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Knight W. Wheeler Diaries, 1907-1915: Finding Aid

Published in June 2009

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 349
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Knight W. Wheeler Diaries
  • Dates: 1907-1915
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Wheeler, Knight W.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Knight W. Wheeler was an enlisted sailor in the United States Navy. The Wheeler Diaries span from March 12, 1907 until June 1, 1915, and are composed of first-hand accounts and related enclosures of Wheeler's service aboard U.S. Ships Hopkins, West Virginia, and Albatross, and at the Naval Recruiting Officer in Eugene, Oregon.

Biography of Knight W. Wheeler

Knight W. Wheeler, of Remsenberg, Long Island, New York, enlisted in the United States Navy in March 1907.

Following his enlistment, Wheeler served aboard U.S.S. Hopkins (Destroyer: DD-6) from 1907 to 1910, possibly as a member of the ship's engineering department. During this time period, the Hopkins was assigned to the Second Torpedo Flotilla, engaging in target practice and shadowing the Great White Fleet. In June 1910, Wheeler transferred from the Hopkins to U.S.S. West Virginia (Armored Cruiser No.5). On February 20, 1911, he was transferred again to U.S.S. Albatross (Steamer), a vessel assigned to the Bureau of Fisheries, U.S. Department of Commerce. During Wheeler's tour of duty, Albatross made two scientific voyages, to Lower California (Mexico) and Alaska.

On April 18, 1913, Wheeler was detached from the Albatross and ordered to duty at Naval Station, Portland, Oregon. Wheeler's last known assignment was a two year tour of duty (1913-1915) at the Recruiting Office, Eugene, Oregon.

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Description of Contents

The Knight W. Wheeler Diaries, comprising 0.42 linear feet of documentation in three volumes and accompanying enclosures, span from March 12, 1907 until June 1, 1915. The diaries are composed of first-hand accounts and related enclosures of Wheeler's service aboard U.S. Ships Hopkins, West Virginia, and Albatross, and at the Naval Recruiting Office in Eugene, Oregon.

In addition to Wheeler's hand-written entries, the three diaries also include news clippings, post cards, event programs, and photographs.

The first diary, entitled "Log," is entirely the product of Wheeler's service aboard U.S.S. Hopkins, from March 12, 1907 until October 14, 1908. Throughout most of this period, the Hopkins, along with the rest of the Second Torpedo Flotilla, was shadowing the Great White Fleet. Included in the diary are descriptions of various American and South American ports of call, target practice, and numerous details pertaining to the ship's engineering and engine performance. Beginning from the back cover of the diary is a 17 leaf section detailing gun accidents in the U.S. Navy, Naval coaling stations, annual naval maintenance costs, Maori and Australian natives, and Wheeler's August 1908 leave in Yosemite.

The second diary, entitled "Second Log," is the product of Wheeler's service aboard the U.S. Ships Hopkins, West Virginia and Albatross, from October 15, 1908 to April 15, 1911. Much like the corresponding entries in his previous volume, the entries from Wheeler's time aboard Hopkins focus on mechanical issues and target practice, as well as the conditions of other vessels in the Torpedo Flotilla. The majority of the entries from the West Virginia come in the form of pre-printed postcards entitled "Daily Log of the U.S.S. West Virginia." Entries from the Albatross, which was serving for the Bureau of Fisheries, U.S. Department of Commerce, deal not only with ports of call and mechanical issues, but also discussion of specimens retrieved by dredging and from shore expeditions.

The third diary, entitled "Log No. 3," is the product of Wheeler's service aboard U.S.S. Albatross, engaged at that time in a halibut survey off the Alaskan coast, and ashore at the Portland Naval Station and the Naval Recruiting Office at Eugene, Oregon, from April 16, 1911 to June 1, 1915. Entries from this period focus on ports of call, scientific specimens brought aboard, and Alaskan geography and society. Following his transfer to Oregon, Wheeler's diary is dominated by news clippings on various current events. Following the clippings of August 1914, the diary also includes notes on the U. S. Navy, such as listings of the ships and their fleets, shore installations, and divisions of the Navy.

Research interests served by the Wheeler Diaries include the study of early destroyers (especially safety and mechanical issues), U.S. Naval interactions with Central America and the islands of the South Pacific, and early twentieth century scientific exploration.

