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Naval Mine Notebook, 1941-1953: Finding Aid

Published in November 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 401
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Naval Mine Notebook
  • Dates: 1941-1953
  • Size: 1.5 linear inches (1 box)
  • Creator: Stearns, Malcolm Jr., b. 1917
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Malcolm Stearns, Jr. was an officer in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II. Stearns' Naval Mine Notebook and its enclosures span from 1941 until 1944, with several entries from 1953. The notebook details allied and enemy naval mine design, as well as minelaying and minesweeping operations during World War II.

Biography of Malcolm Stearns, Jr.

Malcolm Stearns, Jr., born in October 1917, was an officer in the United States Naval Reserve who served during World War II. Classified as a Deck Officer, Stearns attended Naval Mine Warfare School at Yorktown, Virginia in 1942, and probably served aboard a minesweeper in the Atlantic Theatre.

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Description of Contents

Malcolm Stearns' Naval Mine Notebook and its enclosures, comprising 1.25 linear inches of documentation, span from 1941 until 1944, with several entries from 1953. The notebook details allied and enemy naval mine design, as well as minelaying and minesweeping operations during World War II.

In addition to the notebook, the collection includes loose handwritten notes, typescripts, press clippings, identification cards, visiting cards, and photographs.

The notebook itself, consisting largely of tabular data, addresses numerous aspects of naval mine technology and activities during World War II. Information pertaining directly to the mines themselves includes descriptions and specifications of American, British, German, Japanese, and Russian mines, often including specifications for both contact and influence mines, with some data dating back as far as 1852. Several descriptions also include illustrations, such as a circuit diagram for an oboe mine. Significant portions of the notebook are also devoted to acoustical mine detecting equipment (parallel pipes and hammer boxes), including British requirements for acoustic gear, acoustic gear specifications, octave analyses for parallel pipes and hammer boxes, diagrams of parallel pipes and hammer boxes, and horsepower loss due to the use of parallel pipes. Much of the remainder of the notebook is devoted to minesweeping, with entries on minesweeping reports, British minesweeping formations, a summary of British minesweeping from July 29 until august 5, 1945, and German "Sperrbrecher" minesweepers. The notebook also includes information on German mining activity in World War I, and German mining operations off of U.S. coastal waters around Cape Henry, Virginia, Cape May, New Jersey, Charleston, South Carolina, and the St. John's Lightship off of Florida.

The enclosures, originally housed in pockets inside the back cover of the notebook, include additional notes, typescripts, and press clippings on mining operations, German mine development, and British minesweeping on the River Humber, as well as Stearns' identification cards and photograph.

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The notebook's enclosures, originally housed in pockets inside the back cover of the notebook, have been removed from the notebook and arranged alphabetically by document type.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Naval Mine Notebook is 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 January 2004. Accession No. 04-01.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to submarine mines and torpedoes can be found in the Chester L. Somers Submarine Collection in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Naval Mine Notebook, MS 401

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

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

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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

  • Mines (Military explosives)
  • Submarine Mines
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations -- Submarine

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Naval Mine Notebook, 1942-1953

Box 1 Folder 2

Enclosures - "Enemy (German) Mining Development" , undated

Box 1 Folder 3

Enclosures - "Excerpts from a Report Made by an English Minesweeping Captain Covering Enemy Mining Operations of the River Humber", 1941

Box 1 Folder 4

Enclosures - Identification Cards, 1942

Identification cards for the New York Navy Yard and Naval Mine Warfare School.

Box 1 Folder 5

Enclosures - Notes (Handwritten), 1944, undated

Includes mine specifications, minesweeping operations of August 194?, minesweeping operations off Berry Head, England of May-August 194?, and excerpts from "the G.A.F. at the Invasion of Norway" 1944.

Box 1 Folder 6

Enclosures - Photographs, undated

Includes one portrait of Stearns, and one other photograph, possibly of Stearns' family members.

Box 1 Folder 7

Enclosures - Press Clippings, undated

Includes an article on enemy mining operations off of the east coast of the U.S., and a poem entitled "High Flight" by Pilot Officer John G. Magee, Jr.

Box 1 Folder 8

Enclosures - Visiting Cards, undated

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