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William Patrick Keeshan Papers, 1914-1941: Finding Aid

Published in February 2014

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 383
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: William Patrick Keeshan Papers
  • Dates: 1914-1941
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Keeshan, William Patrick, 1899-
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: William Patrick Keeshan was a printer in the United States Navy. The Keeshan Papers span from 1914 through 1941. The papers are the product of Keeshan's career in the United States Navy, and much of the printed ephemera and ships' newspapers were presumably produced by Keeshan in his role as ship's printer aboard U.S.S. Pennsylvania, U.S.S. Arizona, U.S.S. New Mexico, U.S.S. Pittsburgh, and U.S.S. Texas.

Biography of William Patrick Keeshan

A native of New York City, William Patrick Keeshan served as a printer in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted as an apprentice seaman on April 22, 1919 at the age of twenty. He completed linotype school in San Francisco and was a chief printer by 1927. Keeshan's first sea duty was likely aboard U.S.S. Pennsylvania (Battleship: BB-38) in 1920. Around 1921, he joined the crew of U.S.S. Arizona (Battleship: BB-39). Although he was temporarily detailed to U.S.S. New Mexico (Battleship: BB-40 in 1923 to stand up her print shop, Keeshan remained with the Arizona until some time in 1926. Later that year, he was attached to Asiatic Fleet flagship U.S.S. Pittsburgh (Armored cruiser: ACR-4). Remaining aboard U.S.S. Pittsburgh until at least 1929, Keeshan also served temporarily aboard U.S.S. Black Hawk (Destroyer tender: AD-9), with which ship he crossed the equator in 1927. He later served aboard U.S.S. New York (Battleship: BB-34) and, at some point in 1933, joined U.S.S. Texas (Battleship: BB-35) where he served on the staff of Commander Battleship Division One. On October 15, 1935 he was transferred to the Fleet Naval Reserve.

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Description of Contents

The William Patrick Keeshan Papers, comprising 0.42 linear feet of documentation, span from 1914 through 1941. The papers are the product of Keeshan's career in the United States Navy, and much of the printed ephemera and ships' newspapers were presumably produced by Keeshan in his role as ship's printer aboard U.S.S. Pennsylvania, U.S.S. Arizona, U.S.S. New Mexico, U.S.S. Pittsburgh, and U.S.S. Texas.

Included in the collection are event programs, invitations, menus, dance cards, ships' newspapers, newspaper clippings, certificates, identification cards, postcards, photographs, and photographic negatives.

The Keeshan Papers are organized into two series by document type. Series 1: Papers and Ephemera, consists of the various documents produced by the ships' print shops to which Keeshan was detailed throughout his career, as well as samples from various other ships. The series also includes documentation pertaining to Keeshan's enlistments and discharges from the United States Navy. Series 2: Photographs and Postcards, consists of postcard views of several Asian countries and the Panama Canal, as well as photographs and negatives depicting ships' crews and shipboard life from throughout Keeshan's career.

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The William Patrick Keeshan Papers are organized into the following two series:

  • Series 1: Papers and Ephemera, 1914-1941
  • Series 2: Photographs and Postcards, 1918-1934
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The William Patrick Keeshan 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 Keeshan Papers were originally purchased by Senior Construction Battalion Chief Nerl Reinhart in Alameda, California.

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Vincent J. Vlach in February 1990. Accession No. 90-12.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

William Patrick Keeshan's Navy personnel record may be available from the National Personnel Records Center.

Materials Cataloged Separately

A photo album of Keeshan's cruise aboard U.S.S. Pittsburgh from 1926 to 1929 was been removed and cataloged as Photo Album 75.

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Processing and Other Information

The ships' newspapers and ephemera in the Keeshan Papers were previously processed as part of the Special Collections Vertical File, filed under each individual vessel.

The photographs and postcards in the Keeshan Papers were previously processed as part of the Special Collections Transitional Picture File.

Preferred Citation

William Patrick Keeshan Papers, MS 383

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jennifer A. Bryan with additional processing by David D'Onofrio in February 2014 and February 2020. Finding aid written by Jennifer A. Bryan.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Arizona (Battleship : BB-39)
  • Black Hawk (Destroyer tender : AD-9)
  • Keeshan, William Patrick, 1899-
  • Military discharge -- United States
  • Naval ceremonies, honors, and salutes
  • New Mexico (Battleship : BB-40)
  • Panama Canal (Panama)
  • Pittsburgh (Armored cruiser No. 4)
  • Shellbacks
  • Texas (Battleship : BB-35)
  • United States. Navy -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc
  • United States. Navy -- Sea life

Genre Terms

  • Certificates
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Printed ephemera
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Contents List

