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Millard Jefferson Klein Letters, 1930-1995 (bulk 1930-1943): Finding Aid

Published in April 2019

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 499
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Millard Jefferson Klein Letters
  • Dates: 1930-1995
  • Bulk Dates: 1930-1943
  • Size: 0.1 linear feet (1 folder)
  • Creator: Klein, M. J. (Millard Jefferson), 1908-1943
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Millard Jefferson Klein was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1931. The Millard Jefferson Klein Letters, comprising a single volume compilation of typescripts, span from 1930 through 1943, with several supporting documents from 1947 and a 1995 foreword by Kay Klein Brigham. The letters, exchanged between Klein and his wife, Jacqueline, are the product of Klein's time as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy and U.S. Navy officer from his graduation through his loss in action while commanding officer of U.S.S. Buck (Destroyer: DD-420) during World War II.

Biography of Millard Jefferson Klein

Millard Jefferson "Michael" Klein was born on July 25, 1909 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Receiving an appointment from Representative James Willis Taylor in 1927, Klein graduated from the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1931. While at the Academy, he was awarded honorable mention in the Henry van Dyke Prize for his paper entitled "The Future of Naval Aviation."

Following his graduation from the Naval Academy, Klein was attached to U.S.S. Roper (Destroyer: DD-147) in the Pacific. In June 1933, he reported to U.S.S. New York (Battleship: BB-34) as Radio Officer, but was transferred in January 1934 to U.S.S. San Francisco (Heavy cruiser: CA-38), which was fitting out at the time. Later that year, he married Jacqueline Coleman of Richmond, Virginia. In May 1938, Klein was assigned to shore duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he remained until May 1940.

In July 1940, Klein returned to sea aboard the newly commissioned U.S.S. Benson (Destroyer: DD-421), which escorted President Roosevelt to the Bahamas in March 1941 and later escorted convoys between Boston and Iceland. Five months after the United States entered World War II, Klein was ordered to the Staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron Thirteen in connection with the planning for the Invasion of North Africa. Shortly after the conclusion of Operation Torch, he received command of U.S.S. Buck (Destroyer: DD-420), participating in the Allied Invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) and sinking the Italian submarine Argento. U.S.S. Buck was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-616 on October 9, 1943. Millard Jefferson Klein was pronounced missing in action on that date and presumed dead one year later.

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Description of Contents

The Millard Jefferson Klein Letters, comprising a single volume compilation of typescripts, span from 1930 through 1943, with several supporting documents from 1947 and a 1995 foreword by Kay Klein Brigham. The letters, exchanged between Klein and his wife, Jacqueline, are the product of Klein's time as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy and U.S. Navy officer from his graduation through his loss in action while commanding officer of U.S.S. Buck (Destroyer: DD-420) during World War II.

The first section of letters, spanning from 1930 until 1931, are the product of Klein's First Class year as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. While focusing primarily on his courtship of the letters' recipient, Jacqueline Coleman, Klein discusses a number of Academy related topics, especially aviation instruction, aircraft flown by midshipmen, and Klein's first class paper on the future of naval aviation. Other topics include football games, the Army-Navy Game, boxing, holiday leave, the characteristics of submarines and torpedoes, exams, concerns over a shortage of officer billets, the necessity of a good service reputation, rifle practice, and confinement to Reina Mercedes for smoking. Interspersed throughout are excerpts from Coleman's diary.

The second section of letters, spanning from 1931 until 1938, are the product of Klein's tours of duty in Pacific waters. In addition to focusing on Klein's relationship with Coleman and the effects of a young naval career on that relationship, the letters from this period cover Klein's cross-country drive to report aboard U.S.S. Roper after graduation, efforts to establish a good service reputation while serving aboard U.S.S. Roper, transfer to U.S.S. New York in June 1933, duty as Radio Officer, difficulties with New York's new direction finding equipment, transfer to U.S.S. San Francisco as Radio Officer in January 1934, and Klein's marriage to Coleman in September 1934.

The third section of letters, spanning from 1941 to 1942, are the product of Klein's duty in Icelandic and North African waters. In addition to their continued focus on the Klein's marriage, the letters, including those both sent and received by Klein, also discuss U.S.S. Benson's escorting President Roosevelt's yacht in the Bahamas in March 1941, the Kleins' daughters and birth of their son, passing mentions of U.S.S. Benson's convoy duties to Iceland, the sinking of U.S.S. Reuben James (Destroyer: DD-245), updated on World War II in Europe, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, preparations for Christmas, and Klein's duty as Gunnery and Operations Officer for Destroyer Squadron Thirteen.

The final section of letters, from 1943, are the product of Klein's command of U.S.S. Buck in the Mediterranean. Due to the nature of wartime censorship, most of the letters of this section are brief, offering little detail of Klein's duties. Included in the section are transcripts of U.S.S. Buck's action reports from Operation Husky and the sinking of the Italian submarine Argento. Also included are undelivered letters sent by Jacqueline Klein.

Flanking the letters at either end of the volume are copies of photographs, clippings, and other documents relating to U.S.S. Buck.

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Arrangement

The Millard Jefferson Klein Letters, compiled into a single volume, are arranged chronologically.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Millard Jefferson Klein Letters 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 Kay Klein Brigham in March 1996. Accession No. 96-22.

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Related Materials

Location of Originals

The disposition of the originals of Klein's letters is unknown.

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Millard Jefferson Klein in this repository include his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

Publications Citing These Papers

Klein's letters were published in 2001 as For Those Who Love, Time is Not: A World War II True Story of Unconquerable Love and Faith by Editorial Clie.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Millard Jefferson Klein Letters, MS 499

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Klein, Millard Jefferson Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in April 2019. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in April 2019.

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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

  • Buck (Destroyer : DD-420)
  • Klein, Jacqueline
  • Klein, M. J. (Millard Jefferson), 1908-1943
  • Midshipmen -- Conduct of life
  • Roper (Destroyer : DD-147)
  • United States Naval Academy -- Social life and customs
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students -- Correspondence
  • United States. Navy -- Biography
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations, American
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts

Additional Creator/Author

  • Brigham, Kay
  • Klein, Jacqueline
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Millard Jefferson Klein Letters, 1930-1995

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