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Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs, 1897-1953 (bulk 1942-1953): Finding Aid

Published in September 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 530
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs
  • Dates: 1897-1983
  • Bulk Dates: 1942-1953
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Craven, Thomas T. (Thomas Tingey), 1873-1950
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Thomas Tingey Craven was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1896. The Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs were written between 1942 and 1953, with enclosures dating as early as 1897. The memoirs cover nearly every one of Craven's duty stations, including his service in the Spanish-American War, the cruise of the Great White Fleet, his direction of early naval aviation, and his command of two naval districts and the Yangtze Patrol.

Biographical Chronology of Thomas Tingey Craven

  • Born on July 8 in Vallejo, California.
  • Appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Tennessee.
  • In June, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-2) for mandatory sea service.
  • In May, commissioned an Ensign.
  • Transferred to U.S.S. Eagle (Yacht) for duty in the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Philadelphia (Protected cruiser: C-4), with duty in the Pacific and Samoa.
  • Assigned to U.S.S. St. Mary's (School ship) as Navigator.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Solace (Hospital ship: AH-2) as Navigator.
  • In January, promoted to Lieutenant.
  • Assigned to the United States Naval Academy as instructor in applied mechanics, navigation, and seamanship.
  • Attached to U.S.S. Kentucky (Battleship: BB-6) as Gunnery Officer during the cruise of the Great White Fleet. Later transferred to U.S.S. Wisconsin (Battleship: BB-9), U.S.S. Louisiana (Battleship: BB-19).
  • In September, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • Attached to U.S.S. South Carolina (Battleship: BB-26) as a member of Rear Admiral Schroeder's staff.
  • Assigned to duty with the General Board.
  • Appointed Director of Target Practice and Engineering Competitions at the Navy Department.
  • In July, promoted to Commander.
  • Appointed Executive Officer of U.S.S. Washington (Armored cruiser: ACR-11), with duty in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico following the Veracruz Incident.
  • Transferred to U.S.S. Texas (Battleship: BB-35) as Executive Officer.
  • Assigned to the Naval War College for instruction, and later, as a staff member.
  • Assumes command of U.S.S. Sacramento (Gunboat: PG-19) for duty in the Gulf of Mexico and later, the Mediterranean.
  • In January, promoted to Captain (temporary).
  • Appointed Aide for Operations, Naval Aviation Foreign Service, and later, Commander, Naval Aviation in France.
  • Appointed Director of Naval Aviation.
  • In June, promoted to Captain (permanent).
  • Assumes command of U.S.S. South Carolina (Battleship: BB-26).
  • Assumes command of Destroyer Squadron Three, followed by duty commanding Destroyer Squadron Seven and Destroyer Squadron Fifteen.
  • Assumes command of Naval Air Station, North Island in San Diego.
  • Assumes command of U.S.S. Maryland (Battleship: BB-46).
  • Appointed Director of Naval Communications at the Navy Department.
  • In February, promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • Named Commandant of the Ninth Naval District with command of U.S. Naval Training Station Great Lakes.
  • Assumes command of the Yangtze Patrol.
  • Appointed Chief Federal Coordinator under the Director of the Budget.
  • Assumes command of Battleship Division One, and later, Battleships, Battle Force.
  • Appointed Commandant, Thirteenth Naval District with command of the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton.
  • On August 1, transferred to the Retired List.
  • Recalled to active duty as Superintendent, New York State Maritime Academy at Fort Schuyler, New York.
  • Returns to inactive status on the Retired List.
  • On April 5, dies at St. Albans Naval Hospital.
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Description of Contents

The Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs, comprising 0.42 linear feet of documentation, were written between 1942 and 1953, with enclosures dating as early as 1897. The memoirs cover nearly every one of Craven's duty stations, including his service in the Spanish-American War, the cruise of the Great White Fleet, his direction of early naval aviation, and his command of two naval districts and the Yangtze Patrol.

Included among the memoirs are photographs and typescript copies of orders, citations, and journal entries.

The Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs are organized into two series. The first series consists of the typescript of Craven's memoirs, written largely between 1942 and 1945. Divided into twenty chapters, the memoirs offer a chronological account of Craven's career from the beginning of his mandatory, pre-commissioning sea service in 1896, until his initial retirement from the Navy in 1937. The second series consists of reminiscences by Craven's wife, Antoinette M. Craven, which focus on both her life and experiences as a Navy wife, as well as offering her perspective of Craven's U.S. Navy career.

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The Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs are organized into the following two series:

  • Series 1: Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs, 1897-1945
  • Series 2: Antoinette M. Craven Memoirs, 1952-1953
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs 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

Custodial History

The Craven Memoirs were originally donated by Antoinette M. Craven to Herman O. Werner of the Naval Institute in May 1953. The collection was subsequently donated by Mrs. Herman O. Werner to the United States Naval Institute Library in April 1971.

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of the United States Naval Institute in 1971 (approximate).

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Thomas Tingey Craven in this repository includes Craven's Midshipman Conduct Record and Alumni Jacket.

Other material is available in the Thomas T. Craven Papers, 1842-1969, MSS 61733, at the Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs, MS 530

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896-1937.

Craven, Thomas Tingey Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

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

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Admirals -- United States -- Biography
  • Alaska -- Description and travel
  • Battleships -- United States
  • Craven, Antoinette M.
  • Craven, Thomas T. (Thomas Tingey), 1873-1950
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Naval operations
  • United States. Navy -- Aviation -- History
  • United States. Navy -- Communication systems
  • United States. Navy -- Cruise, 1907-1909
  • United States. Navy -- Officers -- Biography
  • United States. Navy. Yangtze Patrol
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs

Additional Creator/Author

  • Craven, Antoinette M.
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Contents List

Series 1: Thomas Tingey Craven Memoirs, 1897-1945 Box 1

Series Description

Typewritten memoirs, written by Thomas Tingey Craven, recalling the major events and related anecdotes of Craven's U.S. Navy career. Divided into twenty chapters covering between one and three-year spans, the memoirs discuss Craven's first sea duty aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-2), his Spanish-American War experiences aboard U.S.S. Eagle (Yacht), the Second Samoan Civil War, the cruise of the Great White Fleet, American intervention in the Mexican Revolution, the World War I service of U.S.S. Sacramento (Gunboat: PG-19), the establishment of U.S. Naval Aviation in France in the closing days of World War I, the development of Naval radio communications, the Yangtze Patrol, and an in depth tour of Alaska. Throughout, the memoirs also touch upon the evolution of the United States Navy in the first half of the twentieth century.

Included with the memoirs are original photographs as well as typescript copies of other supporting documents. Filed at the beginning of the series is a brief biographical and genealogical sketch of Craven.

Series Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Box 1 Folder 1

Craven History, undated

Biographical sketch and family history.

Box 1 Folder 2

1896-1898 - U.S.S. Massachusetts, 1897, undated

Mandatory sea service aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-2), discussion of the evolving Navy, receptions in New York, shipboard recreation, increasing messing efficiency, and battle exercises. Includes copies of orders.

Box 1 Folder 3

1898 - U.S.S. Eagle: Spanish-American War, undated

Converting Eagle (Yacht) for wartime duty and blockade duty in Cuban waters. Includes a typescript of a journal kept from May 5 through July 12, 1898.

Box 1 Folder 4

1898-1900 - Scindia - Philadelphia, 1943

Passage to Hawaii aboard U.S.S. Scindia (Collier), transfer to U.S.S. Philadelphia (Protected cruiser: C-4), interactions with native Samoans, and operations during the Second Samoan Civil War. Includes photographs of British and American forces in Samoa, Samoan natives, and Malietoa Tanumafili.

Box 1 Folder 5

1903-1906 - U.S.S. Solace, Naval Academy, 1945

Anecdotes from Solace's ferrying duties, thoughts on the Battle of Tsushima, assignment to the Naval Academy as an instructor in the Department of Navigation and Applied Mathematics, and summer practice cruise duty aboard U.S.S. Florida (Monitor: BM-9). Includes a transcript of Solace's sailing schedule.

