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William O. Field Collection, 1890-1955 (bulk 1890-1920): Finding Aid

Published in July 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
  • Call number: MS 451
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: William O. Field Collection
  • Dates: 1890-1955
  • Bulk Dates: 1890-1920
  • Size: 3.5 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box, 2 flat boxes
  • Collector: Field, William O. (William Osgood), 1904-
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: William O. Field was a glaciologist and a member of the American Geographical Society. The William O. Field Collection spans primarily from 1890 to 1920. The scrapbooks focus on the international competition to complete the first transatlantic flight, which culminated in the successful transatlantic flight of the U.S. Navy's NC-4 in 1919, as well as the ships of the U.S. Navy's battleship, cruiser, and destroyer fleets.

Biography of William O. Field

William Osgood Field was born in New York City on January 30, 1904 to William B. Osgood Field and Lila Vanderbilt Sloane Field. After graduating from Harvard University with a B.S. in geology in 1926, Field initially worked for University Film Production at Harvard before turning to the field of glacier research in the 1930s. In 1940, Field joined the American Geographical Society and was appointed head of the Society's Department of Exploration and Field Research in 1947, ultimately remaining at the Society until his retirement in 1969. William O. Field died on June 16, 1994 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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Description of Contents

The William O. Field Collection, comprising 3.5 linear feet of documentation in five volumes, span primarily from 1890 to 1920. The collection focuses on the international competition to complete the first transatlantic flight, which culminated in the successful transatlantic flight of the U.S. Navy's NC-4 in 1919, as well as the ships of the U.S. Navy's battleship, cruiser, and destroyer fleets.

The collection consists of scrapbooks, a photograph album, and a journal article. The scrapbooks consist primarily of news clippings and postcards, with smaller numbers of photographs and occasional telegrams.

The William O. Field Collection is arranged by document type; thereunder alphabetically by topic/title into a single records series. The first two scrapbooks focus on the international competition to complete the first transatlantic flight after World War I. Much of the first scrapbook is composed of materials on the U.S. Navy's Curtiss NC flying boats, including their assembly and test flights in Jamaica Bay; the Navy crews of NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4; and the commencement of their transatlantic flight, up to and including the flight leg from Trepassey to the Azores. The scrapbook also touches upon the transatlantic attempts by the U.S. Navy's C-5 blimp and pilots Harry G. Hawker and Mackenzie Grieve, as well as British airship development. Also included is some biographical material on pilots John Towers, John Cyril Porte, Clifford B. Pordger, Jules Vedrines, and Hugo Sunstedt. The second scrapbook covers the NC-4's successful flight from the Azores to Lisbon, as well as several failed transatlantic attempts, including those by Harry Hawker in his Sopwith biplane, C. F. Morgan and Frederick P. Raynham in their Martinsyde biplane, and the Handley-Page biplane.

The remaining two scrapbooks detail the U.S. Navy's battleship and armored cruiser fleets circa 1919, consisting of postcards, clippings, and ship specifications, such as displacement, armament, cost, fuel source, and crew complement. The battleship scrapbook covers U.S.S. Alabama (BB-8), Arizona (BB-39), Arkansas (BB-33), Connecticut (BB-18), Delaware (BB-28), Florida (BB-30), Georgia (BB-15), Idaho (BB-42), Illinois (BB-7), Indiana (BB-1), Iowa (BB-4), Kansas (BB-21), Kearsarge (BB-5), Kentucky (BB-6), Louisiana (BB-19), Maine (BB-10), Massachusetts (BB-2), Michigan (BB-27), Minnesota (BB-22), Mississippi (BB-41), and Missouri (BB-11). The cruiser scrapbook covers U.S.S. Seattle (CA-11), North Carolina (CA-12), Frederick (CA-8), Huntington (CA-5), South Dakota (CA-9), Montana (CA-13), and Memphis (CA-10), including her wrecking at Santo Domingo. The scrapbook also includes an entry on ships transporting American troops from France after World War I.

