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Lester E. Bick Letters, 1918-1919: Finding Aid

Published in 1993

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 278
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Lester E. Bick Letters
  • Dates: 1918-1919
  • Size: 1.25 linear inches (3 folders)
  • Creator: Bick, Lester E.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The Lester E. Bick Letters were written by Bick to his sister, Mrs. Marie Hemminger, while he was serving aboard the troop transport U.S.S. Mount Vernon during the closing days of World War I. The letters include descriptions of everyday shipboard life, as well as specific events, such as the torpedoing of Mount Vernon by German ships, and second hand accounts of U.S. soldiers being ordered to bayonet German prisoners of war.

Biography of Lester E. Bick

Lester E. Bick was an enlisted sailor in the United States Navy during World War I. During the War, Bick served aboard the troop transport U.S.S. Mount Vernon, which transported American soldiers between New York and Brest. While Bick was serving aboard Mount Vernon, she was torpedoed by German submarine U-82, but managed to return to port under her own power.

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Description of Contents

The Lester E. Bick Letters, 1918-1919, consist of nineteen signed, holographic letters and two related U.S. Navy Special Orders. The letters were written by Lester E. Bick, a U.S. Navy enlisted man, to his sister, Mrs. Marie Hemminger. The collection covers the time period of 27 February 1918 through 16 May 1919.

The letters begin with Bick in the New York area, anticipating a new Naval assignment. In May of 1918, Bick wrote of being assigned to the U.S. Navy steamer Mount Vernon. Among the topics discussed by Bick are the Mount Vernon's transport trips, the torpedoing of the Mount Vernon by a German submarine, accounts by U.S. Army soldiers of officer-ordered bayoneting of German prisoners of war, Boston's celebration of the peace declaration, and the transport of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and other notables. Many of the letters also focus on matters such as Bick's personal interests and leisure-time amusements and his attempts to procure an early release from the Navy.

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Arrangement

The Lester E. Bick Letters are arranged chronologically into a single series with no subdivisions.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Lester E. Bick 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 in March 1992. Accession No.92-17.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

There are no other known collections of papers of Lester E. Bick.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Lester E. Bick Letters, MS 278

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1993. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1993 and revised by David D'Onofrio in November 2013.

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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

  • Bick, Lester E.
  • Mount Vernon (Steamer)
  • Sailors -- United States -- Correspondence
  • United States. Navy -- Transport service
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Lester E. Bick Letters, 1918 February-October

Includes discussions of Bick's first trip aboard Mount Vernon and Mount Vernon being torpedoed by the Germans.

Box 1 Folder 2

Lester E. Bick Letters, 1918 October-1919 February

Includes more detailed accounts of the torpedo attack on Mount Vernon, repairs to the ship, plans for a Mount Vernon Ball in Boston, and celebration of the peace declaration in Boston.

Box 1 Folder 3

Lester E. Bick Letters, 1919 February-May

Includes discussions of transporting French minesweeper sailors, soldiers' shipboard shows, transporting soldiers and war brides, accounts by U.S. Army soldiers of officer-ordered bayoneting of German prisoners of war, the accidental death of a solider during a stormy crossing, and transporting Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and other notables.

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