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L. E. Crist Papers, 1914-1964: Finding Aid

Published in February 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 550
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: L. E. Crist Papers
  • Dates: 1914-1964
  • Size: 4.17 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 2 manuscript boxes, 2 flat boxes
  • Creator: Crist, LeMerton Edson, 1900-1964
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: LeMerton Edson Crist was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1923. The L. E. Crist Papers span from 1914 to 1964. While spanning the entirety of Crist's career in the United States Navy, the papers focus specifically on Crist's time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, early duty aboard U.S.S. California (Battleship: BB-44), duty aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-59) during the Battle of Casablanca, command of U.S.S. Grundy (Attack transport: APA-111) at the end of World War II, and duty as the first commanding officer of U.S.S. Spokane (Light cruiser: CL-120).

Biographical Chronology of LeMerton Edson Crist

  • Born on July 25 in Osceola, Iowa.
  • On May 30, graduates from Osceola High School.
  • Appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Iowa.
  • In June, graduates from the United States Naval Academy and commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy.
  • Attached to U.S.S. California (Battleship: BB-44).
  • In June, assigned to the staff of Admiral Samuel S. Robison, Commander in Chief Battle Fleet aboard U.S.S. California as Communications Officer.
  • In May, detached from the staff of Admiral Samuel S. Robison and returns to regular duty aboard U.S.S. California.
  • On June 8, promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).
  • In July, reports to the Naval Postgraduate School in Annapolis for instruction in Chemical Engineering.
  • In June, receives a Master of Science in engineering from the University of Michigan.
  • On August 1, promoted to Lieutenant.
  • On August 9, marries Dorothy Ann Orem.
  • Assigned to instruction at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
  • In June, attached to U.S.S. Omaha (Light cruiser: CL-4).
  • In June, detached from U.S.S. Omaha for instruction at the Naval Powder Factory in Indianhead, Maryland.
  • In July, attached to U.S.S. Vestal (Repair ship: AR-4).
  • In May, detached from U.S.S. Vestal and assigned to duty aboard U.S.S. McDougal (Destroyer: DD-358).
  • On June 23, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • In June, assigned to duty at the Washington Navy Yard.
  • In March, detached from the Navy Yard for duty in connection with the fitting out of U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-59).
  • On May 12, assumes duty as Gunnery Officer of U.S.S. Massachusetts upon her commissioning.
  • On June 30, promoted to Commander.
  • In November, participates in operations against French Morocco during Operation Torch.
  • On May 1, promoted to Captain.
  • On January 31, reports as Ordnance Officer at the New York Navy Yard.
  • In October, assumes command of U.S.S. Grundy (Attack transport: APA-111).
  • In March, detached from U.S.S. Grundy for duty in connection with fitting out U.S.S. Spokane (Light cruiser: CL-120).
  • On May 17, assumes command of U.S.S. Spokane upon her commissioning.
  • In May, reports for duty in the Planning Division of the Bureau of Ordnance.
  • In June, assumes duties as Fiscal Director, Bureau of Ordnance.
  • On April 21, retires from the United States Navy.
  • On February 23, appointed Justice of the Peace for Calvert County and designated Trial Magistrate for La Plata, Maryland.
  • In March, competes in the Republican Primary for Maryland State Senate.
  • On October 27, dies at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.
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Description of Contents

The L. E. Crist Papers, comprising 4.17 linear feet of documentation, span from 1914 to 1964. While spanning the entirety of Crist's career in the United States Navy, the papers focus specifically on Crist's time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, early duty aboard U.S.S. California (Battleship: BB-44), duty aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-59) during the Battle of Casablanca, command of U.S.S. Grundy (Attack transport: APA-111) at the end of World War II, and duty as the first commanding officer of U.S.S. Spokane (Light cruiser: CL-120).

Included in the collection are photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, orders, itineraries, ships' newspapers, memorandums, certificates, event programs, menus, and other printed ephemera.

