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Nimitz Library

E. B. Potter Papers, 1943-1991: Finding Aid

Published in 1998

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 335
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: E. B. Potter Papers
  • Dates: 1943-1991
  • Size: 3.13 linear feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 flat box)
  • Creator: Potter, E. B. (Elmer Belmont), 1908-
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Elmer Belmont Potter was a historian and a professor of history at the United States Naval Academy. The Potter Papers primarily document Potter's research for, and writing of, his biographies and naval histories, namely Sea Power: A Naval History, Nimitz, and Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Biography of Elmer Belmont Potter

Elmer Belmont Potter was born in 1908 in Norfolk, Virginia. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond and a master's degree from the University of Chicago. After graduation, he worked as both a teacher and an actor.

In 1941, Potter received a commission in the United States Naval Reserve and was attached to the faculty of the United States Naval Academy. After the outbreak of World War II, he was called up to active duty in the Pacific Theater, ultimately attaining the rank of Commander.

After the war, Potter returned to the Academy where he transitioned to the civilian faculty in 1946 in the Department of English, History, and Government. In addition to his teaching, Potter authored The Naval Academy Illustrated History of the United States Navy and Nimitz, and served as editor of The Great Sea War: The Story of Naval Action in World War II, Triumph in the Pacific: The Navy's Struggle Against Japan, Triumph in the Atlantic: The Naval Struggle Against the Axis, and Sea Power: A Naval History while at the Academy. Potter retired from teaching in 1977, after which he received the title of Professor Emeritus from the Secretary of the Navy.

After retiring from teaching, Potter turned to writing biographies, publishing Bull Halsey in 1985 and Admiral Arleigh Burke in 1990. Elmer Belmont Potter died on November 22, 1997 in Annapolis, Maryland.

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Description of Contents

The E. B. Potter Papers, comprising 3.13 linear feet of documentation, span from 1943 to 1991. The papers primarily document Potter's research for, and writing of, his biographies and naval histories, namely Sea Power: A Naval History, Nimitz, and Admiral Arleigh Burke.

The papers consist of letters, memoranda, photographs, plaques, and a draft of one of Potter's books.

The E. B. Potter Papers are organized into three series by document type. The first series, Correspondence and Research Files, consists primarily of letters received by Potter used in the writing of Sea Power: A Naval History, Nimitz, and Admiral Arleigh Burke, as well as Bull Halsey. Potter's correspondents include Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Nimitz's wife Catherine, Admiral Raymond Spruance, and Admiral Arleigh Burke. The series also includes smaller amounts of correspondence with Vice Admiral A. Stanton Merrill, Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, General Douglas MacArthur, and President Gerald Ford. The major correspondents, who served not only as Potter's sources but also as editors and collaborators, often focus on subjects related to the Pacific Theater of World War II in their letters, such as the Battle of Midway, destroyer doctrine, and command styles and decisions. Many of the letters also offer critiques and corrections of Potter's manuscripts. The correspondence of the less prolific correspondents tends to consist more of praise and thanks regarding Potter's writings, as well as responses to Potter's requests for comment. The second series consists solely of an undated draft of Potter's biography of Chester W. Nimitz, which includes Potter's corrections and annotations. The final series is composed of plaques awarded to Potter by various naval organizations, as well as several inscribed photographs commemorating visits aboard U.S. Navy vessels.

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Arrangement

The E. B. Potter Papers are organized into the following three series:

  • Series 1: Correspondence and Research Files, 1943-1991
  • Subseries 1a: Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1952-1965
  • Subseries 1b: Catherine Nimitz Correspondence, 1967-1979
  • Subseries 1c: Chester W. Nimitz Documents, 1950-1970
  • Subseries 1d: Raymond A. Spruance Correspondence, 1956-1968
  • Subseries 1e: Arleigh Burke Correspondence, 1943-1962
  • Subseries 1f: Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1986-1990
  • Subseries 1g: Various Correspondents, 1946-1991
  • Series 2: Nimitz: A Biography (Draft), undated
  • Series 3: Photographs and Plaques, 1977-1991
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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The E. B. Potter 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

Custodial History

The draft of Nimitz: A Biography was transferred from the Activities of Faculty and Staff section of the Records of the United States Naval Academy in March 2014.

Provenance and Acquisition

Correspondence gift of Elmer B. Potter in July 1996. Plaques and photographs gift of the Potter family in May 1998. Accession Nos. 96-51 and 98-22.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to E. B. Potter's research can be found in the Papers of E. B. Potter, 1959-1968, at the Naval History and Heritage Command's Operational Archives.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

E. B. Potter Papers, MS 335

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"E. B. Potter, educator, historian, dies at 88," The Capital (Annapolis, MD), November 24, 1997.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1998. Inventory written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1998. Biographical sketch, Scope and Content Note, and series descriptions written by David D'Onofrio in March 2014.