Box 1 Folder 6

1907-1909 - U.S.S. Kentucky, U.S.S. Wisconsin, U.S.S. Louisiana: Around the World with Sixteen Battleships, 1908, 1945

Cruise of the Great White Fleet, thoughts on Gunner George Charrette, and Great White Fleet port calls, including receptions in Australia and Japan. Includes a memo regarding Kentucky's target practice results.

Box 1 Folder 7

1909-1911 - Ordnance Officer - U.S.S. South Carolina, Fleet Ordnance Officer - U.S.S. Connecticut, 1945

Assignment to the dreadnought U.S.S. South Carolina (Battleship: BB-26), gunnery and target practice, serving under Admiral Schroeder, port call in Weymouth, and thoughts on British naval superiority.

Box 1 Folder 8

1911-1914 - General Board, Director of Naval Gunnery and Engineering Competitions, 1945

Thoughts on Admiral Dewey and the role of the General Board, the difficulties of modern gunnery, invention of the fire control director, early use of motion pictures in recording gunnery exercises, and thoughts on the Wilson Administration.

Box 1 Folder 9

1914-1916 - U.S.S. Washington -- U.S.S. Texas, Naval War College, 1944, undated

Washington's reactivation following the occupation of Veracruz, operations off Santo Domingo, drug use following Josephus Daniels' ban on alcohol, the ashes of Christopher Columbus, transfer to U.S.S. Texas (Battleship: BB-35), and assignment to the Naval War College following a leg injury. Includes a photograph of Puerto Plata.

Box 1 Folder 10

1917 - U.S.S. Sacramento - World's War, 1944, undated

Command of U.S.S. Sacramento (Gunboat: PG-19), operations off Veracruz, coastal patrol duty at the outbreak of World War I, rescue of the S.S. Sebastian, convoy duty out of Gibraltar, the sinking of S.S. Swan River, and U.S.S. Nahma's accidental firing on an Italian submarine. Includes a photograph of Sacramento and a list of all American ships based at Gibraltar.

Box 1 Folder 11

1918-1919 - Naval Aviation Foreign Service, France, undated

Establishment of Naval Aviation in France, the impact of Benjamin Briscoe, the state of aviation in England, use of airplanes against submarines, liquidation of American facilities in France following the Armistice, and relief and reconstruction work. Includes a typescript of a citation.

Box 1 Folder 12

1919-1921 - Director of Naval Aviation, 1942

Life in Washington under Prohibition, new policy governing Army and Navy aviation, trans-Atlantic flight of the NC's, appropriation and personnel shortages, conversion of U.S.S. Jupiter to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Langley, establishment of lighter-than-air facilities at Lakehurst, thoughts on Billy Mitchell, and the launch of U.S.S. Shenandoah. Includes an additional narrative entitled "American Naval Aviation Difficulties in France."

Box 1 Folder 13

1921-1923 - South Carolina, Destroyer Squadrons, and Cruise to the Far East, 1945, undated

Midshipman training cruise to Europe aboard U.S.S. South Carolina, assignment to Destroyer Squadron 3 (followed by Squadron 7 and Squadron 15), installation of early underwater communication devices and fathometers, a memorial to U.S.S. Chauncey at Gibraltar, history of conflict with Tripoli and Algiers, and port calls at Aden and Singapore. Includes photographs and copies of orders.

Box 1 Folder 14

1922-1925 - North Island, 1944

Aviation operations, interactions between operations at North Island and Rockwell Field, defense of Captain Edward Watson following the Honda Point Disaster, a cross-country flight aboard U.S.S. Shenandoah, and thoughts on U.S.S. Langley. Includes typescripts of commendations for efficiency at NAS San Diego.

Box 1 Folder 15

1925-1927 - U.S.S. Maryland, 1943, undated

Command of U.S.S. Maryland (Battleship: BB-46), attending a party at Parker Ranch in Hawaii, the history of Australia, the rescue of John Rodgers, port call in Port Culebra, and a near collision with U.S.S. Colorado (Battleship: BB-45) entering New York Harbor. Includes photographs of Pago Pago, Sydney, and Auckland.

