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Frederick A. Edwards Papers, 1898-1991 (bulk 1920-1991): Finding Aid

Published in January 2020

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 549
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Frederick A. Edwards Papers
  • Dates: 1898-1991
  • Bulk Dates: 1920-1991
  • Size: 5.84 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 6 manuscript boxes, 2 flat boxes
  • Creator: Edwards, Frederick A. (Frederick Andrews), 1901-
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Frederick A. Edwards, Sr. was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1923. The Frederick A. Edwards Papers span from 1920 until 1991, with an additional document dating from 1898. Most of the collection is the product of Edwards' research into and writing on the history of American battleships, with the addition of a two-part scrapbook from Edwards' time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy.

Biography of Frederick A. Edwards

Frederick Andrews Edwards, Sr. was born in Troy, Ohio on July 19, 1901. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Ohio's 4th Congressional District, Edwards graduated as a member of the Class of 1923 (he would later receive a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University in 1930). Edwards' first year of duty following graduation saw him assigned to additional instruction and the fitting out of U.S.S. West Virginia (Battleship: BB-48). In 1924, he was attached to U.S.S. Henshaw (Destroyer: DD-278), embarking on a career as an engineering officer. In addition to his early service aboard U.S.S. West Virginia, Edwards also served aboard the battleships U.S.S. Nevada (BB-36), U.S.S. New Mexico (BB-40, and U.S.S. North Carolina (BB-55), the latter of which Edwards fitted out and commissioned as Engineering Officer. During his career, he also fitted out U.S.S. Augusta (Heavy cruiser: CA-31) and U.S.S. Mahan (Destroyer: DD-364). His final sea duty was as Material Officer for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet from 1948 to 1950.

Ashore, Edwards completed tours as an instructor in the Naval Academy's Department of Marine Engineering and Naval Construction, as an Engineering Design Officers at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, as a Destroyer and Destroyer Escort Desk Officer at the Bureau of Ships, as Planning Officer at the New York Navy Yard, and as a Deputy Assistant Chief at the Bureau of Ships.

Edwards retired from the United States Navy in 1954 with the rank of Captain, after which he worked as a professional marine engineer and consultant in New York, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Edwards also conducted research on the history of American battleships with the intention of publishing such a history through the United States Naval Institute Press. Frederick Andrews Edwards, St. died on September 1, 1992 in Annapolis, Maryland. Following Edwards' death, the Captain Frederick A. Edwards, Sr., Class of 1923 Prize was established in his honor.

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Description of Contents

The Frederick A. Edwards Papers, comprising 5.84 linear feet of documentation, span from 1920 until 1991, with an additional document dating from 1898. Most of the collection is the product of Edwards' research into and writing on the history of American battleships, with the addition of a two-part scrapbook from Edwards' time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy.

Included in the collection are manuscripts, clippings, notes, battle reports, and a scrapbook. The scrapbook itself is composed of clippings, photographs, postcards, ephemera, and memorandums.

The Edwards Papers are organized into two series by document type and topic. Series 1: Battleship Research and Writings, consists of Edwards research files, notes, and manuscripts for his proposed history of the American battleship, entitled United States Line-Of-Battle Ships. In addition to covering the overall history of the battleship, the manuscript includes individual histories for every American battleship ever built, as well as two classes that were cancelled prior to construction. Series 2: Scrapbooks, consists of a scrapbook kept by Edwards while he was a midshipman, covering Naval Academy training cruises and athletics, while also touching upon Edwards' early interest in battleships.

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The Frederick A. Edwards Papers are organized into the following two series:

  • Series 1: Battleship Research and Writings, 1898-1991
  • Subseries 1a: United States Line-Of-Battle Ships Manuscript, 1954-1991
  • Subseries 1b: Individual Ship Histories, 1898-1991
  • Subseries 1c: Subject Files, 1929-1989
  • Series 2: Scrapbooks, 1920-1923
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Frederick A. Edwards 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 Frederick A. Edwards, Sr. in February 1992. Accession No. 92-16.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to Frederick A. Edwards can be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket, as well as the United States Naval Academy Class of 1923 Records, MS 430.