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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

  • Admirals -- United States -- Biography
  • Burke, Arleigh A., 1901-1996
  • Destroyers (Warships) -- United States -- History -- World War, 1939-1945
  • Halsey, William F. (William Frederick), 1882-1959
  • Kinkaid, Thomas C. (Thomas Cassin), 1888-1972
  • Merrill, Aaron Stanton, 1890-1961
  • Midway, Battle of, 1942
  • Mitscher, Marc Andrew, 1887-19479
  • Nimitz, Catherine Freeman, d. 1979
  • Nimitz, Chester W. (Chester William), 1885-1966
  • Philippine Sea, Battle of the, 1944 (June 19-21)
  • Potter, E. B. (Elmer Belmont), 1908-
  • Spruance, Raymond Ames, 1886-1969
  • United States. Navy -- Destroyer forces
  • United States. Navy -- Officers
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Solomon Islands
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Faculty papers
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Plaques (flat objects)
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Contents List

Series 1: Correspondence and Research Files, 1943-1991 Boxes 1-2

Series Description

Research correspondence and communications between Potter and notable World War II naval figures, as well as other papers related to Potter's research and writings. Much of the correspondence consists of replies to Potter's research inquiries, as well as edits and critiques from his correspondents, who often served as Potter's interviewees, editors, and collaborators. The correspondents/subjects of correspondence who appear most prominently in the series are Fleet Admiral and Mrs. Chester W. Nimitz, Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, and Admiral Arleigh Burke. The series also includes one or more papers by or about Vice Admiral A. Stanton Merrill, Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, General Douglas MacArthur, Vice Admiral James E. Maher, and President Gerald Ford.

Series Arrangement

Organized into seven subseries by primary correspondent.

Subseries 1a: Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1952-1965 Box 1

Subseries Description

Letters received by Elmer B. Potter from Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Many of the letters concern the research, writing, publication, and revision of Potter's books Sea Power and The Great Sea War, for which Nimitz served as an editor. Some of the correspondence includes Nimitz's comments and corrections of Potter's work.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1952 September 10-1957 July 12 Items 1-10
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 1 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1952 September 10

Nimitz's policy on replacing officers.

Box 1 Folder 1
No. 2 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1955 July 10

Withdrawal of history volume during Nimitz's plebe year due to Sampson-Schley controversy.

Box 1 Folder 1
No. 3 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1956 December 22
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 4 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 February 26

Nimitz's stand against undeserved "glamorizing" of individuals or incidents.

Box 1 Folder 1
No. 5 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 April 7
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 6 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 April
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 7 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 April
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 8 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 May 12
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 9 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 May 27
Box 1 Folder 1
No. 10 From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 July 12
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1957 July 25-1959 February 19 Items 11-20
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 11 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 July 25
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 12 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 August 5
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 13 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1957 October 28
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 14 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1958 January 6
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 15 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1958 June 29
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 16 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1958 July 12
Box 1 Folder 2
No. 17 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1958 October 13

Nimitz's wartime decision-making.

Box 1 Folder 2
No. 18 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1958 November 2

Schley anecdote, Nimitz's form of orders to his Fleet Commanders, Task Force 34, Raymond Spruance and the Marianas.

Box 1 Folder 2
No. 19 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 January 11

Belief that Halsey, Spruance, and Kinkaid should read Potter's chapters.

Box 1 Folder 2
No. 20 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 February 19

Belief that Halsey, Spruance, and Kinkaid should read Potter's chapters.

Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1959 April 18-June 30 Items 21-30
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 21 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 April 18

Belief that Halsey, Spruance, and Kinkaid should read Potter's chapters.

Box 1 Folder 3
No. 22 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 March 2
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 23 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 May 22
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 24 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 May 27
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 25 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 June 4
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 26 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 June 19
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 27 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 June 21
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 28 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 June 21
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 29 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 June 24
Box 1 Folder 3
No. 30 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 June 30
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1959 July 2-September 22 Items 31-40
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 31 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 2

Dardanelles affair.

Box 1 Folder 4
No. 32 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 19
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 33 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 25
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 34 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 26
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 35 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 28
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 36 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 August 28
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 37 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 August 29
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 38 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 September 4
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 39 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 September 9
Box 1 Folder 4
No. 40 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 September 22
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1959 October 18-1960 February 18 Items 41-50
Box 1 Folder 5
No. 41 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 October 18

Leyte Gulf action.

Box 1 Folder 5
No. 42 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 November 5
Box 1 Folder 5
No. 43 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 November 12
Box 1 Folder 5
No. 44 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 November 27
Box 1 Folder 5
No. 45 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 December 7
Box 1 Folder 5
No. 46 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1959 December 26

Repudiation of Army Air Corps charge against U.S. Navy regarding Navy torpedoes.

