Edward M. Pickman Papers, 1912-1950 (bulk 1915-1929): Finding Aid
Published in 1997
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 332
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Edward M. Pickman Papers
- Dates: 1912-1950
- Bulk Dates: 1915-1929
- Size: 1.46 linear feet
- Container Summary: 3 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box, 1 oversize folder
- Creator: Pickman, Edward Motley, 1886-
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: Edward Motley Pickman was a U.S. Navy Reservist, embassy attaché, and historian. The Pickman Papers pertain to Pickman's service as a prison camp inspector in World War I, his World War I naval service, familial matters, and intellectual pursuits after the War.
Biography of Edward M. Pickman
Edward Motley Pickman was born on October 13, 1886 in Boston, Massachusetts to Dudley Leavitt Pickman and Ellen Rodman Motley Pickman. As a youth, Pickman attended Noble and Greenough School, before graduating cum laude with an A.B. from Harvard in June 1908. A year later, he received an M.A. in history from the same institution, and then proceeded on to Harvard Law School, where he was awarded an LL.B. in 1912.
Pickman practiced law for only two years, and in 1915 began work as an embassy attaché at the American Embassy in Paris. Among his duties, Pickman was delegated by the Ambassador of the United States in Paris to visit and report upon the camps and depots for Austro-German prisoners of war confined in France. Upon American entry into World War I, Pickman joined the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Wainwright (DD-62) from April 24, 1917 to March 6, 1918. While attached to Wainwright, Pickman rose from Quartermaster First Class to a commission as an Ensign in the Naval Reserves on January 28, 1918. Following his detachment from Wainwright, he was assigned to duty as an aide to Captain R.H. Jackson, Staff Representative to Admirals Sims and Wilson in Paris, until December 1918. In May 1918, Pickman was released from active duty with the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade).
After the War, Pickman decided to further pursue his studies in history. In 1921, he and his family traveled to Europe to aid in Pickman's studies of European history, allowing him to study at the Sorbonne, in Berlin, and in Italy. Upon returning to the United States, Pickman embarked upon writing a history of his own, publishing The Mind of Latin Christendom in 1937. Chronic illness would ultimately prevent Pickman from publishing his planned second volume.
In 1915, Pickman married Hester Marion Chanler. Together, the Pickmans had six children, two sons and four daughters. Edward Motley Pickman died in 1959.
Description of Contents
The Edward M. Pickman Papers, comprising 1.46 linear feet of documentation, span from 1912 to 1950. The papers pertain to Pickman's service as a prison camp inspector in World War I, his World War I naval service, familial matters, and intellectual pursuits after the War.
The collection consists of correspondence, reports, photographs, certificates, and travel documents.
Pickman's earliest World War I experiences are described in Series 1: Prisoner of War Camp Inspection Files. The files are the product of Pickman's time as an American embassy attaché, in which he was tasked with observing and reporting on the conditions in French prisoner of war camps. The remainder of Pickman's wartime experiences, namely those aboard U.S.S. Wainwright and as an aide to Captain R.H. Jackson in Paris, can be found in Series 2: Correspondence. This second series, the bulk of which is composed of letters between Pickman and his wife Hester, also includes information on Pickman's family life, world travel, and activities as a historian and member of Massachusetts society.
The Edward M. Pickman Papers are organized into the following two series:
- Series 1: Prisoner of War Camp Inspection Files, 1915
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1912-1950
- Subseries 2a: Letters Sent by Edward M. Pickman, 1915-1948
- Subseries 2b: Letters Sent by Hester Pickman, 1916-1927
- Subseries 2c: Letters Received from Various Correspondents, 1917-1950
- Subseries 2d: Miscellaneous Papers, 1912-1937
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The Edward M. Pickman 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.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Purchased in March 1997. Accession No. 97-16.
Related Archival Material
Additional material pertaining to Edward Motley Pickman can be found in the Dudley Leavitt Pickman Papers 1721-1938 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
Materials Cataloged Separately
No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.