The L. E. Crist Papers are arranged into two series by document type. Textual documentation of Crist's U.S. Navy career, particularly correspondence, orders, itineraries, scrapbooks, and newspaper coverage, is held in Series 1: General Files. These files focus predominantly on Crist's command of U.S.S. Spokane (Light cruiser: CL-120) from her construction through her time with the 2nd Fleet in England, while also touching upon Crist's studies at the Naval Academy, first duty aboard U.S.S. California (Battleship: BB-44), the Battle of Casablanca, and the troop quarantine aboard U.S.S. Grundy (Attack transport: APA-111). Although Series 1 also includes photographs as part of Crist's Naval Academy scrapbook, the bulk of the collection's photographs are housed in Series 2: Photographs. Topically, the photographs align with the files found in Series 1, with the addition of U.S.S. Omaha (Light cruiser: CL-4), aboard which Crist served in the early 1930's.

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The L. E. Crist Papers are organized into the following two series:

  • Series 1: General Files, 1914-1964
  • Series 2: Photographs, 1919-1956
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The L. E. Crist 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 the Duffield Family of La Plata, Maryland. Accession No. 20-01.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to LeMerton Edson Crist can be found in his Alumni Jacket and Midshipman Personnel Jacket.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

L. E. Crist Papers, MS 550

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

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

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • California (Battleship : BB-44)
  • Crist, LeMerton Edson, 1900-1964
  • Grundy (Attack transport : APA-111)
  • Massachusetts (Battleship : BB-59)
  • Operation Torch, 1942
  • Spokane (Light cruiser : CL-120)
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
  • United States. Navy -- Sea life

Genre Terms

  • Certificates
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Itineraries
  • Manuscripts
  • Orders (Military records)
  • Photographs
  • Programs (documents)
  • Scrapbooks
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Contents List

Series 1: General Files, 1914-1964 Boxes 1, 3-4

Series Description

Documentation of Crist's career in the United States Navy, as well as his studies at the United States Naval Academy. Specifically, the files focus on Crist's command of U.S.S. Spokane (Light cruiser: CL-120), including her launching, commissioning, and European port calls, as well as Crist's resulting relationship with the City of Spokane, Washington. To a letter extent, the papers pertain to Crist's command of U.S.S. Grundy (Attack transport: APA-111) during her quarantine in Portland while transporting American service members home from World War II, his service aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (Battleship: BB-59) during Operation Torch and the Battle of Casablanca, his first duty as a commissioned officer aboard U.S.S. California (Battleship: BB-44) in the early 1920's, and his training cruises and academic performance while a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. Included in the series are clippings, letters (primarily incoming), itineraries, scrapbooks, orders, memorandums, speeches, postal cachets, academic transcripts, ships' newspapers, menus, invitations, event programs, and other items of printed ephemera.

A scrapbook from Crist's time at the Naval Academy is composed overwhelmingly of photographs, but has been retained in this series. Additional photographs from Crist's time at the Academy are available in Series 2: Photographs.

Also contained in the series is a limited amount of documentation pertaining to Crist's post U. S. Navy life, including credentials and clippings from his time as a judge in Southern Maryland and a brief mention of his campaign for Maryland State Senate.

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by document type.

Box 1 Folder 1

Academic Transcripts, 1919-1920

Crist's Naval Academy monthly reports of relative standing and marks.

Box 3[OS] Folder 1

Artwork, 1944-1946

Includes a caricature of Crist.

Box 1 Folder 2

Biographical Sketches, 1946-1949

Box 1 Folder 3

Bulletins, 1947

Copies of the BUORD Daily Bulletin and Spokane affairs, the latter of which pertains to Navy Day 1947.

Box 1 Folder 4

Certificates, 1947

Navy League and Spokane Press Club certificates from Navy Day events.

Box 1 Folder 5

Chart, 1935

Chart of the Potomac River from Lower Cedar Point to Mattawoman Creek, featuring several annotations by Crist.

Box 1 Folder 6

Clippings, 1925-1927

Coverage of Crist's time aboard U.S.S. California, as well as the movie industry.

Box 1 Folder 7

Clippings, 1942

Crist's service aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts and the Naval Battle of Casablanca.

Box 1 Folder 8

Clippings, 1945-1946

U.S.S. Grundy's quarantine in Portland due to small pox, and the ship's basketball team.