Box 1 Folder 5
No. 47 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 February 14
Box 1 Folder 5
No. 48 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 February 14

Nimitz's endorsement of Elmer Potter for Navy League Award.

Box 1 Folder 5
No. 49 - From E. B. Potter to Chester W. Nimitz, 1960 February 16

Possible incorporation of various admirals' opinions in revision. Includes Nimitz's notes in margin.

Box 1 Folder 5
No. 50 - From E. B. Potter to Chester W. Nimitz, 1960 February 18

Question of inclusion of Navy torpedoes controversy. Includes Nimitz's notes in margin.

Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1960 February 20-August 25 Items 51-60
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 51 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 February 20

Navy torpedoes controversy.

Box 1 Folder 6
No. 52 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 March 18
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 53 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 March 23
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 54 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 March 31
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 55 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 March 31
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 56 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 May 18

Includes letter from Elmer Potter on verso.

Box 1 Folder 6
No. 57 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 May 24

Nimitz's physical exam, recommendation of exclusion of U-2 incident.

Box 1 Folder 6
No. 58 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 June 4
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 59 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 July 2
Box 1 Folder 6
No. 60 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 August 25
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1960 September 1-1961 May 20 Items 61-70
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 61 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 September 1

Nimitz's belief that Potter's book contains "many lessons in the exercise of high command."

Box 1 Folder 7
No. 62 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 September 21
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 63 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 October 24
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 64 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1960 December 3
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 65 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 January 11
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 66 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 March 14
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 67 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 April 14
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 68 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 April 19
Box 1 Folder 7
No. 69 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 May 4

Nimitz at Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's ranch to receive Konrad Adenauer.

Box 1 Folder 7
No. 70 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 May 20
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1961 June 10-1962 October 18 Items 71-80
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 71 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 June 10
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 72 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 July 17
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 73 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1961 July 27
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 74 - Correspondence Packet, 1962 February 2

Contains a signed note from Nimitz to Potter. Regards Nimitz's beer smuggling incident while a midshipman and Bancroft Hall.

Box 1 Folder 8
No. 75 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 February 7

Eller holds a substantial number of Nimitz papers.

Box 1 Folder 8
No. 76 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 March 27
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 77 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 April 1
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 78 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 August 3

Nimitz's tentative Forward for the Japanese edition of The Great Sea War.

Box 1 Folder 8
No. 79 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 October 4
Box 1 Folder 8
No. 80 - From E. B. Potter to Chester W. Nimitz, 1962 October 18
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1962 November 1-1963 February 21 Items 81-90
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 81 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 November 1
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 82 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 November 6
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 83 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 November 21
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 84 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1962 December 23
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 85 - From Chester W. Nimitz to (?), 1963

Photocopy excerpt entitled "Memories can do great harm."

Box 1 Folder 9
No. 86 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 January 8
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 87 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 January 17
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 88 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 January 18

Midshipman Nimitz's meeting with Admiral Togo, atmosphere during Battle of Midway. Includes a copy of the U.S.S. Missouri smooth log from September 2, 1945, inscribed by Nimitz.

Box 1 Folder 9
No. 89 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 February 5
Box 1 Folder 9
No. 90 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 February 21
Chester W. Nimitz Correspondence, 1963 March 9-1965 October 11 Items 91-102
Box 1 Folder 10
No. 91 - From Chester W. Nimitz to R.T.E. Bowler, 1963 March 9

Includes a note from Nimitz to Potter in the margins. Nimitz's desire that his children write his biography, records in the custody of E.M. Eller.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 92 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 May 31

Nimitz's justification for replacing Theobald with Kinkaid.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 93 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1963 August 26
Box 1 Folder 10
No. 94 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1964 November 14
Box 1 Folder 10
No. 95 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1965 March 9
Box 1 Folder 10
No. 96 - From P. de Bausset to Chester W. Nimitz, 1965 April 19

Includes a note by Nimitz in the margins. Request that Nimitz write Paris Match article.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 97 - From E. B. Potter to Chester W. Nimitz, 1965 April 21

Regarding Paris Match article.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 98 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1965 April 24

Regarding Paris Match article, Nimitz's and staff's reaction to Battle of Midway news.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 99 - From E. B. Potter to P. de Bausset, 1965 April 27

Regarding Paris Match article

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 100 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1965 May 4

Regarding Paris Match article, Battle of Midway and Aleutian Islands.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 101 - From E. B. Potter to Admiral Eller, 1965 June 17

Regarding Paris Match article and Nimitz's policy on controversy.

Box 1 Folder 10
No. 102 - From Chester W. Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1965 October 11

Subseries 1b: Catherine Nimitz Correspondence, 1967-1979 Box 1

Subseries Description

Letters written by or about Chester Nimitz's widow, Catherine Nimitz. The letters contain remarks regarding Mrs. Nimitz's activities, personal interests, and family.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Catherine Nimitz Correspondence, 1967 February 22-1971 September 26 Items 103-108
Box 1 Folder 11
No. 103 - From Catherine Nimitz to David [Plank?], 1967 February 22

Feelings on the death of Chester Nimitz, Nimitz Field dedication.