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Detached materials, such as news clippings, postcards, and photographs, have been removed from the volumes and re-housed in chronological order according to their corresponding diary entries, and filed after their respective volume.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Knight W. Wheeler Diaries 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 September 1999. Accession No. 99-86.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to the Great White Fleet can be found in Theodore W. Richards' Great White Fleet Scrapbook, MS 219 in the Special Collections & Archives Department, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Knight W. Wheeler Diaries, MS 349

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in June 2009. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in June 2009.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Albatross (Steamer)
  • Destroyers (Warships) -- United States
  • Hopkins (Destroyer : DD-6)
  • Scientific expeditions
  • United States. Navy -- Cruise, 1907-1909
  • Wheeler, Knight W.

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Log, 1907 March 12-1908 October 15

Aboard U.S.S. Hopkins. Includes entries pertaining to the Japanese Tsukuba class cruisers (October 19, 1907), a boiler tube explosion (December 13, 1907), Trinidad (December 1907), Buenos Ayres (January 26, 1908), the Straits of Magellan and local natives (February 8, 1908), Honolulu and Mark Twain's remarks on Hawaii (August-September, 1908), and Samoa and Samoan natives (including photographs of natives, September 1908).

Box 1 Folder 2

Log (Loose Items) - San Pedro Postcard, undated

Originally located between pages 40 and 41.

Box 1 Folder 3

Log (Loose Items)- Map of Magellan Strait News Clipping, undated

Originally located between pages 44 and 45.

Box 1 Folder 4

Log (Loose Items) - Itinerary of Trip of Enlisted Men of the Second Torpedo Flotilla, 1908 March 20

Originally located with diary entries for March 7 through March 15, 1908.

Box 1 Folder 5

Log (Loose Items) - "Program of Reception to Atlantic Fleet..., 1908 May

Originally located with diary entries for May 6 through May 10, 1908.

Box 1 Folder 6

Log (Loose Items) - News Clippings, 1908 March-April

Originally located with diary entries for May 31 - June 2, 1908, pertaining to flotilla's arrival in Magdalena Bay.

Box 1 Folder 7

Log (Loose Items) - News Clipping, undated

Originally located with diary entries for August 28-September 2, 1908, pertaining to a Samoan volcano.

Box 1 Folder 8

Log (Loose Items) - Plumage from Tomb of Hawaiian Princess, undated

Originally located inside back cover.

Box 1 Folder 9

Second Log, 1908 October 15-1911 April 15

Aboard U.S. Ships Hopkins, West Virginia, and Albatross. Includes entries pertaining to San Diego (December 1908), fatal boiler explosions aboard Hopkins (June 30, 1909 and February 14, 1910), Somoan society (after July 22, 1909), Alaska (July 28 - August 5, 1909), discovery of endangered elephant seals (March 2, 1911), and various Mexican ports (March - April 1911). Also included is a poem entitled "Inside of a Thousand Yard" by Alfred E. Bennett (after entry of January 29, 1909).

Box 1 Folder 10

Second Log (Loose Items) - Lamolle House Hotel Brochure and Road Map, 1909 October

Originally located with diary entries for October 19 - November 8, 1909.

Box 1 Folder 11

Second Log (Loose Items) - "Daily Log of the U.S.S. West Virginia" Postcard, 1910 November 15-21

Used in place of diary entries for November 15-21, 1910.

Box 1 Folder 12

Second Log (Loose Items) - Christmas Dinner Menu, 1910 December 25

Box 1 Folder 13

Log No. 3, 1911 April 16-1915 June 1

Aboard U.S.S. Albatross and at Portland and Eugene, Oregon. Includes entries pertaining to various Mexican ports of call (April 16-20, 1911), halibut survey and various Alaskan ports of call (May 25-August 29, 1911), Alaskan geography and society (after August 22, 1911), detachment from Albatross (April 18, 1913), and organization of the Navy (after August 1915). Includes news clippings on the Panama Canal (October 1913), diesel marine propulsion (April 1914), and the eruption of Lassen Peak (July 1914).

Box 1 Folder 14

Log No. 3 (Loose Items) - News Clippings, undated

Originally located with diary entries for June 3-June 25, 1911.

Box 1 Folder 15

Log No. 3 (Loose Items) - News Clippings, 1915 April 24, undated

Originally located after the final diary entry for June 1, 1915.

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