); Chinese midshipmen (October 29); class standing regarding Navy seniority (October 30); movies filmed at the Naval Academy, Carter sent to Naval Academy because he tried to elope (November 3); artillery drills (November 8); Navy goat (November 10); midshipman sent to Reina Mercedes for smoking (November 14).

Box 1 Folder 3

Haskell Letters, 1916 November, 1917 October-1918 October Letters 51-75

Army-Navy Game pre-game customs and activities (November 17, 1917); Army-Navy Game plans and preparations (November 21, 1917); Army-Navy Game and post-game activities (November 27, 1917); more on Army-Navy Game, midshipmen giving away buttons as souvenirs at game (November 29, 1917); criticism of USNA-trained Reserve Officers (January 14 and January 22, 1918); hospitalization with scarlet fever and malaria (March 2, 1918); cruise aboard U.S.S. Utah (June 21, 1918); 1918 flu epidemic and Haskell's hospitalization (October 1918).

Box 1 Folder 4

Haskell Letters, 1918 October-November Letters 76-90

1918 flu epidemic and Haskell's hospitalization (October 1918); poor mail service at Naval Academy (October 25); problems with visitors while on gate duty (October 27); criticism of Annapolis Armistice celebration (November 12); midshipmen's speech-making requirement - Memorial Hall, Commandant cautions class regarding poor grades (November 14).

Box 1 Folder 5

Haskell Letters, 1918 November-December Letters 91-105

Heavy betting by midshipmen on Great Lakes-USNA Game, millionaire midshipman [Emile Francis] DuPont bets $5,000 (November 19); criticism of USNA (December 2); problems with prom guests (December 15).

Box 1 Folder 6

Haskell Letters, 1918 December, 1919 March-July Letters 106-125

Criticism of USNA-trained Reserve Officers (December 17); actress Mary Miles Minter at Academy hop, criticism of USNA-trained Reserve Officers, wearing of gold or silver chevrons (December 28); roller skating in USNA armory, remarks on new Navy uniforms (March 14); class German dance plans (March 20); annual "rag time" formation - plebes and first class "rate" each other, midshipmen called out in town to fight a fire, movie stars Alice Brady and Mae Marsh visit USNA (March 22); preparations for U.S.S. Wyoming's cruise through the Panama Canal to California (July).

Box 1 Folder 7

Haskell Letters, 1919 July-September Letters 126-145

Account of U.S.S. Wyoming's cruise through the Panama Canal to California, including shipboard life, duties, recreation, descriptions of Panama and California including celebrations attended by major movie starts (July-August); fleet's problem with fog on its approach to Seattle (September 13); criticism of Captain Christy (September 19).

Box 2 Folder 1

Haskell Letters, 1919 September-1920 January Letters 146-165

Bremerton Navy Yard - problems with workers (September 24); praise for Admiral Coontz, anger as Josephus Daniels' promotion of reserve officers (September 26); praise for Admiral Coontz (October 1); officers' informal club at Enetai (October 7, 19); U.S.S. Wyoming Halloween party, loss of club at Enetai (November 1); rifle range activities (November 14); Admiral's unexpected arrival (November 15); U.S.S. Wyoming Christmas celebration (December 29).

Box 2 Folder 2

Haskell Letters, 1920 January-June Letters 166-185

U.S.S. Wyoming in fleet war games in southern waters (February 11); Wyoming minstrel show (February 25); Wyoming mechanical problems (April 26); Haskell's forbidden visit to Mexico (June 1).

Box 2 Folder 3

Haskell Letters, 1920 June-October Letters 186-205

Haskell only Wyoming ensign in charge of a division, Wyoming night maneuver plans (June 12); U.S.S. Wyoming shipboard life and target practice (July 12); Wyoming target practice, Los Angeles earthquakes (July 23); Wyoming coaling problem while in Hawaii (September 20); Wyoming target practice, Haskell's shipboard responsibilities (October 17); Wyoming only ship in fleet with bachelor junior officer mess - related customs (October 31).

Box 2 Folder 4

Haskell Letters, 1920 November-1921 April Letters 206-225

Haskell transferred to U.S.S. Dent (December 15); transferred from Dent to U.S.S. North Dakota (February 22); in Cuban waters, ships quarantined due to influenza and smallpox (March 10); fleet officers' baseball teams (April 10).

