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Ralph E. Pope Papers, 1906-1945 (bulk 1906-1930): Finding Aid

Published in November 2021

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 556
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Ralph E. Pope Papers
  • Dates: 1906-1945
  • Bulk Dates: 1906-1930
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Pope, R. E. (Ralph Elton), 1875-1959
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Ralph E. Pope was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1899. The Ralph E. Pope Papers span from 1906 to 1930, with one document dating from no earlier than 1945. The papers are primarily the product of two periods in Pope's United States Navy career: his convoy duty in World War I and his duty as an instructor in seamanship at the Naval Academy.

Biographical Chronology of Ralph Elton Pope

  • Born on January 28 in Wisconsin, son of George Pope.
  • On May 20, admitted to the United States Naval Academy from Nebraska as a member of the Class of 1899.
  • On May 25, detached from the Naval Academy for duty aboard U.S.S. Texas (Battleship) during the Spanish-American War.
  • On January 28, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • On January 30, assigned to mandatory sea service, with duty aboard U.S.S. Baltimore (Protected cruiser: C-3) on the Asiatic Station.
  • On January 13, ordered to duty aboard U.S.S. Don Juan de Austria (Gunboat).
  • On February 6, ordered to temporary duty aboard U.S.S. Monadnock (Monitor: BM-3).
  • On January 28, commissioned as an Ensign.
  • On October 22, ordered to duty aboard U.S.S. Marblehead (Cruiser: C-11).
  • In July, promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).
  • On July 12, assigned to the United States Naval Academy as an instructor in Seamanship, with additional duty in the Department of Ordnance and Gunnery.
  • In July, promoted to Lieutenant.
  • In June, attached to U.S.S. Severn (Training ship), followed by duty aboard U.S.S. Connecticut (Battleship: BB-18) and U.S.S. Alabama (Battleship: BB-8).
  • On December 25, granted sick leave.
  • On April 1, attached to U.S.S. Idaho (Battleship: BB-24).
  • On May 28,ordered to the United States Naval Academy for duty in the Seamanship Department.
  • On Marcy 15, attached to U.S.S. Maryland (Cruiser: CA-8).
  • On July 1, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • On April 23, assigned to duty as Aide to the Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard.
  • On July 1, promoted to Commander.
  • In November, assumes command of U.S.S. Surveyor (Steamer) for convey escort duty.
  • On July 1, temporarily promoted to Captain.
  • On August 21, assumes command of U.S.S. Martha Washington (Transport) in connection with General James Harbord's mission to the Middle-East.
  • On December 14, ordered to duty at the Charleston Navy Yard.
  • On July 1, permanently promoted to Captain.
  • In December, ordered to assume command of U.S.S. Galveston (Light cruiser: CL-19).
  • On January 8, assumes command of U.S.S. Antares (Cargo ship: AG-10).
  • On June 17, attached to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
  • On June 20, assigned to the Naval War College for instruction.
  • On June 29, assumes command of U.S.S. Memphis (Light cruiser: CL-13).
  • On July 2, assigned to the Bureau of Navigation.
  • On August 4, appointed Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.
  • On January 16, appointed Chief of Staff on the staff of the Commander, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet.
  • On June 22, appointed Chief of Staff of the 13th Naval District in Seattle.
  • On June 30, transferred to the Retired List wit the rank of Rear Admiral.
  • In November, returned to active duty for service in the Office of Price Administration as Chairman of the Gasoline Panel in Coronado, California.
  • On May 13, dies in Coronado, California.
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Description of Contents

The Ralph E. Pope Papers, comprising 0.42 linear feet of documentation, span from 1906 to 1930, with one document dating from no earlier than 1945. The papers are primarily the product of two periods in Pope's United States Navy career: his convoy duty in World War I and his duty as an instructor in seamanship at the Naval Academy.

Included in the collection are war diaries, orders, memorandums, articles, manuscripts, and a scrapbook.

