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Frank Kane Slason Letters, 1931-1936: Finding Aid

Published in 1996

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 320
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Frank Kane Slason Letters
  • Dates: 1931-1936
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Slason, Frank Kane, 1913-1967
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Frank Kane Slason was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1935. The Slason Letters, written by Slason to his parents and sister, chronicle his life as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, as well as a few experiences as an Ensign aboard U.S.S. Arkansas.

Biography of Frank Kane Slason

Frank K. Slason was born in Staten Island, New York in 1913 to Mr. and Mrs. James A. Slason. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1935, Slason served as editor-in-chief of the Lucky Bag and as a contributor to both the Trident and Log magazines. While at the Academy, Slason was also a member of the crew team.

Following his graduation from the Academy, Slason served two years aboard U.S.S. Arkansas (Battleship: BB-33), after which he was assigned to Chemical Warfare School at Edgewood Arsenal and then flight training at Pensacola, earning his wings as a naval aviator in 1938. As an aviator, he was first attached to U.S.S. Yorktown (Aircraft carrier: CV-5) before joining a fighter squadron aboard U.S.S. Wasp (Aircraft carrier: CV-7).

After completing postgraduate work in aeronautical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Slason served at the Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia. Later, he was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics where he was in charge of power plants. In September 1950, Slason, by then a Captain, was appointed Executive Officer of the Overhaul and Repair Department at the Norfolk Naval Air Station. Slason's other duties include heading the Turbine Laboratory in Trenton, New Jersey and serving as Bureau of Aeronautics representative to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft in San Diego.

Captain Frank Kane Slason retired from the U.S. Navy on May 1, 1959 and died on December 31, 1967 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

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Description of Contents

The Frank Kane Slason Letters comprise a collection of letters written by Slason to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James A. Slason, and his sister Joan, during the period of July 1931 through February 1936. The majority of the letters were written by Slason between 1931 and 1935, chronicling his life as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. The collection also includes several post-graduation letters from then Ensign Slason, some of which deal with his service aboard U.S.S. Arkansas.

Slason's letters cover a wide range of midshipman-centric topics, including Naval Academy life, courses, grades, extra-curricular activities, sports, upperclass-lowerclass relations, and plebe activities. The correspondence also reflects Slason's heavy involvement in the production of the 1935 Lucky Bag, which he viewed as a significant business education. The letters also reflect Slason's role, as a member of the Ring Committee, in selecting the Class of 1935's ring.

The collection also includes several pieces of ephemera and miscellaneous documentation, including a business card, a wedding invitation, and what appears to be a draft of a student paper on Latin America.

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The Frank Kane Slason Letters are arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Frank Kane Slason 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 in May 1995. Accession No. 95-32.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional materials pertaining to Slason's career and time at the Naval Academy may be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket (sealed until 2021) and Alumni Jacket, held by Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

Publications Citing These Papers

Transcriptions of some of letters in this collection were published in Letters from Annapolis: Midshipmen Write Home, 1848-1969, edited by Anne Marie Drew.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Frank Kane Slason Letters, MS 320

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"Frank Kane Slason '35." Shipmate (March 1968).

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1996. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1996 and revised by David D'Onofrio in April 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Midshipmen -- United States -- Conduct of life
  • Slason, Frank Kane, 1913-1967
  • United States Naval Academy -- Curricula
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
  • United States Naval Academy -- Periodicals
  • United States Naval Academy -- Social life and customs
  • United States Naval Academy -- Sports
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students -- Correspondence
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1935

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

F. K. Slason Letters, 1931 July-November

July: Plebe life, physicals, uniforms, the crew team, formations, strength tests, and description of USNA as a "grand place."

August: Plebe life, qualification as sharpshooter, formal infantry drill, and plebe pranks.

September: Revulsion at being "on exhibition," Naval Academy amusements, plebe-upperclass relations, and crew.

October-November: Being "spooned on" by Ben Oakley, running (mild form of hazing), and Catholic midshipmen celebrate Thanksgiving.

Also included are several pieces of ephemera and a draft student paper.

Box 1 Folder 2

F. K. Slason Letters, 1932 February-June

February-April: Crew team, doing art work for Trident, running (hazing), and plans for hundredth night.

June: Crew team, summer practice cruise aboard U.S.S. Wyoming, status as a "youngster," and temporary service as a striper.

Box 1 Folder 3

F. K. Slason Letters, 1932 September-December

Crew team, Executive Department "clamping down" at USNA, being "bricked" (set up with unsatisfactory blind date), criticism of football coach Miller, practical joke during a parade, dragging (dating) guest of Senator Oliver, drawing for Trident, visit to submarine U.S.S. Dolphin, Thanksgiving dinner, and attendance at Army-Navy Game.

Box 1 Folder 4

F. K. Slason Letters, 1933 January-May

January: Slason and others "brick" Midshipman Shrader, crackdown on midshipman conduct, and Slason's membership in a group which lightheartedly fights against other midshipmen.

February-May: Crew team, the Lucky Bag, and Slason's placement on weak squad.

Box 1 Folder 5

F. K. Slason Letters, 1933 June-August

Crew team, the Lucky Bag, indoctrination flight, gunnery and machine gun practice, appointment as first petty officer, and midshipmen's submarine duty.

Box 1 Folder 6

F. K. Slason Letters, 1933 October-December

The Lucky Bag, John Grady's severe eye ailment, writing for the Log, Slason's view of his role in midshipman organizations, Class Ring Committee activities, and revocation of demerits because of Slason's good reputation.

Box 1 Folder 7

F. K. Slason Letters, 1934 January-July

January-April: the Lucky Bag, Slason's interest in a Rhodes scholarship, Grady's eye operation, the Log, and selection as a temporary striper.

June: the Lucky Bag, summer practice cruise to Europe, and Slason's satirical writings for USNA musical club.

Box 1 Folder 8

F. K. Slason Letters, 1934 October-December

The Lucky Bag, Slason made a two-striper, Grady's resignation due to eye problems, First-class life, Rhodes scholarship application, hospitalization for complications from infection.

Box 1 Folder 9

F. K. Slason Letters, 1935 February-June

The Lucky Bag, move to better quarters, hundredth night, career and graduation plans, and Annapolis quarantined due to scarlet fever outbreak.

Box 1 Folder 10

F. K. Slason Letters, 1935 July-1936 February

Ensign Slason's naval service with mention of U.S.S. Arkansas.

Box 1 Folder 11-12

F. K. Slason Letters - Envelopes, 1931-1935

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