The photograph album consists of professional photographs by Enrique Muller and Nathaniel L. Stebbins of United States Navy battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and gunboats, as well as revenue cutters. Depicted in the album are U.S.S. Birmingham (Light cruiser: CL-2), Chester (Light cruiser: CL-1), Michigan (Battleship: BB-27), St. Mary's (Sloop-of-war), Florida (Battleship: BB-30), Adams (Screw gunboat), Wyoming (Battleship: BB-32), Hartford (Sloop-of-war), Ohio (Battleship: BB-12), Kansas (Battleship: BB-21), New Hampshire (Battleship: BB-25), Minnesota (Battleship: BB-22), Louisiana (Battleship: BB-19), Utah (Battleship: BB-31), Texas (Battleship: BB-35), Oklahoma (Battleship: BB-37), Pennsylvania (Battleship: BB-38), Arkansas (Battleship: BB-33), North Dakota (Battleship: BB-29), Delaware (Battleship: BB-28), South Carolina (Battleship: BB-26), Dixie (Auxiliary: AD-1), Drayton (Destroyer: DD-23), Cassin (Destroyer: DD-43), Conyngham (Destroyer: DD-58), Burrows (Destroyer: DD-29), Ammen (Destroyer: DD-35), Terry (Destroyer: DD-25), C-5 (Submarine: SS-16), Roe (Destroyer: DD-24), Reid (Destroyer: DD-21), Pruitt (Destroyer: DD-347), Preston (Destroyer: DD-19), Paulding (Destroyer: DD-22), Patterson (Destroyer: DD-36), Neptune (Collier: AC-8), McCall (Destroyer: DD-28), Mayrant (Destroyer: DD-31), Hector (Collier: AC-7), Bancroft (Gunboat), Boston (Protected cruiser), Baltimore (Protected cruiser: C-3), Acushnet (Fleet tug: AT-63), Androscoggin (Revenue cutter: CG-14), Amphitrite (Monitor: BM-2), Alvarado (Gunboat), Atlanta (Protected cruiser), Wilkes (Destroyer: DD-67), Vulcan (Collier: AC-5), Trippe (Destroyer: DD-33), Catskill (Monitor), Salmon P. Chase (Revenue cutter), Constitution (Frigate, Barracks ship), Concord (Patrol gunboat: PG-3), Castine (Gunboat: PG-6), Charleston (Protected cruiser: C-2), Boxer (Training brig), Blakely (Torpedo boat: TB-27), Bennington (Gunboat: PG-4), Du Pont (Torpedo boat: TB-7), Dale (Destroyer: DD-4), Dubuque (Gunboat: PG-17), Dolphin (Gunboat: PG-24), Detroit (Cruiser: C-10), Despatch (Steamer), Des Moines (Protected cruiser: C-15), Essex (Screw steamer), Enterprise (Screw sloop-of-war), Gwin (Torpedo boat: TB-16), Chicago (Protected cruiser), Cincinnati (Protected cruiser: C-7), Helena (Gunboat: PG-9), Gresham (Revenue cutter), Georgia (Battleship: BB-15), Virginia (Battleship: BB-13), Idaho (Battleship: BB-24), Minnesota (Steam frigate), Nebraska (Battleship: BB-14), Salem (Scout cruiser: CL-3), West Virginia (Armored cruiser: ACR-5), Tennessee (Armored cruiser: ACR-10), Montana (Armored cruiser: ACR-13), Narwhal (Submarine: SS-17), Flusser (Destroyer: DD-20), Indiana (Battleship: BB-1), Maine (Battleship), Porter (Torpedo boat: TB-6), Decatur (Destroyer: DD-5), Cushing (Torpedo boat: TB-1), O-9 (Submarine: SS-70), Missouri (Battleship: BB-11), Illinois (Battleship: BB-7), Kearsarge (Battleship: BB-5), Kentucky (Battleship: BB-6), Iowa (Battleship: BB-4), Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-2), Maryland (Armored cruiser: ACR-8), North Carolina (Cruiser: ACR-12), St. Louis (Protected cruiser: C-20), Washington (Armored cruiser: ACR-11), Aylwin (Destroyer: DD-47), Maine (Battleship: BB-10), Rhode Island (Battleship: BB-17), New Jersey (Battleship: BB-16), Vermont (Battleship: BB-20), Mississippi (Battleship: BB-23), Colorado Armored cruiser: ACR-7), Connecticut (Battleship: BB-18), Topeka (Gunboat: PG-35), Seminole (Revenue cutter), Solace (Hospital ship: AH-2), Stiletto (Torpedo boat), Sandoval (Gunboat), San Francisco (Protected cruiser: C-5), Yorktown (Gunboat: PG-1), Woodbury (Revenue cutter), Wilmington (Gunboat: PG-8), Vesuvius (Dynamite gunboat), Minneapolis (Cruiser: C-13), Columbia (Cruiser: C-12), Alabama (Battleship: BB-8), Wisconsin (Battleship: BB-9), Brooklyn (Armored cruiser: ACR-3), Olympia (Protected cruiser: C-6), Nashville (Gunboat: PG-7), Newport (Gunboat: PG-12), Ranger (Gunboat), Raleigh (Protected cruiser: C-8), Prairie (Auxiliary cruiser: AD-5), Petrel (Gunboat: PG-2), Philadelphia (Protected cruiser: C-4), Onondaga (Revenue cutter), MacKenzie (Torpedo boat: TB-17), Montgomery (Protected cruiser: C-9), Marietta (Gunboat: PG-15), Newark (Protected cruiser: C-1), New Orleans (Light cruiser: CL-22), Mohawk (Revenue cutter), Manning (Revenue cutter), Mayflower (Patrol yacht: PY-1), Miantonomoh (Monitor: BM-5), Hopkins (Destroyer DD-6), Marblehead (Cruiser: C-11), Hist (Steamer), Katahdin (Armored ram), Lawrence (Destroyer: DD-8), Lehigh (Monitor), Lancaster (Screw sloop-of-war), and Machias (Gunboat: PG-5). Also included are photographs of the Atlantic Fleet in New York Harbor in 1911, the European Squadron off the coast of Maine in 1872, and the Squadron of Evolution in 1891.