Box 1 Folder 11
No. 104 - From Mrs. Robert H. Rice to E. B. Potter, 1969 March 6

Catherine Nimitz, author choice for Chester Nimitz biography.

Box 1 Folder 11
No. 105 - From Catherine Nimitz to Grace Potter, 1970 July 12
Box 1 Folder 11
No. 106 - From Catherine Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1970 August 29

Chester Nimitz's reluctance to write because he did not want to hurt people, regarding Battle of Midway and policy of silence.

Box 1 Folder 11
No. 107 - From Catherine Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1971 September 12

Regarding David Plank.

Box 1 Folder 11
No. 108 - From Catherine Nimitz to Grace Potter, 1971 September 26

Regarding David Plank.

Catherine Nimitz Correspondence, 1971 September 28-1979 March 16 Items 109-114
Box 1 Folder 12
No. 109 - From Catherine Nimitz to Admiral Calvert, 1971 September 28

Naming of Nimitz Library, setting up to Nimitz exhibit.

Box 1 Folder 12
No. 110 - From Catherine Nimitz to E. B. Potter, [1976] April 25

Disposition of Catherine Nimitz's diaries.

Box 1 Folder 12
No. 111 - From Catherine Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1976 August 11

Praise for Potter's book Nimitz.

Box 1 Folder 12
No. 112 - From Catherine Nimitz to E. B. Potter, 1977 April 8

Praise for Potter's book Nimitz.

Box 1 Folder 12
No. 113 - From Catherine Nimitz to E. B. Potter and Grace Potter, [1977]

Catherine Nimitz's pleasure in getting U.N. job.

Box 1 Folder 12
No. 114 - From Chester W. Nimitz, Jr. to E. B. Potter, 1979 March 16

Death of Catherine Nimitz.

Subseries 1c: Chester W. Nimitz Documents, 1950-1970 Box 1

Subseries Description

Documents and correspondence by or about Chester W. Nimitz, other than correspondence directly between Nimitz and Potter.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Chester W. Nimitz Documents, undated Items 115-116>
Box 1 Folder 13
No. 115 - "A Prayer for Restraint", undated

Includes an attached note by Nimitz.

Box 1 Folder 13
No. 116 - "An Address of Appreciation to the Honorable Admiral Nimitz", undated

Thanks for contribution to Togo Shrine Reconstruction Fund.

Chester W. Nimitz Documents, 1950-1970 Items 117-121>
Box 1 Folder 14
No. 117 - From Chester W. Nimitz to Master Sargent George E. Cozard, USMC, 1950 February 26-September 21

Nimitz's U.N. activities.

Box 1 Folder 14
No. 118 - From Chester W. Nimitz to Midshipman John Etheridge King, Jr., 1953 December 7

Nimitz's World War II decision-making regarding the Philippines-Formosa debate (information used for King's USNA term paper).

Box 1 Folder 14
No. 119 - From Chester W. Nimitz to Mr. Andrews (Prentice Hall), 1955 July 9

Praise for Potter's The United States and World Sea Power.

Box 1 Folder 14
No. 120 - Memorandum for File, 1957 May 1

Nimitz's unofficial visit to Congressman Carl Vinson advocating rank of Fleet Admiral for Raymond Spruance and Lieutenant General for Eisenhower upon completion of second term as President.

Box 1 Folder 14
No. 121 - From Samuel Eliot Morison to E. B. Potter, 1970 May 15

Unconfirmed anecdote regarding Chester Nimitz and MacArthur as candidates for commander-in-chief of the occupation of Japan.

Subseries 1d: Raymond A. Spruance Correspondence, 1956-1968 Box 1

Subseries Description

Letters written by Admiral Raymond A. Spruance to Elmer B. Potter. Many of the letters are concerned with the research for Potter's book Sea Power. According to Potter, the documents are "mostly explanations of his [Spruance's] operations and decisions in World War II. One aim was to induce Potter, as professor and writer, to concern himself with the unchanging principles of naval warfare rather than the mere tactical, which change with changes in weapons."

The subseries also includes several handwritten notes by Spruance, and one letter by Potter to Spruance.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Raymond A. Spruance Correspondence, 1956 March 3-1959 February 21 Items 122-126
Box 1 Folder 15
No. 122 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1956 March 3

Pre-World War II and World War II task force organization and type organization.

Box 1 Folder 15
No. 123 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1959 January 3

Patrol plane search prior to Battle of Philippine Sea.

Box 1 Folder 15
No. 124 - Raymond A. Spruance Notes, 1959 January 4

Notes made by Spruance for Potter "when reading the typescript of revised chapters 36 and 37 of The United States and Sea Power. Includes Potter's typescript of the notes.

