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Theodore A. Curtin Papers, 1945-1969 (bulk 1945-1949): Finding Aid

Published in March 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 551
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Theodore A. Curtin Papers
  • Dates: 1945-1969
  • Bulk Dates: 1945-1949
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Curtin, Theodore A.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Theodore A. Curtin was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1949. The Theodore A. Curtin Papers span from 1945 to 1949, with one additional document from 1969. The papers, consisting mainly of a scrapbook, focus on Curtin's experiences as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, while also including a copy of his master's thesis on the historical relationship between Norfolk and the United States Navy.

Biography of Theodore A. Curtin

Theodore Albert Curtin was born on February 27, 1926 in Norwood, Massachusetts. In 1943, Curtin joined the U.S. Navy Reserve and enrolled in the V-12 Navy College Training Program at Harvard University the following year. In 1945, he was admitted to the United States Naval Academy as a member of the Class of 1949. After receiving his commission, he was attached to U.S.S. Juneau (Light cruiser: CL-119) until 1951, after which he attended CIC Officers School in Glenview, Illinois. Returning to the Fleet in 1952, Curtin was attached to U.S.S. Vammen for her recommissioning and service during the Korean War.

In 1953, Curtin attended Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, and subsequently served the remainder of his Navy career in submarines. His first duty as a submariner came aboard U.S.S. Grouper (Submarine: SS-214) in 1954, following that boat's conversion to an attack submarine. In 1955, he was attached to U.S.S. Atule (Submarine: SS-403), after which he spent two years as a reserve recruiter in Boston. Curtin returned to sea duty in 1958 as Executive Officer of U.S.S. Cubera (Submarine: SS-347). Duty on the staff of Submarine Squadron 6 followed in 1960, after which Curtin received his first command, captaining U.S.S. Argonaut (Submarine: SS-475) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1964, he joined the staff of Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (OPTEVFOR) until joining the Submarine Operations staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet in 1966.

During his final two shore duties, Curtin pursued a Master of Arts in History from Old Dominion. With the completion of that degree, Curtin retired from the United States Navy in 1969. Following his retirement, Curtin embarked on a career as a social studies teacher, teaching first at Norfolk Catholic High School before returning to Norwood, Massachusetts in 1970 to teach at Norwood Senior High School until 1977.

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Description of Contents

The Theodore A. Curtin Papers, comprising 0.42 linear feet of documentation, span from 1945 to 1949, with one additional document from 1969. The papers, consisting mainly of a scrapbook, focus on Curtin's experiences as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, while also including a copy of his master's thesis on the historical relationship between Norfolk and the United States Navy.

Included in the scrapbook are clippings, pamphlets, regulations, menus, event programs, match books, tickets, postcards, beer labels, liberty passes, and stamps. The thesis consists of a single typescript.

The Theodore A. Curtin Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type into a single series with no subdivisions. The central focus of the collection is Curtin's midshipman scrapbook, which covers such topics as Curtin's arrival at the Academy, Plebe Summer experiences (induction, rifle training), the Naval Academy Centennial, June Week events (for 1946, 1947, and 1948), the 1946 Youngster Cruise aboard U.S.S. Washington (with port calls in Norfolk, New York, and Cristobal), the 1947 Second Class Cruise (with port calls in Edinburgh, Gothenburg, Weymouth, and London), the 1948 First Class Cruise aboard U.S.S. Macon (with port calls in Lisbon, Livorno, and Rome), Midshipman/West Point Cadet exchanges, Army-Navy Games (1946 and 1948), Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinners at the Academy, distinguished visitors to the Academy (including General Charles De Gaulle and Viscount Alexander of Tunis), curriculum changes under James L. Holloway, William B. Ziff's commentaries on Ireland, Masquerader and Musical Club Performances (including productions of Hubba Hubba, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Arsenic and Old Lace), the discontinuation of bell bottoms from Navy uniforms, and Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll. Also included in the scrapbook are a copy of the Naval Academy edition of "A Message to Garcia," Plebe Summer instructions and regulations for 1945, drafts of a letter to the Commandant for returning late from leave, and a clipping pertaining to Curtin's meeting Pope Pius XII.

The collection also includes a typescript copy of Curtin's master's thesis, entitled A Marriage of Convenience: Norfolk and the Navy Yard, 1917-1967, which was completed in 1969 in fulfillment of Curtin's Master of Arts in History from Old Dominion.

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The Theodore A. Curtin Papers are arranged alphabetically by topic.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Theodore A. Curtin 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 Theodore A. Curtin in June 1980. Accession No. 80-14.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Theodore A. Curtin in this repository can be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket (sealed until 2031) and his Alumni Jacket.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Loosed items were removed from the scrapbook and foldered during processing.

Preferred Citation

Theodore A. Curtin Papers, MS 551

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Curtin, Theodore Albert Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

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

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Curtin, Theodore A.
  • Naval education -- United States
  • Norfolk (Va.) -- History
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
  • United States Naval Academy -- Social life and customs
  • United States Naval Academy -- Sports
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1949

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Scrapbooks
  • Theses>
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Scrapbook, 1945-1949

Box 1 Folder 2

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Army-Navy Game Clippings, 1948

Box 1 Folder 3

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Calling Card, undated

Box 1 Folder 4

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Chapel Services, 1948

Service schedule for Lent.

Box 1 Folder 5

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Christmas Dinner Menu, 1948

Box 1 Folder 6

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Cruise, First Class, 1948

Plans of the day, minstrel show program, and advertisements for Lisbon businesses.

Box 1 Folder 7

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Cruise, Second Class, 1947

Box 1 Folder 8

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Dances, 1948-1949

Ring Dance planning document and E Dance invitation.

Box 1 Folder 9

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Leave, Liberty, and Excusals, 1948-1949

Leave requests, sick leave slips, and liberty passes.

Box 1 Folder 10

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Masqueraders and Combined Musical Clubs, 1949

Programs for the June Week Concert and Arsenic and Old Lace.

Box 1 Folder 11

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Naval Uniform Shop Invoices, undated

Box 1 Folder 12

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Newman Club, undated

Box 1 Folder 13

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - St. Augustine's Variety Revue Tickets, 1949

Box 1 Folder 14

Scrapbook (Loose Items) - Stamps and Cancellations, 1948-1949

Box 1 Folder 15

Thesis: A Marriage of Convenience: Norfolk and the Navy Yard, 1917-1967, 1969

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