Materials Cataloged Separately

Thirty-four books were been removed from this collection at the time of accessioning and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Frederick A. Edwards Papers, MS 549

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Edwards, Frederick Andrews Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

United States Naval Academy Class of 1923 Records, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in January 2020. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in January 2020.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Battleships -- United States
  • Edwards, Frederick A. (Frederick Andrews), 1901-
  • Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Naval operations, American
  • United States Naval Academy -- Buildings and grounds
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
  • United States Naval Academy -- Sports
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 20th century

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Histories (literary works)
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Reports
  • Scrapbooks
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Contents List

Series 1: Battleship Research and Writings, 1898-1991 Boxes 1-6

Series Description

Rough drafts of and supporting research for Edwards' unpublished history of the American battleship, entitled United States Line-Of-Battle Ships.

Series Arrangement

Organized into three subseries by document type.

Subseries 1a: United States Line-Of-Battle Ships Manuscript, 1954-1991 Box 1

Subseries Description

Typewritten drafts of many of the chapters for Edward's proposed monograph United States Line-Of-Battle Ships, intended for publication by the United States Naval Institute Press. The manuscript, which traces the development of the battleship from the age of sail through the Iowa Class battleships of World War II, is divided into seven parts: Evolution of the Line-of-Battle Ship; Ships' Data; Ship Histories; Principal Battleship Operations; Treaties Affecting Battleships; Roles of the Battleship; and Decline and Future of the Battleship. Included with, and in some places instead of, the manuscript are handwritten notes and reference materials in the form of magazine and journal articles.

Individual ship histories, intended to serve as Part III of the monograph, are filed in Subseries 1b.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged by part and chapter number.

Box 1 Folder 1
Preface, Table of Contents, Bibliography, List of Illustrations, List of Maps, Etc., 1954, undated
Box 1 Folder 2
Part I, Chapter 1. Evolution of the Line-of-Battle Ship - Section I. Oak and Canvas, 1988, undated
Box 1 Folder 3
Part I, Chapter 1. Evolution of the Line-of-Battle Ship - Section II. Steam and Steel, 1982, undated
Box 1 Folder 4
Part I, Chapter 2. The Single-Caliber Type Battleship, 1965, undated
Box 1 Folder 5
Part II, Chapter 3. Mixed-Caliber Classes, undated

Includes a list of abbreviations for all of Part II: Ship Data.

Box 1 Folder 6
Part II, Chapter 4. Single-Caliber Classes, undated
Box 1 Folder 7
Part II, Chapter 5. Evolution of Characteristics, 1963-1965, undated
Box 1 Folder 8
Part III. Ship Histories, undated

Preface to the individual ship histories, available in Subseries 1b.

Box 1 Folder 9
Part IV, Chapter 8. The Spanish-American War, undated
Box 1 Folder 10
Part IV, Chapter 9. Fleet Cruise Around the World 1907 to 1909, 1958, 1982, undated
Box 1 Folder 11
Part IV, Chapter 10. World War I, 1961-1964, undated

Reference materials only.

Box 1 Folder 12
Part IV, Chapter 11. Between World Wars I and II, 1973-1978, undated
Box 1 Folder 13
Part IV, Chapter 12. World War II, 1961-1991, undated

Includes an article on the Pearl Harbor attack from the Japanese perspective.

Box 1 Folder 14
Part IV, Chapter 14. Midshipmen's Training Cruises, undated
Box 1 Folder 15
Part V. Treaties Affecting Battleships, 1923-1986

Reference materials only. Includes copies of the Washington Naval Treaty and London Naval Treaty.

Box 1 Folder 16
Part VI. Roles of the Battleship, 1979-1983, undated

Reference materials only.