Box 2 Folder 5

Haskell Letters, 1921 April-July Letters 226-245

U.S.S. North Dakota seaman killed in coaling boom accident (June 7); engineering school (June 12?); amusing train anecdote (June 15); mention of naval practice bombings of ex-German ships (Naval Bombing Experiments off the Virginia Capes) (June 17); mention of U-117 bombing exercise by seaplanes (June 21); transfer to U.S.S. Abel P. Upshur for transport to Newport (June 29); U.S.S. Herndon engineering course (July 5).

Box 2 Folder 6

Haskell Letters, 1921 July-September Letters 246-265

Transfer to U.S.S. Conner, remarks on Lt. Commander LaBombard (September 6).

Box 3 Folder 1

Haskell Letters, 1921 September-1922 January Letters 266-280

U.S.S. Conner escorts British cruiser Dauntless (carrying ZR-2 dead) into New York (September 17); returns aboard U.S.S. Bainbridge (December 31); Bainbridge shipboard life, torpedo target practice, loss of torpedoes (January).

Box 3 Folder 2

Haskell Letters, 1922 January-March Letters 281-300

Captain's unpopularity (January 28); Bainbridge activities, U.S.S. Luce - liquor ban violation (February 5); Bainbridge anniversary dinner plans, entertaining on board (February 6); Bainbridge stag dinner for Division X officers, baseball game (February 12); discipline problem with chief water tender (February 13); U.S. Naval recession (February 22); Bainbridge shipboard life (February 24); Bainbridge routine, ship goes smokeless and drinkless for Lent (February 28); Navy cutbacks so ships must anchor for lack of fuel (March 3); demands of Bainbridge shipboard duties (March 9); negative remarks on U.S.S. Delaware.

Box 3 Folder 3

Haskell Letters, 1922 March-August Letters 301-320

Haskell's work routine, aggravation of shipboard reports (March 23); U.S.S. Hulbert collides with U.S.S. Hopkins, circus troupe aboard U.S.S. Henderson (March 29); Captain Pat Flanigan's conduct, engineering school problems (March 30); U.S.S. Bainbridge in Boston Navy Yard dry dock, Haskell becomes supplies, commissary, radio, and communication officer (June 11); Bainbridge nearly in accident off Rockland after leaving Bangor, Maine (August 30).

Box 3 Folder 4

Haskell Letters, 1922 August-1923 March Letters321-335

U.S.S. Bainbridge en route from Smyrna to Rhodes - Turkish minefield, ship's itinerary, American passengers (March 22); Bainbridge at Mersin, Turkey - shipboard life, mataserif's (local governor's) restrictions (March 25).

Box 3 Folder 5

Haskell Letters, 1923 April-August Letters 336-350

Description of Cairo (April 10); Bainbridge at Prinkipo, Turkey - engineering competition (April 23); Bainbridge at Prinkipo, Turkey - shipboard activities, Prince Fouad hosts 3-day wedding celebration for U.S. destroyer captain (April 25); Bainbridge at Prinkipo, Turkey - shipboard life, entertaining, parties and visitors, engineering competition (April 27-May 3).

Box 3 Folder 6

Haskell Letters, 1923 September-October Letters 351-365

U.S.S. Bainbridge at Newport, Rhode Island - as new flagship of Atlantic Fleet (September 2); Bainbridge at Washington Navy Yard - mention of bombing tests on U.S.S. Virginia and U.S.S. New Jersey, remarks on new captain Emmett (September 6); remarks on Captain Emmett (September 11).

Box 3 Folder 7

Haskell Letters, 1923 October-November Letters 366-376

U.S.S. Bainbridge at Southern Drill Grounds - hardships for ships caused by rough weather (October 19).

Miscellaneous, 1897-1920, undated

Box 4 Folder 1 Item 1

Copy of letter from Miss Anne Shaw to Mrs. J. Henry Smith, 1897 June 28

Genealogical information regarding Colonel Henry Price and family.

Box 4 Folder 1 Item 2

From Van M. Steven, 1914

Valentine's Day party invitation.

Box 4 Folder 1 Item 3

Alphabetical Arrangement of Midshipmen, 1915

Box 4 Folder 1 Item 4

Nellie to Audrey Haskell, 1921-1924 (approximate)

Life as a Navy wife in Annapolis.

Box 4 Folder 1 Item 5

"North Woods Adventure", undated

Manuscript short story by Haskell.

Box 4 Folder 1 Item 6

Shoulder board, LT (j.g.), undated

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Box 4 Folder 2

Pictures, 1919-1920 (approximate), undated

Photographs and postcards depicting locks on the Panama Canal, a volcano, U.S. Navy battleships (Idaho and possibly Wyoming), and various U.S. locales.

Box 4 Folder 3

Yearbook - Lucky Bag, 1920

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