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Nimitz Library

Philip R. Osborn Papers, 1918-1998: Finding Aid

Published in June 2017

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 446
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Philip R. Osborn Papers
  • Dates: 1918-1998
  • Size: 1.5 linear feet (3 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box)
  • Creator: Osborn, Philip R., 1906-1998
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Philip R. Osborn was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1929. The Philip R. Osborn Papers, comprising 1.5 linear feet of documentation, span from 1918 to 1998. The papers focus primarily on Osborn's service and instruction aboard the battleship U.S.S. Colorado, as well as his scrapbooking activities spanning from World War I through the first Project Mercury flight and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Biography of Philip R. Osborn

Philip Ransom Osborn was born on December 10, 1906 in Holton, Kansas. Having grown up in Kansas City, Missouri, Osborn enlisted in the Navy in 1924 before receiving an at-large appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1925. After graduating from the Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1929, Osborn spent the next five years attached to U.S.S. Colorado (Battleship: BB-45) and U.S.S. Decatur (Destroyer: DD-341), with one year of additional duty with the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933-1934. In 1936, he returned to Annapolis for his first tour at the Naval Academy as an instructor in the Department of English and History.

Osborn returned to sea in 1938 with the Asiatic Fleet, supporting the submarine fleet aboard U.S.S. Canopus (Submarine tender: AS-9), serving on the Yangtze Patrol aboard U.S.S. Guam (Gunboat: PG-43), and serving aboard the flagship U.S.S. Augusta (Heavy cruiser: CA-31). In 1942, Osborn was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet, where he assumed command of U.S.S. Borie (Destroyer: DD-215), which was engaged in convoy and anti-submarine warfare operations. Detached in 1943, Osborn returned to the Naval Academy for a second tour as an instructor in Engineering and executive officer of the Department of English and History. Following the conclusion of World War II, Osborn was assigned to duty in Germany as Operations Officer, U.S. Naval Forces Germany and as Officer-in-charge of ex-Kriegsmarine Administration at Bremerhaven. He returned to sea duty as commanding officer of U.S.S. Salamonie (Oiler: AO-26) in 1948.

At the opening of the Korean War, Osborn was serving as Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics, Commander Eastern Sea Frontier, after which he assumed command of U.S.S. Okanogan (Attack transport: APA-220) in 1952. A year later, he was appointed Naval Advisor to the Republic of Korea. In 1954, Osborn assumed his final command as Commander Destroyer Squadron Three in the Pacific and Far East.

Following his retirement from the Navy on July 1, 1959 with the rank of captain, Osborn moved to Blairstown, New Jersey, where he taught mathematics and coached fencing at Blair Academy. In 1963, Osborn retired to Annapolis, Maryland with his wife, Caryl Osborn, where he resided until his death on June 19, 1998.

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Description of Contents

The Philip R. Osborn Papers, comprising 1.5 linear feet of documentation, span from 1918 to 1998. The papers focus primarily on Osborn's service and instruction aboard the battleship U.S.S. Colorado, as well as his scrapbooking activities spanning from World War I through the first Project Mercury flight and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The collection consists primarily of notebooks, ships' newspapers, handbooks, monographs, and scrapbooks, which are themselves composed primarily of newspaper clippings.

The Osborn Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type into a single series. Roughly one third of the collection is the product of Osborn's early career aboard the battleship U.S.S. Colorado. In addition to documenting everyday occurrences aboard the ship through Osborn's photograph album and copies of the ship's newspaper, The Colorado Lookout, the materials focus on Osborn's continuing education in engineering, navigation, and the general administration of shipboard operations through a series of notebooks. Much of the remaining two thirds of the collection consists of Osborn's six chronologically arranged newspaper clipping scrapbooks. The first scrapbook focuses entirely on World War I and the Washington Naval Conference. The second scrapbook, compiled while Osborn was a midshipman at the Naval Academy, covers Naval Academy athletics, John Rodgers' flight of the PN-9 No. 1 seaplane, and methods of torture. The third scrapbook, which straddles Osborn's time as a midshipman and assignment to U.S.S. Colorado, covers the Class of 1929's graduation, the composition of the U.S. Navy's fleets, and the evolution of the interwar German Navy. The fourth scrapbook focuses heavily on the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and Nazi Germany's increasing aggression in Europe, while the fifth and sixth albums focus on World War II, primarily in the European Theater. The sixth scrapbook also touches upon tensions in post-war Berlin, the Space Race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the reunification of Germany.