Box 1 Folder 17
Part VII. Decline and Future of the Battleship, 1962-1991, undated

Reference materials only.

Subseries 1b: Individual Ship Histories, 1898-1991 Boxes 1-5

Subseries Description

Operational histories, similar in style to those published in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, of every American battleship, originally intended to serve as Part III of Edwards' United States Line-Of-Battle Ships. The histories begin with U.S.S. Maine and continue through the Iowa Class and the cancelled Montana Class battleships, highlighting each ships' involvement in major conflicts, such as the Veracruz Incident, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Included with many of Edwards' histories are copies of histories prepared by the Division of Naval History's Ships' Histories Section, and to a lesser extent, magazine and newspaper clippings.

Files on the Iowa Class battleships include copies of Korean War era war diaries and action reports.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged by hull number.

Box 1 Folder 18
Maine (ex-ACR 1), undated
Box 1 Folder 19
Texas (ex-ACR 2), undated

Hull designation of ACR 2 mistakenly attributed to Texas by Edwards.

Box 1 Folder 20
Indiana (BB 1), undated
Box 1 Folder 21
Massachusetts (BB 2), undated
Box 2 Folder 1
Oregon (BB 3), 1898, 1986, undated

Includes a typescript of the log kept by Harry M. Giles.

Box 2 Folder 2
Iowa (BB 4), undated
Box 2 Folder 3
Kearsarge (BB 5), undated
Box 2 Folder 4
Kentucky (BB 6), undated
Box 2 Folder 5
Illinois (BB 7), 1958-1964, undated
Box 2 Folder 6
Alabama (BB 8), undated
Box 2 Folder 7
Wisconsin (BB 9), undated
Box 2 Folder 8
Maine (BB 10), 1960, undated
Box 2 Folder 9
Missouri (BB 11), undated
Box 2 Folder 10
Ohio (BB 12), undated
Box 2 Folder 11
Virginia (BB 13), undated
Box 2 Folder 12
Nebraska (BB 14), 1958, undated
Box 2 Folder 13
Georgia (BB 15), undated
Box 2 Folder 14
New Jersey (BB 16), undated
Box 2 Folder 15
Rhode Island (BB 17), undated
Box 2 Folder 16
Connecticut (BB 18), undated
Box 2 Folder 17
Louisiana (BB 19), undated
Box 2 Folder 18
Vermont (BB 20), undated
Box 2 Folder 19
Kansas (BB 21), undated
Box 2 Folder 20
Minnesota (BB 22), 1955-1961, undated
Box 2 Folder 21
Mississippi (BB 23), undated
Box 2 Folder 22
Idaho (BB 24), undated
Box 2 Folder 23
New Hampshire (BB 25), undated
Box 2 Folder 24
South Carolina (BB 26), undated
Box 2 Folder 25
Michigan (BB 27), 1958, undated
Box 2 Folder 26
Delaware (BB 28), 1960, undated
Box 2 Folder 27
North Dakota (BB 29), undated
Box 2 Folder 28
Florida (BB 30), 1959-1961, undated
Box 2 Folder 29
Utah (BB 31), undated
Box 2 Folder 30
Wyoming (BB 32), undated
Box 2 Folder 31
Arkansas (BB 33), undated
Box 2 Folder 32
New York (BB 34), 1964, 1986, undated
Box 2 Folder 33
Texas (BB 35), 1984-1989, undated
Box 2 Folder 34
Nevada (BB 36), 1944-1991, undated
Box 3 Folder 1
Nevada (BB 36), 1944-1991, undated

Includes a copy of Nevada's Operation Neptune action report.