Box 1 Folder 15
No. 125 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1959 February 4

Spruance's background and knowledge of war, Spruance as "cautious" leader, his experiences at USNA. Potter's detailed account of World War II and post-war changed in faculty and instruction at USNA. Includes Potter's February 13, 1959 reply to Spruance.

Box 1 Folder 15
No. 126 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1959 February 21

Spruance's background and knowledge of war, Spruance as "cautious" leader, his experiences at USNA. Potter's detailed account of World War II and post-war changed in faculty and instruction at USNA.

Raymond A. Spruance Correspondence, 1959 December 24-1960 November 18 Items 127-131
Box 1 Folder 16
No. 127 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1959 December 24

Oahu-Midway cable, regarding question of use of night recovery lights aboard U.S.S. Enterprise and U.S.S. Hornet, Task Force 16.

Box 1 Folder 16
No. 128 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1960 January 2

Aerial operations, use of lights on carriers.

Box 1 Folder 16
No. 129 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1960 March 28

Okinawa, Service Squadron 6, Task Force 58, planning of operations in war.

Box 1 Folder 16
No. 130 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1960 May 6

Okinawa, Task Force 58, damage repair, U.S.S. New Mexico.

Box 1 Folder 16
No. 131 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1960 November 18

Congratulations on publication of Sea Power.

Raymond A. Spruance Correspondence, 1961 December 25-1968 August 18 Items 132-135
Box 1 Folder 17
No. 132 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1961 December 25

CINCPAC's Op plan for Leyte.

Box 1 Folder 17
No. 133 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1964 December 1

Spruance's opinion/memories of Chester Nimitz, alternating command between Halsey and Spruance.

Box 1 Folder 17
No. 134 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1965 February 2

Question of Spruance, Halsey, and five star rank.

Box 1 Folder 17
No. 135 - Raymond A. Spruance to E. B. Potter, 1968 August 18

Spruance as "great admirer of Bill" Halsey.

Subseries 1e: Arleigh Burke Correspondence, 1943-1962 Box 1

Subseries Description

Correspondence and documents by and about Admiral Arleigh Burke and his World War II commands, primarily used by Potter in writing his book Admiral Arleigh Burke. The documents from 1943 through 1953 have been referred to by Potter as "Early Burke," with the documents from 1956 through 1962 referred to as "Middle Burke." The earliest documents in the subseries, consisting of two World War II memoranda and a battle plan, were given by Burke to Potter while Potter was first writing about the Solomon Islands Campaign. Also included in the subseries are pieces of correspondence between Potter and Arleigh Burke's commanding officer, Vice Admiral A. Stanton "Tip" Merrill.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence, 1943 May 7-August 1 Items 136-138
Box 1 Folder 18
No. 136 - From Commander Destroyer Division Forty-Three (AB) to Commander Task Force Nineteen (Merrill), 1943 May 7

Memo regarding the employment of destroyers.

Box 1 Folder 18
No. 137 - From Commander Destroyer Division Forty-Four to Destroyers of Task Force Thirty-One, 1943 July 22

Memo containing information and instructions for destroyer commanders..

Box 1 Folder 18
No. 138 - From Commander Destroyer Division Forty-Four. Battle Plan, 1943 August 1
Arleigh Burke Correspondence, 1953 January 28-March 14 Items 139-144
Box 1 Folder 19
No. 139 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1953 January 28

Arleigh Burke's philosophy as to what creates "superior naval officers," Burke's answers to Potter's World War II questions.

Box 1 Folder 19
No. 140 - From Merrill to E. B. Potter, 1953 February 3
Box 1 Folder 19
No. 141 - From Merrill to E. B. Potter, 1953 February 18

Merrill's earlier naval experiences, his World War II activities and opinions, Battle of Empress Augusta Bay.

Box 1 Folder 19
No. 142 - From Merrill to E. B. Potter, 1953 October 2
Box 1 Folder 19
No. 143 - From Merrill to E. B. Potter, 1953 October 21

Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, Japanese commander Omori, use of radar control in Kula Gulf night action.

Box 1 Folder 19
No. 144 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1953 March 14

Justification for Mitscher's selection of Burke.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence, 1956 February 19-1959 January 20 Items 145-148
Box 1 Folder 20
No. 145 - Correspondence Packet, 1956 February 19-27

Arleigh Burke's derivation of tactical patterns for battles of Vella Gulf, Cape St. George, and Empress Augusta Bay from land campaigns of Scipio Africanus.

Box 1 Folder 20
No. 146 - From ? to E. B. Potter, 1958 December 12

Task Force 58 naval actions of June 20, 1944. First page of letter only.

Box 1 Folder 20
No. 147 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1959 January 2

Task Force 58 naval actions of June 20, 1944 and Mitscher's decision.