Much of the remainder of the collection, consisting of a notebook, a reunion book, and copies of Reef Points, pertains to Osborn's experiences as a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1929.

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Arrangement

The Philip R. Osborn Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Philip R. Osborn 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

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Katherine Goldsby in October 1999. Accession No. 99-89.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Philip R. Osborn's U.S. Navy career, particularly his time as Operations Officer, U.S. Naval Forces Germany and as Officer-in-charge of ex-Kriegsmarine Administration at Bremerhaven, is available in the Papers of Philip R. Osborn at the Operational Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command.

Additional material pertaining to Philip R. Osborn's time as a midshipman and career in the U.S. Navy can be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket (restricted until 2021) and Alumni Jacket, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Philip R. Osborn Papers, MS 446

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in June 2017. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in June 2017.

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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

  • Borie (Destroyer : DD-215)
  • Colorado (Battleship : BB-45)
  • Italo-Ethiopian War, 1935-1936
  • Osborn, Philip R., 1906-1998
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1929
  • United States. Navy -- Officers -- Training of
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • World War, 1939-1945

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Handbooks
  • Manuscripts
  • Monographs
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Notebook - 2nd Class Cruise Notes (Engineering), 1926-1927

Notes and sketches on engines and boilers. Also includes sketches of naval vessels and women.

Box 1 Folder 2

Notebook - U.S.S. Colorado (Engineering Note Book), 1930-1931

Notes and sketches on the ship's turbines, boilers, generators, water systems, batteries, and condensers.

Box 1 Folder 3

Notebook - U.S.S. Colorado (Journal), 1929-1931

Notes on signals, vessel preservation, record keeping, fuel, compartment numbering, gunnery, radio communications, and military law.

Box 1 Folder 4

Notebook - U.S.S. Colorado (Navigation Note Book), 1929-1940

Includes navigation material from U.S.S. Augusta.

Box 1 Folder 5

Photograph Album, 1928-1940

Photographs of U.S.S. Colorado, Bremerton Navy Yard, Osborn's family, Hong Kong, Manila, and forms of Chinese torture.

Box 1 Folder 6

Publications - The Colorado Lookout, 1924-1931

Ship's paper from U.S.S. Colorado.

Box 2 Folder 1

Publications - The Colorado Lookout, 1931-1932

Includes several photographs tipped in.

Box 2 Folder 2

Publications - Reef Points, 1925-1936

1925-1926 edition annotated by Osborn.

Box 2 Folder 3

Publications - Sailors Journey into War by Robert A. Maher and James E. Wise, Jr., 1998

Account of the battle between U.S.S. Borie and U-405. Inscribed to Osborn by Robert A. Maher.

Box 2 Folder 4

Publications - Sea Dust by H. M. Sylvester, 1922

Pocket dictionary of naval terms.

Box 2 Folder 5

Publications - Silver Anniversary of the Class of 1929, 1954

Class of 1929 reunion book.

Box 2 Folder 6

Scrapbook, 1918-1980

World War I and the Washington Naval Conference.

Box 3 Folder 1

Scrapbook, 1925-1927

PN-9 No. 1 seaplane, Navy athletics, historic torture methods, battleship modernization, and burlesque girls.

Box 3 Folder 2

Scrapbook, 1927-1936

Log's "Professional Notes," Class of 1929's graduation, Osborn's wedding, cruiser construction, the interwar German Navy, ships of the U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Colorado, and poetry.

Box 3 Folder 3

Scrapbook, 1935-1938, 1967-1975

The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, Hitler's remilitarization of the Rhineland, the coronation and abdication of England's King Edward VIII, the Hindenburg disaster, German bombardment of Almeria, the Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Nanking, the sinking of U.S.S. Panay, and Hitler's annexation of Austria.

Box 3 Folder 4

Scrapbook, 1939-1940

Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland and invasions of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, and Belgium. American and British war preparations, Soviet invasion of Finland, and the scuttling of the Graf Spee.

Box 4 Folder 1

Scrapbook, 1941-1994

Battle of Britain, the Lend-Lease program, the Atlantic Charter, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese seizure of Manila, the loss of U.S.S. Borie, V-2 rockets, the deaths of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler, the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, anti-communist riots in East Berlin, the space flights of Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and German reunification.

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