The Pope Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type and title into a single series with no subdivisions. Roughly half of the collection is devoted to World War I, consisting of documents produced as a result of Pope's wartime service, as well as published analyses of the war's naval actions. Documents from Pope's service are contained in a volume entitled "R.E. Pope, USN 1917-1919 Memoranda." Two thirds of the volume comprise the combined war diary of Pope's command of U.S.S. Surveyor from January 1 through November 6, 1918 covering Surveyor's convoy escort duty, including her movement orders, convoy action reports (Convoys OM-50, G-Ga-11, Ga-G-12, G-Ga-18, G-B-32, attacks on G-B-35, G-Ga-48, and G-B-74), memoranda on the sinking of S.S. Suzette Fraisinette (May 1918), the torpedoing of S.S. Sculptor (May 1918), and thoughts on Portuguese society (October 1918). The volume also covers operations from Pope's command of U.S.S. Martha Washington in 1919, and includes Pope's complaints against Commander H. G. S. Wallace, the illness of Mrs. William N. Haskell, personnel transfers, and the transport of General James Harbord's mission to the Middle-East (including biographical sketches of the mission members). A second volume, entitled "World War Notes," consists of a compilation of print resources on submarine warfare and the Battle of Jutland.

The remainder of the collection consists primarily of two additional volumes: a manuscript on naval tactics and a scrapbook. The manuscript, entitled Elementary Naval Tactics, was written by Pope while serving at the United States Naval Academy as an instructor in seamanship and while attached to the Academy's training ship, U.S.S. Severn. The scrapbook, which was started just prior to Pope's second tour as a seamanship instructor at the Academy, includes copies of documents on naval discipline, tactics, and seamanship, in addition to more traditional scrapbook content. The final document in the collection is a chronology of World War II.

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The Ralph E. Pope Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type and title.

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Access and Use


Access to any potentially classified material is restricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Ralph E. Pope 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

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum Rare Manuscripts and Archives in May 2003. Accession No. 07-53.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material in this repository pertaining to Ralph E. Pope includes Pope's Alumni Jacket and Midshipman Conduct Record. Correspondence with Pope can be found in the Dudley Wright Knox papers at the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Ralph E. Pope Papers, MS 556

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers. Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel RG 24, National Archives and Records Administration.

United States. Bureau of Naval Personnel. Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899-1935.

Pope, Ralph Elton Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Register of Candidates for Admission to the Academy, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in October 2021. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in November 2021.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Martha Washington (Troop transport)
  • Naval convoys
  • Naval tactics
  • Pope, R. E. (Ralph Elton), 1875-1959
  • Surveyor (Steamer)
  • World War, 1914-1918 -- Naval operations, American

Genre Terms

  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Logs (records)
  • Manuscripts
  • Reports
  • Scrapbooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Chronology of World War II, undated

Box 1 Folder 2

Elementary Naval Tactics, 1906

Manuscript on naval tactics by Pope, covering such topics as the characteristics of warships, crew morale, tactical drills, and tactical examples from the Battle of Lissa, Chilean Revolution, Sino-Japanese War, Spanish-American War, and the Russo-Japanese War.

Box 1 Folder 3

Memoranda, 1918-1919

War diaries and memorandums from Pope's commands of U.S.S. Surveyor and U.S.S. Martha Washington.

Box 1 Folder 4

Scrapbook, 1908-1930

Includes bawdy poems, the text of the Naval Treaty of 1930, Pope's "Notes on Naval Discipline," Admiral Louis M. Nulton's "A Study of the Relative Movement of Ships," Captain O. L. Cox's "Turning into the Track of the Guide," and quotes by Elbert Hubbard. Begins with diagrams of systems of U.S.S. Arkansas.

Box 1 Folder 5

World War Notes, 1926

Bound compilation of Vice Admiral Andreas Michelsen's "The Submarine Warfare, 1914-1918," Commander H. H. Frost's "An Analysis of Jutland," and "The War at Sea, 1914-1918, North Sea, Volume V."

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