Other documents in the collection include two 1939 issues of The Illustrated London News focusing on British warship production and wartime evacuations in London, as well as a single United States Naval Institute Proceedings article from 1955 entitled "Photographing the Surrender Aboard the USS Missouri" by Colonel Bertram Kalisch. Twelve loose World War I era photographs depict a U.S. military parade with the Statue of Liberty in the background, flights of unidentified French biplanes, and images of aerial bombing, including damage to Arras, France.

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The William O. Field Collection is arranged by document type; thereunder alphabetically by topic/title.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The William O. Field Collection 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

Gift of William O. Field in November 1993. Accession No. 93-70.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Material pertaining to William O. Field's career as a glaciologist can be found in the William O. Field Papers at the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; the William O. Field fonds at the Archives and Library, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta, Canada; the William B. Osgood Field Papers, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library; and the William Osgood Field Papers, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Materials Cataloged Separately

The following three books have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately:

Hare, James H., ed. A Photographic Record of the Russo-Japanese War. New York: P. F. Collier, 1905.

Harrison, R. E. Look at the World: The Fortune Atlas of World Strategy. New York: Knopf, 1944.

Reynolds, Francis J. The United States Navy from the Revolution to Date. New York: P. F. Collier, 1918.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

William O. Field Collection, MS 451

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

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

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Battleships -- United States
  • Cruisers (Warships) -- United States
  • Destroyers -- United States
  • Gunboats -- United States
  • Seaplanes
  • Transatlantic flights
  • United States. Navy -- Aviation -- History

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Additional Creator/Author

  • Muller, Robert Enrique, 1883-
  • Stebbins, N. L. (Nathaniel Livermore), 1847-1922
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Scrapbook - "Airoplanes and Air Machines", 1919

Box 1 Folder 2

Scrapbook - NC-4, 1919

Box 2[OS] Folder 1

Scrapbook - Ships (Battleships), 1919 (approximate)

Box 2[OS] Folder 2

Scrapbook - Ships (Cruisers), 1916-1918

Box 3[OS] Folder 1

Photograph Album, 1890-1920

Box 1 Folder 3

Photographs, undated

Box 1 Folder 4

Publications - The Illustrated London News, 1939

Box 1 Folder 5

Publications - "Photographing the Surrender Aboard the USS Missouri", 1955

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