Box 1 Folder 16

1927-1928 - Director of Naval Communications, 1936, 1943

Brief history of American maritime commerce, the International Radio Conference, rivalry between the Army and Navy in radio communication, and the need for further radio compass development. Includes a typescript of a 1927 letter from Frank B. Kellogg and a 1936 letter from Captain Reed Fawell.

Box 1 Folder 17

1928 - Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes Training Station, undated

Duty as Commandant of the Ninth Naval District, coordination of recruiting activities, work with NROTC groups, local coordination with the Army on communications drills, training exercises on the Great Lakes, and various ceremonial functions and speaking engagements. Includes typescripts of 1929 memos regarding joint Army-Navy exercises.

Box 1 Folder 18

1929-1930 - Yangtze Patrol, 1943

Appointment as Commander of the Yangtze Patrol, Russian refugees in China, social life in Shanghai, contours of the Yangtze above Ichang, thoughts on Marshall Liu Hsiang, missionaries, increasing tensions at Hankow (Hakou) and elsewhere due to the civil war, the Chi Ping incident, the Ichang river pilot strike, banditry on the River, numerous patrol cruises up river, the influence of communism from Russia, and descriptions of Ichang (Yichang), Nanking, Wuhan, Changsha, and the Yale Hospital.

Box 1 Folder 19

1930-1931 - Yangtze Patrol, 1943

Bandit attack on Yochow (Yueyang), evacuations at Changsha, response to Communist advances at Hankow, thoughts on British, French, and Japanese forces on the Yangtze, end of the campaigns of Yen Shi-shan (Yan Xishan) and Feng Yu Hsiang (Feng Yuxiang), comparisons of different nations' commercial practices in China, and the I'Ping incident.

Box 1 Folder 20

1931-1933 - Chief Federal Coordinator, 1943

Reflections on changes to Washington, DC, intragovernmental coordination between Executive departments, Federal Business Associations, the Federal Purchasing Board, thoughts on Stanford Bates, the Real Estate Board, the role of good citizenship in stable government, and rampant reorganization under the Roosevelt Administration.

Box 1 Folder 21

1935-1937 - Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, Alaska, 1900-1936, undated

Command of the Thirteenth Naval District, history of Bremerton and the Navy Yard, improvements to the Navy Yard, inspection tours of the District, touring Alaska aboard U.S.S. Swallow (Minesweeper: AM-4), history of the Sitka region, description of Unalaska, and thoughts on rising communism and fascism in Europe. Includes photographs of Puget Sound Navy Yard; the city of Bremerton; the Alaskan towns of Sitka, Unalaska, Palmer, and Attu; and documents from the Orthodox Church in Sitka, Alaska.

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Series 2: Antoinette M. Craven Memoirs, 1952-1953 Box 1

Series Description

Typewritten memoirs, written by Thomas Tingey Craven's wife, Antoinette, offering her perspective on certain aspects of her husband's U.S. Navy career, as well as aspects of her own upbringing and life as a Navy wife. Specifically, the memoirs pertain to the role of servants in the homes and lives of Navy officers, the Spanish-American War, early naval aviators, and various receptions attended by Mrs. Craven.

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Box 1 Folder 22

Government Servants, undated

Thoughts on the necessity of servants when entertaining guests as the wife of a flag officer, and recollections of two specific servants.

Box 1 Folder 23

Incidents -- Memories --, 1952

Brief history of the Washington Navy Yard, recollections of the Great White Fleet, the Samoan civil war, Thomas T. Craven's roots in Russian-owned Alaska, the funeral of Robley D. Evans, White House receptions held by Lou Henry Hoover, reception held by Mary Pickford at Pickfair, luncheon at Warner Brothers Studios, Shanghai society, the estate of Solomon Bandaranaike, the Pendleton Round-up, and the Craven Center at the Bremerton Navy Yard.

Box 1 Folder 24

Memories 1876-1953, 1953

Recollections of meeting Thomas Tingey Craven in 1893, the Spanish prisoners of war in Annapolis, and Thomas Craven's Spanish-American War service.

Box 1 Folder 25

Servants 1876-1952, 1952

Recollections of the Cravens' various household servants, as well as Antoinette Craven's childhood servants, both of whom were former slaves.

Box 1 Folder 26

Some Aviators I Have Known, undated

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