Box 1 Folder 9

Clippings, 1946-1947

U.S.S. Spokane's launching and commissioning, as well as 1947 Navy Day celebrations in Spokane, Washington and a recounting of the Battle of Casablanca.

Box 3[OS] Folder 2

Clippings, 1946-1947

U.S.S. Spokane's shakedown and 1947 Navy Day.

Box 3[OS] Folder 3

Clippings, 1962

Front page of the Maryland Independent listing Crist as a candidate for Senate.

Box 1 Folder 10

Clippings, undated

Includes a summation of Crist's World War II experiences and an article hailing from Crist's time as a judge in La Plata, Maryland.

Box 1 Folder 11

Commissioning Procedures, 1946

Captain's procedures for the commissioning of U.S.S. Spokane.

Box 1 Folder 12

Correspondence, 1943

Correspondence with Samuel Eliot Morison regarding the Battle of Casablanca.

Box 1 Folder 13

Correspondence, 1944-1945

Includes a four leaf clover given to the men of U.S.S. Grundy.

Box 1 Folder 14

Correspondence, 1946 May-June

Congratulations on and RSVP's to U.S.S. Spokane's commissioning.

Box 1 Folder 15

Correspondence, 1946 October-December

U.S.S. Spokane's port calls in England and Crist's invitations to Foreign Service officers for Christmas dinner. Also includes a transcript of Christmas greetings from the Mayor of Spokane to U.S.S. Spokane's crew and a Christmas card from Viscount Leverhulme.

Box 1 Folder 16

Correspondence, 1947 January-March

Includes letters regarding Crist's request to be assigned to the National War College, as well as thank you notes and personal inquiries.

Box 1 Folder 17

Correspondence, 1947 April

Includes thank you notes, communications from the Spokane Chamber of Commerce, and letters in preparation for Crist's relief of command of U.S.S. Spokane. Correspondents include Admiral Sousa Ventura of Portugal, Admiral Thore Horve of Norway, Admiral A. H. Vedel of Denmark, and numerous Foreign Service officers.

Box 1 Folder 18

Correspondence, 1947 May-June

Includes a thank you note from Admiral Thore Horve, as well as a copy of the U.S.S. Spokane's ship's song.

Box 1 Folder 19

Correspondence, 1947 July-August

Crist's speaking engagement at Navy Day 1947 in Spokane.

Box 1 Folder 20

Correspondence, 1947 October-November

Crist's speaking engagement at Navy Day 1947 in Spokane.

Box 1 Folder 21

Correspondence, 1948-1964 (approximate)

Includes a condolence letter from Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze.

Box 1 Folder 22

Event Programs, 1927-1931

Programs for Silver Lake Auto Races and a piano recital by Austin Conradi at St. John's College, as well as racing cards for Laurel Park and the Panama Kennel Club.

Box 1 Folder 23

Historical Sketches, undated

Brief histories of Spokane, Washington.

Box 1 Folder 24

Identification Cards, undated

Includes an engraved printing plate for Crist's calling card as captain of U.S.S. Spokane.

Box 1 Folder 25

Invitations, 1919-1948

Invitations for the 1919 Naval Academy Farewell Ball, commissioning of U.S.S. Spokane, and a reception with First Lady Bess Truman at the White House.

Box 1 Folder 26

Itineraries/Plans of the Day, 1926

Program for the funeral exercises of Captain Raymond Delancey Hasbrouck.

Box 1 Folder 27

Itineraries/Plans of the Day, 1943-1945

Miscellaneous plans of the day for U.S.S. Massachusetts and U.S.S. Grundy.

Box 1 Folder 28

Itineraries/Plans of the Day, 1946

Itineraries and programs for U.S.S. Spokane's visits to Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, Londonderry, and Copenhagen.

Box 1 Folder 29

Mailing Lists, undated

Box 1 Folder 30

Memorandums, 1925-1927

Regarding publication of the U.S.S. California Cub and congratulations for the overall performance of U.S.S. California.

Box 1 Folder 31

Memorandums, 1943-1947

Memos regarding return of shore duty ordnance officers to the Fleet and etiquette for the men of U.S.S. Spokane while in European waters.