Series 1: Papers and Ephemera, 1914-1941 Box 1

Series Description

The series consists of ephemera and other documents related to Keeshan’s service as a printer in the Navy. The documents include discharge certificates, identity cards, newspaper clippings, and papers relating to the crossing the line ceremony. The ephemera includes menus, programs, and invitations, as well as ships' newspapers from U.S.S. Arizona (Battleship: BB-39), U.S.S. New Mexico (Battleship: BB-40), U.S.S. Pennsylvania (Battleship: BB-38), U.S.S. Texas (Battleship: BB-35), and U.S.S. Pittsburgh (ACR-4), flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, as well as several other U.S. Navy and British Navy vessels. Two of the discharge certificates are photocopies. There is also one paper sheet used as a journal that runs from January 4 to January 24; there is no year, but it probably dates from 1921, when Keeshan was serving aboard U.S.S. Arizona.

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by duty station, topic, and document type.

Box 1 Folder 1

Appointment and Discharge Certificates, 1926-1935

Box 1 Folder 2

U.S.S. Arizona - Crossing the Line Ceremony, 1921

Roster and subpoena.

Box 1 Folder 3

U.S.S. Arizona - Event Programs and Menus, 1921-1925

Includes programs and dance cards for Annual Balls, boxing tournaments, and an Engineering Department Happy Hour, as well as menus for Christmas and July 4th. Also includes a souvenir pamphlet from the Knights of Columbus Panama Council 1371.

Box 1 Folder 4

U.S.S. Arizona - Invitations, 1921-1925

Includes invitations to the ship's dances, Annual Ball, and reception for the Presidential Commission to Peru. Also included is a Christmas greeting from Commander Battleship Division One.

Box 1 Folder 5

U.S.S. Arizona - Newspaper Clippings, 1924-1941, undated

Includes articles memorializing Arizona's sinking, including several by columnist Nick Kenny.

Box 1 Folder 6

U.S.S. Arizona - Orders, 1923

Orders regarding Keeshan's temporary additional duty in the print shop aboard U.S.S. New Mexico.

Box 1 Folder 7

H.M.S. Bellerophon - Event Program, 1917

Box 1 Folder 8

U.S.S. Black Hawk - Crossing the Line Ceremony, 1927

Certificates and subpoena.

Box 1 Folder 9

U.S.S. Delaware - Event Programs, 1914-1918

Programs for crew night and vaudeville/minstrel shows.

Box 1 Folder 10

Identification Cards, 1933, undated

Keeshan's identification cards for U.S.S. New York, U.S.S. Black Hawk, and the U.S. Navy Recruiting Bureau.

Box 1 Folder 11

Miscellaneous Ephemera, undated

Unidentified event program, a laundry trade card from Tsingtao, and a map of the Central District of Lima, Peru.

Box 1 Folder 12

U.S.S. New Jersey - Event Program, 1916

Program for "Follies of 1916."

Box 1 Folder 13

U.S.S. New Mexico - Dance Card, 1923

Dance card for anniversary dance.

Box 1 Folder 14

U.S.S. New Mexico - Ship's Newspaper, 1924

Two issues of The New Mexico Harpoon.

Box 1 Folder 15

U.S.S. New York - Ship's Newspaper, 1932

Christmas and New Year issues of The Knickerbocker.

Box 1 Folder 16

U.S.S. Pennsylvania - Event Programs and Menus, 1918-1919

July 4th menu and a program/pamphlet from transporting President Woodrow Wilson to Brest France in December 1918.

Box 1 Folder 17

U.S.S. Pennsylvania - Ship's Newspaper, 1920-1921

Issues 1-21 of The Searchlight.

Box 1 Folder 18

Personal Log, undated

Single sheet log of cruise from New York to and into the Panama Canal, likely kept while attached to U.S.S. Arizona.

Box 1 Folder 19

U.S.S. Pittsburgh - Event Programs and Menus, 1928

Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, as well as a program for a garden party in Yokohama's Nogeyama Park.

Box 1 Folder 20

U.S.S. Pittsburgh - Invitations, 1928, undated

Invitations to welcome events in Tokyo and a reception held by Admiral Mark L. Bristol, as well as a special ticket for the Yokohama Municipal Tramcar in honor of the Grand Naval Review.

Box 1 Folder 21

U.S.S. Pittsburgh -Newspaper Clippings, 1928

Clipping featuring a photograph of a water spout off the ship's bow.

Box 1 Folder 22

U.S.S. Pittsburgh -Ship's Newspaper, 1928

Two issues of The Rambler.

Box 1 Folder 23

Poems, undated

Includes a copy of "The Face Upon the Floor," inscribed by Hugh Antoine d'Arcy.

Box 1 Folder 24

H.M.S. Repulse - Event Program, undated

Concert party program.