Box 1 Folder 20
No. 148 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1959 January 20

Mitscher's decision.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence, 1959 April 8-1962 December 27 Items 149-152
Box 1 Folder 21
No. 149 - From E. B. Potter to Arleigh Burke, 1959 April 8

Burke's input regarding Potter's manuscript of The United States and World Sea Power.

Box 1 Folder 21
No. 150 - From Arleigh Burke to William S. Busik, 1962 March 14

Congratulations to Busik, Burke's retirement activities, and missing post as Chief of Naval Operations.

Box 1 Folder 21
No. 151 - From Arleigh Burke to David M. Abshire, 1962 June 19

Georgetown University Center for Strategic Studies.

Box 1 Folder 21
No. 152 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1962 December 27

Battle of the Philippine Sea. Includes Burke's list of "Positions Accepted Since Retirement."

Subseries 1f: Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1986-1990 Boxes 1-2

Subseries Description

Correspondence between Admiral Arleigh Burke and Elmer B. Potter, used by Potter as part of his research for his book Admiral Arleigh Burke. The correspondence, referred to by Potter as "Late Burke," consists primarily of Potter's research inquires and Burke's responses, with associated notes and enclosures. Due to Arleigh Burke's deteriorating vision, the letters in this subseries were dictated by Burke to his wife, Roberta "Bobbie" Burke, but bear Arleigh Burke's signature.

Filed at the end of the subseries are letters pertaining to the publication of Admiral Arleigh Burke and the Burkes' reception of it.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically, thereunder by chapter in E. B. Potter's Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1986 Items 153-159
Box 1 Folder 22
No. 153 - The Best of Burke, 1986

Pamphlet inscribed by Burke to Potter.

Box 1 Folder 22
No. 154 - Chapter 1 Packet, 1986 February 5

Arleigh Burke's early years and time at the Naval Academy.

Box 1 Folder 22
No. 155 - Chapter 2 Packet, 1986 August 11

Burke aboard U.S.S. Arizona.

Box 1 Folder 22
No. 156 - Chapter 3 Packet, 1986 September 8-October 9

Burke aboard U.S.S. Chester, Bureau's policy regarding young officers' duty on auxiliaries.

Box 1 Folder 22
No. 157 - Chapter 4 Packet, 1986 November6-11
Box 1 Folder 22
No. 158 - Mugford Story Packet, 1986 November 15

Burke aboard U.S.S. Mugford.

Box 1 Folder 22
No. 159 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1986 December 6
Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1987-1988 Items 160-169
Box 1 Folder 23
No. 160 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1987 January 4
Box 1 Folder 23
No. 161 - Chapter 5 and 6 Packet, 1987 January 30-February 14

Accuracy of U.S.S. Saufley anecdote, high speed night maneuvering, Admiral Merrill.

Box 1 Folder 23
No. 162 - Chapter 7 and 8 Packet, 1987 March 25

Numbering of fleets.

Box 1 Folder 23
No. 163 - U.S.S. Laws Reunion Packet, 1987 April 8-May 26

U.S.S. Laws Reunion, Burke's sentiments on destroyer men.

Box 1 Folder 23
No. 164 - From Roberta Burke to E. B. Potter, 1987 June 15
Box 1 Folder 23
No. 165 - Chapter 9, 1987 July 9
Box 1 Folder 23
No. 166 - Chapter 10, July 11

Concept that "all orders from a Command are orders from the Commander."

Box 1 Folder 23
No. 167 - Chapter 11 Packet, 1987 July 25-27

World War II senior officers well prepared, official vs. unofficial mail, morale impact of rescue of one man.

Box 1 Folder 23
No. 168 - Chapter 12 Packet, 1987 October 21-November 12

Potter's and Chester Nimitz's cordial relationship with post-war Japanese, Arleigh Burke - Mitscher relationship, World War II senior officers' bond of trust, duties of a chief of staff, Halsey and Mitscher.

Box 1 Folder 23
No. 169 - Chapter 13 Packet, 1987 December 8-1988 January 5

Mitscher's philosophy on striking non-military targets.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1988 Items 170-178
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 170 - Chapter 14 Packet, 1988 January 20

Arleigh Burke's poor memory.

Box 2 Folder 1
No. 171 - Chapter 15 Packet, 1988 February 23
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 172 - Chapter 16, 1988 March 22
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 173 - Chapter 17 Packet, 1988 April 19-20
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 174 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1988 April 27
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 175 - Chapter 18 Packet, 1988 June 19-July 4

Question of merged U.S. military services.