Box 1 Folder 32

Menus, 1946, undated

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner menus for U.S.S. Grundy, U.S.S. Spokane, and an unidentified vessel.

Box 1 Folder 33

Orders (Received), 1942-1947

Box 1 Folder 34

Orders (Received) - Medical Leave, 1949-1950

Box 1 Folder 35

Orders (Received) - Retirement, 1950

Box 1 Folder 36

Postal Cachets and Covers, 1944, undated

Three cachets from U.S.S. Spokane and a first day cover from U.S.S. Missouri.

Box 1 Folder 37

Publications, 1920-1949

Includes How to Respect and Display Our Flag, Life of John Paul Jones by William O. Stevens, and "The Laws of the Navy," by Captain R. A. Hopwood.

Box 4[OS] Folder 1

Scrapbook, 1914-1951

Primarily certificates, including Crist's public school diplomas, Naval Academy diplomas, U.S. Navy commissions and certifications, crossing-the-line certificates, and graduate degrees, and Justice of the Peace certificate. Also includes certificates for Dorothy Orem Crist.

Box 4[OS] Folder 2

Scrapbook, 1918-1920

Naval Academy scrapbook featuring images of the 1919 training cruise and dress parades, as well as portraits of Crist, the Class of 1922, and the football team. Also includes programs and ephemera for musical events and Masqueraders performances.

Box 1 Folder 38

Ships' Newspapers, 1925-1927

Issues of the U.S.S. California Cub and Mississippi Bulletin.

Box 1 Folder 39

Ships' Newspapers, 1942-1945

Christmas issue of U.S.S. Massachusetts' Bay Stater and one issue of U.S.S. Grundy's The Sternsheet.

Box 1 Folder 40

Speeches, 1927-1928

Remarks by Major General C. P. Summerall on the human element of war and by Representative Fletcher Hale on inequality of pay in the Navy.

Box 1 Folder 41

Yearbook - U.S.S. Massachusetts, 1943

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Series 2: Photographs, 1919-1956 Boxes 1-3

Series Description

Black-and-white photographs from both Crist's Navy career and personal life. The naval photographs focus particularly on daily life aboard U.S.S. California (Battleship: BB-44) in the 1920's, Christmas aboard U.S.S. Grundy (Attack transport: APA-111) during her quarantine in Portland, and the construction, launching, commissioning, and European port calls of U.S.S. Spokane (Light cruiser: CL-120). Crist's personal photographs tend to consist of portraits of family members and friends.

Photographs from Crist's time as a midshipman include images from the 1919 training cruise, the crew team, and a single photograph of the Naval Academy Chapel. Additional photographs of Crist's time as a midshipman can be found in his Academy scrapbook in Series 1.

Depictions of other vessels in the series include an engraving of U.S.S. Virginia (Battleship: BB-13) and photographs of U.S.S. Omaha (Light cruiser: CL-4).

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by topic.

Box 1 Folder 42

Events - Cake Cutting at Indian Head Naval Powder Factory, 1956

Box 1 Folder 43

Events - Press Club Party, 1947

Held by the Spokane Press Club for Captain Crist.

Box 1 Folder 44

Events - Wilson, Robert F. Retirement, undated

Box 1 Folder 45

Events - Unidentified, undated

Box 1 Folder 46

Places - Australia and New Zealand, undated

Includes a photograph of a Maori reception in Rotorua.

Box 1 Folder 47

Places - Denmark, 1946 (approximate)

Tour of Tuborg Brewery, Copenhagen with Prince Knud.

Box 1 Folder 48

Places - Great Britain, 1946 (approximate)

Includes images of the Forth Bridge, and Royal Observatory and Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

Box 1 Folder 49

Places - Norway, 1946 (approximate)

Image of the Vigeland Sculptures in Frogner Park, Oslo.

Box 1 Folder 50

Places - Panama, undated

Street scene and cathedral in Panama City.

Box 1 Folder 51

Places - United States (Hawaii), undated

Includes images of Navy flying boats in formation over Hawaii, as well as the Honolulu piers and Aloha Tower.