Box 3 Folder 2
Oklahoma (BB 37), 1958-1980, undated
Box 3 Folder 3
Pennsylvania (BB 38), 1958, 1991, undated
Box 3 Folder 4
Arizona (BB 39), 1958, undated
Box 3 Folder 5
New Mexico (BB 40), 1951, undated
Box 3 Folder 6
Mississippi (BB 41), 1956-1958, undated
Box 3 Folder 7
Idaho (BB 42), 1951, 1960, undated
Box 3 Folder 8
Tennessee (BB 43), 1944-1957, undated
Box 3 Folder 9
California (BB 44), 1956, 1990, undated
Box 3 Folder 10
Colorado (BB 45), 1950, undated
Box 3 Folder 11
Maryland (BB 46), 1958, undated
Box 4 Folder 1
Washington (BB 47), undated
Box 4 Folder 2
West Virginia (BB 48), 1950-1991, undated
Box 4 Folder 3
South Dakota Class (BB 49 to 54), undated
Box 4 Folder 4-5
North Carolina (BB 55), 1941-1983, undated
Box 4 Folder 6
Washington (BB 56), 1957, undated
Box 4 Folder 7
South Dakota (BB 57), 1951-1973, undated
Box 4 Folder 8
Indiana (BB 58), 1950, undated
Box 4 Folder 9
Massachusetts (BB 59), 1950, 1962, undated
Box 4 Folder 10
Alabama (BB 60), 1957, 1964, undated
Box 4 Folder 11
Iowa (BB 61), 1952-1990, undated

Includes Iowa's war diaries and action reports during the Korean War (April-October 1952).

Box 5 Folder 1-4
Iowa (BB 61), 1952-1990, undated

Includes Iowa's war diaries and action reports during the Korean War (April-October 1952).

Box 5 Folder 5-6
New Jersey (BB 62), 1951-1983, undated

Includes New Jersey's war diaries during the Korean War (May-November 1951 and April-October 1953) and a recommissioning packet from 1968.

Box 5 Folder 7-8
Missouri (BB 63), 1945-1991, undated

Includes Missouri's war diaries from the Korean War (August 1950-March 1951 and October 1952-April 1953), her war diary for January 1946, and an action report from the end of hostilities in World War II.

Box 5 Folder 9-10
Wisconsin (BB 64), 1951-1988, undated

Includes Wisconsin's war diaries from the Korean War (November 1951-March 1952).

Box 5 Folder 11
Montana Class (BB 67 to 71), undated

Subseries 1c: Subject Files, 1929-1989 Boxes 5-6

Subseries Description

Reference materials and notes compiled by Edwards in researching his manuscript, United States Line-Of-Battle Ships. Consisting primarily of articles from publications such as United States Naval Institute Proceedings and Shipmate, the materials focus on such topics as American naval history, battleship development, the reactivation of Iowa Class battleships in the 1980's, naval terms, and the biographies of prominent American battleship commanders. In addition to clippings, the subseries includes notes, battle reports, and pamphlets.

Among the files are two World War II battle reports on the use of convoys and the capture of Iwo Jima. Also included in the subseries is a copy of The United States Fleet by Frederick Edwards and a highly abridged version of Tora, Tora, Tora! by Gordon Prange.

Subseries Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by topic.

Box 5 Folder 12
Armored Cruisers, 1963, undated
Box 6 Folder 1
Battleships (General), 1960-1989, undated
Box 6 Folder 2
Chief of Naval Operations, 1974, undated
Box 6 Folder 3
Convoy and Routing, 1945

Copy of "History of Convoy and Routing," from Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet and Commander Tenth Fleet.

Box 6 Folder 4
Displacement and Speed of Naval Ships, 1953, undated
Box 6 Folder 5
Fisher, John Arbuthnot Fisher, Baron, 1959, undated
Box 6 Folder 6
Four and Five Star Rank, 1969, 1981
Box 6 Folder 7
Hughes, Charles F., undated
Box 6 Folder 8
Iwo Jima, 1945

Copy of Commander Amphibious Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet's, Report on the Capture of Iwo Jima.