Box 2 Folder 1
No. 176 - Chapter 19 Packet, 1988 August 15
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 177 - Chapter 20 Packet, 1988 August 16
Box 2 Folder 1
No. 178 - Chapter ? Packet, 1988 August 28-November 1

Burke's participation on Boards.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1988-1989 Items 179-182
Box 2 Folder 2
No. 179 - Chapter 21 and 22 Packet, 1988 November 22-1989 January 31
Box 2 Folder 2
No. 180 - Chapter From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1989 February 2
Box 2 Folder 2
No. 181 - Chapter 23 and 24 Packet, 1989 March 23
Box 2 Folder 2
No. 182 - Final Chapter Packet, 1989 May 2-7

Includes excerpt from S.E. Smith interview with Mrs. Burke.

Arleigh Burke Correspondence (Chapter Files), 1989-1990 Items 183-184
Box 2 Folder 3
No. 183 - From Arleigh Burke to E. B. Potter, 1989 July 9-1990 April 29

7 letters regarding the publication of Admiral Arleigh Burke, an associated United States Naval Institute Proceedings articles, and the Burkes' pleasure in the book.

Box 2 Folder 3
No. 184 - From James H. Doyle, Jr to Arleigh Burke, 1990 October 2

Cover letter for July 31, 1990. Regarding Potter's book and Doyle's thanks for Potter's counsel.

Subseries 1g: Various Correspondents, 1946-1991 Box 2

Subseries Description

Letters and comments received by E. B. Potter from World War II military notables and others, such as Thomas C. Kinkaid, Douglas MacArthur, Samuel Eliot Morison, James B. Stockdale, Thomas R. Moorer, and Gerald R. Ford. The correspondence pertains to various World War II naval battles, Potter's publications, and Admirals Nimitz, Spruance, Burke, and Halsey. The subseries also includes Potter's appointment as an Associate Professor at the Naval Academy.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Various Correspondents, 1946-1960 Items 185-193
Box 2 Folder 4
No. 185 - From James Forrestal, SECNAV to E. B. Potter, 1946 March 25

Potter's appointment as Associate Professor at the Naval Academy.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 186 - From Chester Nimitz and Others, 1955 July 2-August 12

Thanks and praise for Potter's Sea Power. Photocopies of 10 letters.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 187 - From E. B. Potter to Ralph E. Wilson, 1958 August 15

Wilson's corrections of diagram of the Battle of Savo Island, August 9, 1942.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 188 - From James E. Maher to E. B. Potter, 1958 September 29

U.S.S. San Juan and the Battle of Savo Island, August 9, 1942. Includes diagram with Maher's corrections.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 189 - Fleet Admiral Halsey's Comments on Chapter 39 (The Battle for Leyte Gulf), 1959

Second page lost.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 190 - From Thomas C. Kinkaid to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 7

Kinkaid agrees to examine Potter's chapter on Battle for Leyte Gulf.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 191 - From Douglas MacArthur to E. B. Potter, 1959 July 28

MacArthur uncritical of Central Pacific operations, cooperation between Nimitz and MacArthur.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 192 - Excerpt from letter from Admiral Lemonnier, French Navy, to Admiral Kent Hewitt, 1960 January 27

Regarding Cepet Peninsula battery and its history, Operation Anvil-Dragon. Includes a note by Hewitt to Potter in the margins. Original letter dated January 27, 1960.

Box 2 Folder 4
No. 193 - Kinkaid's Notes, 1960 May 8

Notes and comments on Chapter 43 of Sea Power.

Various Correspondents, 1963-1982 Items 194-201
Box 2 Folder 5
No. 194 - From Samuel Eliot Morison to E. B. Potter, 1963 January 16

Regarding Admiral William Halsey.

Box 2 Folder 5
No. 195 - From Seizaburo Hoshino to E. B. Potter, 1967 September 10

Thanks for Potter's Sea Power.

Box 2 Folder 5
No. 196 - From Gordon W. Prange to E. B. Potter, 1972 September 16

Prange's impressions of Admirals Spruance and Nimitz upon meeting them.

Box 2 Folder 5
No. 197 - From J. William Middendorf II, SECNAV to E. B. Potter, 1975 May 9
Box 2 Folder 5
No. 198 - From Secretary of the Shah of Iran, 1976 August 20

Thanks for Potter's book.

Box 2 Folder 5
No. 199 - From James B. Stockdale to E. B. Potter, 1977 October 21

Thanks for Naval War College lecture.

Box 2 Folder 5
No. 200 - From Chester W. Nimitz, Jr. to E. B. Potter, 1982 April 16

Thanks for Potter's Sea Power.

Box 2 Folder 5
No. 201 - E. B. Potter's interview with J. Bryan III, 1982 November 10

Regarding Bryan's (Halsey biographer) acquaintance with William Halsey.