Box 1 Folder 52

Places - United States (Mount Rainier), undated

Box 1 Folder 53

Places - United States (Southern California), 1933

Commercial images of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake.

Box 2 Folder 1

Places - United States (Spokane), 1947

Commemorative album from the Spokane Chamber of Commerce. Also includes images of Grand Coulee Dam.

Box 2 Folder 2

Places - Unidentified, undated

Includes images of field artillery firing.

Box 2 Folder 3

Portraits (Groups) - Family and Friends, undated

Box 2 Folder 4

Portraits (Groups) - Miscellaneous, 1946, undated

Primarily groups of Naval officers and crews. Includes images of a ship's radio station. Also includes an image of two Naval officers in a comic strip.

Box 3[OS] Folder 4

Portraits (Groups) - Miscellaneous, undated

Box 2 Folder 5

Portraits (Groups) - New York Navy Yard Ordnance Personnel, 1945

Album presented to Crist by his staff.

Box 2 Folder 6

Portraits (Individuals) - Crist, L. E., undated

Box 3[OS] Folder 5

Portraits (Individuals) - Crist, L. E., undated

Box 2 Folder 7

Portraits (Individuals) - Family and Friends, 1947, undated

Box 2 Folder 8

Portraits (Individuals) - Unidentified, undated

Box 2 Folder 9

Ships - U.S.S. California, undated

Includes photographs of California dry docked.

Box 2 Folder 10

Ships - U.S.S. California (Aircraft), 1924, undated

Includes photographs of the loss of one of California's scout planes.

Box 2 Folder 11

Ships - U.S.S. California (At Sea), 1924, undated

Includes a photograph of the battleships of the Pacific Fleet in formation.

Box 2 Folder 12

Ships - U.S.S. California (Baseball), 1927

Box 2 Folder 13

Ships - U.S.S. California (Boxing), 1925, undated

Includes at least one photograph from the filming of Lon Chaney's Tell It to the Marines.

Box 2 Folder 14

Ships - U.S.S. California (Shipboard Life), undated

Recreational activities and inspections.

Box 2 Folder 15

Ships - U.S.S. California (Weapons and Weapon Drills), 1924, undated

Box 2 Folder 16

Ships - U.S.S. Grundy, 1945, undated

Box 2 Folder 17

Ships - U.S.S. Grundy (Basketball Teams), 1946, undated

Box 2 Folder 18

Ships - U.S.S. Grundy (Christmas), 1945

Box 2 Folder 19

Ships - U.S.S. Omaha, undated

Includes an image of Omaha passing under St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon.

Box 3[OS] Folder 6

Ships - U.S.S. Omaha, undated

Box 2 Folder 20

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane, 1946, undated

Box 3[OS] Folder 7

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane, undated

Box 2 Folder 21

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Commissioning), 1946 May 17

Box 2 Folder 22

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Construction), undated

Box 2 Folder 23

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Launching), 1945 September 22

Box 2 Folder 24

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Navy Day, London), 1946

Box 2 Folder 25

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Shipboard Life and Events), 1946 (approximate)

Includes images of religious services, provisioning at sea, dental services, and a tour by Royal Navy officers.

Box 2 Folder 26

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Shipboard Life and Events), 1946, undated

Box 2 Folder 27

Ships - U.S.S. Spokane (Silver Service), undated

Box 2 Folder 28

Ships - U.S.S. Virginia, undated

Box 2 Folder 29

Ships - Unidentified, 1946 (approximate)

Box 3[OS] Folder 8

Ships - Unidentified, undated

Battleships in formation, likely of the Pacific Fleet.

Box 2 Folder 30

Ships - Unidentified (Shipboard Life), undated

Images of sailors caring for rabbits on deck.

Box 2 Folder 31

Shore Stations - Unidentified, 1932

Possible image of gas mask training.

Box 3[OS] Folder 9

United States Naval Academy - Chapel, 1922 (approximate)

Box 2 Folder 32

United States Naval Academy - Crew, undated

Crew team rowing on College Creek.

Box 2 Folder 33

United States Naval Academy - Cruises and Training, 1919 (approximate), undated

Primarily duplicates of photographs in Crist's midshipman scrapbook.

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