Box 6 Folder 9
Lee, Willis A., Jr., undated
Box 6 Folder 10
"Legends and Paradoxes of History", 1963-1965, undated

Clippings on topics such as the debate over who discovered the New World, the genesis of Thanksgiving, and where the Gettysburg Address was written.

Box 6 Folder 11
Marjorie Sterrett Award, undated
Box 6 Folder 12
Mary Rose, 1982
Box 6 Folder 13
Midshipmen Practice Cruise of 1934, undated
Box 6 Folder 14
Miscellaneous Notes, undated
Box 6 Folder 15
Naval Bibliography, 1960, 1989
Box 6 Folder 16
Naval Definitions, undated
Box 6 Folder 17
Navy Vessels Authorization Act of 1954, 1954

Full text of the Authorization Act.

Box 6 Folder 18
Navy Vessels - Lists, undated

Table of ships to be commissioned in the early 1960's as well as a list of aircraft carriers.

Box 6 Folder 19
Pratt, William Veazie, 1963
Box 6 Folder 20
Rodman, Hugh, undated

Includes a copy of C. G. Halpine's "The Pacific Comes into Its Own: Being a History of the Memorable Cruise Made by the United States Pacific Fleet under Admiral Hugh Rodman, U.S. Navy, from Hampton Roads, Virginia to San Diego, California, July 19 to August 7, 1919."

Box 6 Folder 21
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1958, 1981
Box 6 Folder 22
Ship Classifications, 1969, undated
Box 6 Folder 23
Slide Rules, 1935
Box 6 Folder 24
Tora, Tora, Tora!, 1963

Condensed and published by Reader's Digest.

Box 6 Folder 25
Truxtun-Decatur Naval Museum, undated
Box 6 Folder 26
The United States Fleet, 1929

Pictorial booklet by Edwards.

Box 6 Folder 27
United States Naval History (General), 1973-1987, undated

Includes an article by Neville T. Kirk on the history of Proceedings.

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Series 2: Scrapbooks, 1920-1923 Boxes 7-8

Series Description

A single scrapbook, housed in two parts, kept by Edwards while a midshipman as a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1923. The scrapbook focuses primarily on Naval Academy training cruises, Naval Academy grounds, athletics, and imagery of American battleships. Included in the scrapbook are clippings, photographs, postcards, and ephemera, as well as several memorandums and art prints.

The clippings in the first half of the scrapbook focus on such topics as Army-Navy Baseball, American naval involvement in the Greco-Turkish War, a naval parade in Halifax, Navy Football, battleship launchings, and the inauguration of Warren G. Harding. Also among the clippings are a series of letters about Naval Academy life by Edwards published in local newspapers. The photographs and postcards focus primarily on life at the Naval Academy and summer practice cruises, namely the 1920 cruise. Images of the Naval Academy include those depicting Academy buildings and grounds (including shop spaces and temporary officer quarters), dress parades, the Razz Parade, Bill the Goat, submarines at the Academy, and the original Chapel dome at night. Images form the practice cruises include the Panama Canal, various battleships, Honolulu, Seattle, Lisbon, Oslo (referred to as Kristiania), Morocco, Trinidad, and Halifax.

The clippings of the second half of the scrapbook focus on the construction of the airship U.S.S. Shenandoah, the sinking of U.S.S. Iowa (Battleship: BB-4) as a target, the launching of U.S.S. Maryland (Battleship: BB-46), and fleet maneuvers off Panama. Photographs in the second half of the scrapbook include additional summer practice cruise images from Norway, California, and Lisbon (including bull fights, street scenes, and Belem Tower). Much of the scrapbook however, is composed of halftone postcards depicting views of the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Panama, the Panama Canal, Honolulu, Seattle, Oslo (referred to as Kristiania or Christiania), San Francisco, San Diego, Santiago de Cuba, Gibraltar, and New York City.

Series Arrangement

Arranged in two parts.

Box 7[OS]

Scrapbook, 1920-1923

Box 8[OS]

Scrapbook, 1920-1923

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