Various Correspondents, 1985-1991, undated Items 202-209
Box 2 Folder 6
No. 202 - From Walter Lord to E. B. Potter, 1985 June 24

Lord's offer to write comment for Potter's book Bull Halsey.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 203 - From John B. Connally to E. B. Potter, 1989 December 29

Reply to Potter's request to read and comment on Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 204 - From Thomas H. Moorer to E. B. Potter, 1990 January

Reply to Potter's request to read and comment on Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 205 - From Gerald R. Ford to E. B. Potter, 1990 January 5

Reply to Potter's request to read and comment on Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 206 - From J.G. Miller, United States Naval Institute Press, to E. B. Potter, 1990 January 9

Regarding Proceedings Arleigh Burke article.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 207 - From Gerald R. Ford to E. B. Potter, 1990 January 13

Thanks for Potter's book Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 208 - From William F. Halsey, III to E. B. Potter, 1991 October 30

Praise for Potter's book Bull Halsey, Bull Halsey's views on the Japanese.

Box 2 Folder 6
No. 209 - E. B. Potter's Notes, undated

Photocopies of explanatory notes and lists found within the collection.

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Series 2: Nimitz: A Biography (Draft), undated Boxes 2-3

Series Description

Typewritten draft of Nimitz, Potter's biography of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, published by the Naval Institute Press in 1976. The draft features Potter's handwritten annotations and corrections.

Series Arrangement

Arranged by chapter.

Box 2 Folder 7

Preface, undated

Box 2 Folder 8

Chapter I - The Appointment, undated

Box 2 Folder 9

Chapter II - The CINCPAC from Texas, undated

Box 2 Folder 10

Chapter III - Holding the Line, undated

Box 2 Folder 11

Chapter IV - Background of a Strategist, undated

Box 2 Folder 12

Chapter V - Confrontation in the Coral Sea, undated

Box 2 Folder 13

Chapter VI - Preparing to Defend Midway, undated

Box 2 Folder 14

Chapter VII - The Battle of Midway, undated

Box 2 Folder 15

Chapter VIII - Chester and Catherine, undated

Box 2 Folder 16

Chapter IX - The Rising Star, undated

Box 2 Folder 17

Chapter X - Tactician and Teacher, undated

Box 2 Folder 18

Chapter XI - The Rigel and the Augusta, undated

Box 2 Folder 19

Chapter XII - Flag Rank, undated

Box 2 Folder 20

Chapter XIII - Guadalcanal Invaded, undated

Box 2 Folder 21

Chapter XIV - Guadalcanal Recaptured, undated

Box 2 Folder 22

Chapter XV - CINCPAC and CINCPAC Staff, undated

Box 2 Folder 23

Chapter XVI - Launching the Central Pacific Drive, undated

Box 2 Folder 24

Chapter XVII - Galvanic and Flintlock, undated

Box 3 Folder 1

Chapter XVIII - The Leap to the Marianas, undated

Box 3 Folder 2

Chapter XIX - Of Generals, Admirals, and a President, undated

Box 3 Folder 3

Chapter XX - The Return to the Philippines, undated

Box 3 Folder 4

Chapter XXI - The Philippines Campaign and the Move to Guam, undated

Box 3 Folder 5

Chapter XXII - Iwo Jima and Okinawa, undated

Box 3 Folder 6

Chapter XXIII - Victory, undated

Box 3 Folder 7

Chapter XXIV - From CINCPAC to CNO, undated

Box 3 Folder 8

Chapter XXV - Chief of Naval Operations, undated

Box 3 Folder 9

Chapter XXVI - From the Navy Department to the United Nations, undated

Box 3 Folder 10

Chapter XXVII - Final Retirement, undated

Box 3 Folder 11

Appendices, undated

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Series 3: Photographs and Plaques, 1977-1991 Boxes 4-5 [OS]

Series Description

Plaques and inscribed photographs awarded to and given as gifts to Potter and his wife, Grace. The plaques in the series were largely given as service awards from the Naval Academy, Naval Institute, and Navy League. The photographs, all of U.S. Navy vessels, were given to Potter commemorating his visits aboard the respective ships.

Series Arrangement

Arranged by document type, thereunder alphabetically.

Box 4 Folder 1

Photograph - U.S.S. Halsey, 1986

Photograph inscribed by Captain Dennis R. Conley.

Box 5 [OS] Folder 1

Photographs, 1977-1991

Photographs of U.S.S. Nimitz inscribed by Captain Richard T. Gaskill, and of U.S.S. Arleigh Burke presented by the BIW Triangle Club and Navy League.

Box 5 [OS] Folder 2

Plaques - Naval Order of the United States, 1985

Awarded to Grace Potter.

Box 4 Folder 2

Plaques - Navy League Certificate of Merit, 1986

Box 4 Folder 3

Plaques - Navy League Maritime Seminar, 1978

Box 4 Folder 4

Plaques - United States Naval Academy, 1977-1983

Plaques from the Division of English and History, as well as the Chapel (awarded to Grace Potter).

Box 4 Folder 5

Plaques - United States Naval Institute Award of Merit, 1977

Box 5 [OS] Folder 3

Plaques - U.S.S. Nimitz, 1977

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