Box 1 Folder 25

U.S.S. Saratoga -Ship's Newspaper, 1929

One issue of Plane Talk.

Box 1 Folder 26

U.S.S. Texas -Roster of Officers, 1934 November

Box 1 Folder 27

U.S.S. Texas -Ship's Newspaper, 1933-1935

Two issues of The Texas Steer.

Box 1 Folder 28

The United States Fleet, 1925

Photograph booklet by B. McK. Edwards.

Box 1 Folder 29

United States Navy - Miscellaneous, 1934-1941, undated

Memo on discrimination against service members in California, uniform price list from the Brooklyn Naval Clothing Depot, a Christmas card from the Commander-in-Chief United States Fleet, and a copy of "U.S. Navy: What it Costs to Quit."

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Series 2: Photographs and Postcards, 1918-1934 Box 1

Series Description

The photographs, consisting of both prints and negatives, include portraits of Keeshan, group portraits, and other photographs depicting Keeshan's service and life in the Navy. Groups depicted in the portraits include the flag staff of U.S.S. Texas (Battleship : BB-35), a ship's crew in Peterongan, Java, and various smaller groups of Keeshan's shipmates. Among the action shots are photographs and negatives of a U.S. Navy vessel traversing the Panama Canal, and images of shipboard life and activities, such as swabbing the deck and dancing. Also among the photographs is an image of U.S.S. Black Hawk (AD-9).

The postcards in consist largely of views of various cities throughout Asia, including locations in China, Japan, and Indonesia. Other postcards depict U.S. Navy battleships transiting the Panama Canal and engaging in target practice.

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Box 1 Folder 30

Aircraft - Flying Boat, undated

Flying boat on public display with banner regarding Navy War Pay.

Box 1 Folder 31

Places - China, undated

Box 1 Folder 32

Places - China (Hong Kong), undated

Postcard views of the waterfront, street scenes, Victoria Peak, the Peak Tram, and locals.

Box 1 Folder 33

Places - Indonesia, undated

Primarily postcard views of Surabaya.

Box 1 Folder 34

Places - Japan, 1923 (approximate)

Twenty numbered postcard views, possibly depicting damage from the Great Kanto Earthquake.

Box 1 Folder 35

Places - Japan (Yokohama), undated

Postcard views of street scenes, buildings, and locals.

Box 1 Folder 36

Places - Korea, undated

Postcard views of a World's Fair pavilion, possibly from the 1922 Tokyo Peace Exhibition.

Box 1 Folder 37

Places - Singapore, undated

Postcard views of street scenes, plantations, and a tiger hunt.

Box 1 Folder 38

Places - Vietnam (Saigon), undated

Box 1 Folder 39

Places - Unidentified, undated

Box 1 Folder 40

Portraits - Passionist Congregation, undated

Aerial view of an unidentified harbor and airfield.

Box 1 Folder 41

Portraits - U.S.S. Texas Flag Personnel, 1934

Includes a portrait of Admiral Thomas Tingey Craven and his Battleship Division 1 staff.

Box 1 Folder 42

Portraits - Unidentified, 1927, undated

Group portrait of officers and men of an unidentified shore establishment, as well as a portrait taken in Peterongan, Java, possibly of crew members of U.S.S. Pittsburgh.

Box 1 Folder 43

Portraits and Snapshots, 1921 (approximate), undated

Photographs of Keeshan and shipmates, including a portrait of a U.S.S. Arizona repair crew and postcard of shipmates from U.S.S. Arizona in Tijuana.

Box 1 Folder 44

Portraits and Snapshots (Negatives), undated

Negatives of Keeshan and shipmates, including shots from transiting the Panama Canal.

Box 1 Folder 45

Ships - U.S.S. Arizona, 1921, undated

Postcard views of Arizona in the Panama Canal.

Box 1 Folder 46

Ships - U.S.S. Black Hawk, 1927 (approximate)

Photograph signed by several of Keeshan's shipmates.

Box 1 Folder 47

Ships - Honda Point Disaster, 1923

Box 1 Folder 48

Ships - U.S.S. New Mexico, undated

Postcard view of New Mexico in the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks.

Box 1 Folder 49

Ships - U.S.S. Pittsburgh, 1928, undated

Includes a picture of water spout off the ship's bow near Wusong.

Box 1 Folder 50

Ships - U.S.S. Recruit, 1918 (approximate)

Recruiting mockup in Union Square, New York City.

Box 1 Folder 51

Ships - U.S.S. Saratoga, undated

Photograph used in the masthead of the ship's newspaper.

Box 1 Folder 52

Ships - Target Practice, undated

Includes images of U.S.S. Nevada and U.S.S. Pennsylvania, as well as a target sled.

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