Processing and Other Information
Edward M. Pickman Papers, MS 332
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:
Whitney, Hugh, "Edward Motley Pickman," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society Third Series, no. 72 (October 1957-December 1960): 364-370 http://www.jstor.org/stable/25080529
This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1997. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in March 2014, based loosely on a guide written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1997.
Name and Subject Terms
- Pickman, Hester
- Pickman, Edward Motley, 1886-
- Prisoners of war -- Germany
- Wainwright (Destroyer : DD-62)
- World War, 1914-1918 -- Prisoners and prisons, French
- World war, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American
- Travel documents
Series 1: Prisoner of War Camp Inspection Files, 1915 Box 1Series Description
Documentation of Pickman's duties inspecting World War I prisoner of war camps holding German and Austrian war prisoners in France. The series consists primarily of Pickman's reports on conditions at the camps, but also includes his travel documentation. The reports can include location and description of the facilities at the camps; number and type of prisoners; observations on clothing, food, discipline, and sanitation; and recommendations for improvements.Series Arrangement
Arranged chronologically by date of prison camp visit.
Series 2: Correspondence, 1912-1950 Boxes 2-4Series Description
Correspondence sent and received by both Edward Pickman and his wife, Hester Pickman. The letters pertain to largely to family matters, Edward Pickman's World War I service aboard U.S.S. Wainwright and under R.H. Jackson in Paris, and the Pickmans' travels and social lives. Included at the end of the series are several miscellaneous items pertaining to Pickman's role as a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public in Massachusetts.Series Arrangement
Organized into four subseries.
Subseries 2a: Letters Sent by Edward M. Pickman, 1915-1948 Boxes 2-4Subseries Description
Letter written by Edward M. Pickman to his wife Hester Marion Pickman, Mrs. D.L. Pickman, Mrs. Winthrop Chamber, and others.
Pickman's early letters, from 1915-1916, pertain to family and social matters, a War relief bazaar, Pickman's naval training, naval officer acquaintances, and activities as squad leader.
During 1917, Pickman's letters turn to his service aboard U.S.S. Wainwright, and offer details on his naval duties, shipboard life, the attitudes of the ship's men, and life in port. Pickman also discusses his recommendation for commission as an acting ensign and his service as the ship's athletic manager, as well as his intellectual pursuits. The letters from 1917 were censored at the time of mailing.
Pickman's 1918 correspondence discusses his commission as a reserve ensign, as well as his detachment from U.S.S. Wainwright to serve under Captain R.H. Jackson in Paris. While in Paris, Pickman talks of his plans to have his wife join him and work under Edith Wharton doing relief work, as well as his social life, acquaintances, and intellectual interests. The letters from 1918 were censored at the time of mailing.
The remainder of Pickman's letters pertain to topics such has his family, Massachusetts social life, intellectual pursuits, research for his book, his support for music groups, and foreign travels to Bermuda, Paris, and Berlin.Subseries Arrangement
Arranged by letter recipient, thereunder chronologically.
Subseries 2b: Letters Sent by Hester Pickman, 1916-1927 Box 4Subseries Description
Letters written by Hester Pickman to Edward Pickman and Mrs. D.L. Pickman. The letters pertain primarily to domestic and social matters, children, and travel.
One undated letter in the subseries dates from Mrs. Pickman's time in Paris, and regards her studies in painting and association with such notables as Paul Valery and James Joyce.Subseries Arrangement
Arranged by recipient, thereunder chronologically.
Subseries 2c: Letters Received from Various Correspondents, 1917-1950 Box 4Subseries Description
Letters received by Edward Pickman and Hester Pickman from various correspondents, including Winthrop Chamber, family members, and friends. Several pieces of correspondence potentially do not include either of the Pickmans as recipients. One 1917 letter from Winthrop Chamber to Edward Pickman discussed Pickman's World War I naval service and Chamber's meeting with Franklin Roosevelt.Subseries Arrangement
Subseries 2d: Miscellaneous Papers, 1912-1937Subseries Description
Documentation of Pickman's appointment as a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, as well as other miscellany. Included in the subseries are certificates, notes, and a passport photograph.Subseries Arrangement
Organized into two files by document type.