Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Nimitz Library
Nimitz Library

Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts, 1992-1993: Finding Aid

Published in August 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
  • Call number: MS 516
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts
  • Dates: 1992-1993
  • Size: 0.13 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 3 folders containing 3 items
  • Creator: Lee, Jerome Addison, 1890-1967
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Jerome Addison Lee was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1913. The Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts were edited into their present form in 1992, but were originally written in 1938 by Lee and his wife, Eugenie Blandin Lee. The manuscripts consist of two editions of Lee's novel, Low Water Above Hankow, about life on the Yangtze River in the 1930's.

Biography of Jerome Addison Lee

Jerome Addison Lee was born on September 8, 1890 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Franklyn Warner and Marilla Upright Lee. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1908, he graduated and was commissioned an Ensign on June 6, 1913. Lee's first duties with the fleet were aboard the battleships U.S.S. New Hampshire (Battleship: BB-25), U.S.S. Georgia (Battleship: BB-15), and U.S.S. Kansas (Battleship: BB-21) from 1913 until October 1916. Following his battleship duties, Lee was attached to U.S.S. Eagle in 1916, after which he served aboard the destroyers U.S.S. Fanning (Destroyer: DD-37) and U.S.S. Biddle (Destroyer: DD-151) during and shortly after World War I.

In 1920, Lee was assigned to the United States Naval Academy as an instructor in electrical engineering. This was followed by a return to sea duty aboard U.S.S. North Dakota (Battleship: BB-29). In 1924, Lee was transferred to U.S.S. Langley (Aircraft carrier: CV-1), followed by duty aboard U.S.S. Kittery (Transport: AK-2). Shore duty followed once again with attachment to the Hydrographic Office in Washington, DC from 1925 until 1927.

Beginning in 1927, Lee's career in the Navy came to be defined by service in Asia and the Pacific. In 1928, he was assigned to U.S.S. Jason (Fuel ship: AC-12), which was supporting aircraft operations for the Asiatic Fleet. Transfer to U.S.S. Memphis (Light cruiser: CL-13) returned Lee to the Caribbean later in 1928 until Memphis was re-stationed in the waters off the Philippines. Assignment to the Naval War College in 1930 brought Lee back to the United States, but he returned to the Pacific with duty in command of the Naval Ammunition Depot, Hawaii in 1931. In 1932, he was appointed Executive Officer of U.S.S. Tulsa (Gunboat: PG-22) in Chinese waters. A year later, he assumed command of U.S.S. Guam (Gunboat: PG-43) on the Yangtze Patrol.

Lee retired from the U.S. Navy in June 1934, but was recalled to duty in 1940 to serve as an instructor at the Naval Academy, first in electrical engineering, and later in seamanship and navigation, until 1947. After returning to inactive status, he taught electrical engineering at George Washington University until 1957. Jerome Addison Lee died on June 24, 1967 at his home in Washington, DC.

Back to Top

Description of Contents

The Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts, comprising 0.13 linear feet of documentation, were edited into their present form in 1992, but were originally written in 1938 by Lee and his wife, Eugenie Blandin Lee. The manuscripts consist of two editions of Lee's novel, Low Water Above Hankow, about life on the Yangtze River in the 1930's.

The Lee Manuscripts are arranged by edition. The unabridged edition, entitled Low Water Above Hankow: A Novel of the Yangtze River in the Mid-Thirties, is 161 pages long and is divided into 8 chapters: Hankow, January, 1934; To Singti aboard the Changsha; Singti to Ichang on the Chengtu; Ashore in Ichang; "Heaving" the Tsintan Rapid; The Yangtze Gorges; Wanshein; and Journey's End. The novel, based in part of Lee's experiences in the United States Navy on the Yangtze Patrol, follows the fictional family of a U.S. Navy gunboat officer as they travel up the Yangtze. The novel touches upon such topics as navigating the Yangtze during the low water season of January, the life of a Navy wife in China the 1930's, the Yangtze Patrol, and American impressions of China.

The unabridged edition includes several photographs of Lee and several gunboats, as well as a map of the Yangtze River. The edition also includes several other stories by Eugenie Blandin Lee about life in a military family entitled: Paradise Lost (Leaving Pearly Harbor, April 1932); "Life in a Chinese Graveyard" (Visit to Amoy, September 1932; "The Question of Baggage" (Hankow to Shanghai, August 1933; "Adventures by Rail" (Train trip to Peking, September 1933); "Leaving From the French Depot" (Return from Peking, October 1933); and "A Brief Reunion" (Together in Hankow for a few hours, November 1933). At the end of the volume is a chronology of Jerome Addison Lee's Navy career and an obituary.

The abridged edition, entitled Low Water Above Hankow: Two Weeks on the Yangtze River in the Mid-Thirties is 28 pages in length and strips out most of the novel's dialog, leaving only the narrative intact.

Included in the collection is a 1993 letter from Kemp Tolley to Jerome Addison Lee, Jr. conveying Tolley's opinions on the novel.

Back to Top


The Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts are arranged by document type.

Back to Top

Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts 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.

Back to Top

Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Mary Ann Oien in October 1993. Accession No. 93-60.

Back to Top

Related Materials

Related Archival Material

An additional copy of Lee's manuscript is available in the O. Kemp Tolley Papers, MS 380. Other material in this repository pertaining to Jerome Addison Lee and his U.S. Navy career can be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

Back to Top

Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Jerome Addison Lee Manuscripts, MS 516

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Lee, Jerome Addison Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

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

Back to Top

Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • China -- Description and travel
  • Families of military personnel -- United States
  • Lee, Jerome Addison, 1890-1967
  • Navy spouses
  • United States. Navy. Yangtze Patrol
  • Yangtze River (China) -- Description and travel

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts

Additional Creator/Author

  • Lee, Eugenie Blandin
  • Oien, Mary Ann
Back to Top

Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Low Water Above Hankow - Unabridged, 1992

Box 1 Folder 2

Low Water Above Hankow - Abridged, 1992

Box 1 Folder 3

Letter from Kemp Tolley, 1993

Back to Top