Petticoat Pilots Meeting

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (Manuscript Collection #741)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description:

For decades women faced tremendous hurdles in their desire to become pilots.  In the early years they weren’t allowed to enter into competitions such as the National Air Race because these races were thought to be too dangerous for women.  In 1929 women pilots held their first National Women’s Air Derby.  Humorist Will Rogers, who was the starter for the race, referred to the women pilots as “petticoat pilots and flying flappers” and nicknamed the race the Powder Puff Derby.

This photograph shows a group of women welcoming Petticoat Pilots to the airport at Greenville, North Carolina, in August of 1965.  I don’t know what the occasion was for this group of women pilots gathering, but it is interesting that the nickname for women pilots in 1929 was still being used in 1965.

Information about the Powder Puff Derby came from Karen Bush Gibson’s book titled, Women Aviators:  26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys.

Plan for 7′ 9 Pram

Source: Hagerty Company Collections (EC Manuscript Collection # 1084 Os1)

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: The Douglas Fir Plywood Association founded in 1933 in Tacoma, Washington was one of many trade associations that that were set up following the National Recovery Act. The Association set standards for plywood manufacture and in 1938 became the holder of an industry wide trademark on plywood. Prior to that each manufacturer had their own brand logo. The new DFPA Construction Standard was accepted by the Farm Home Administration for interior and exterior use of FHA approved homes. In addition to developing industry-wide standards the DFPA also promoted consumer use of member plywood. One such promotion is shown here in a plan for a 7′ 9″ pram. Construction techniques for the pram as well as a bill of materials were supplied on this plan dated 1940. During World War II DFPA plywood was used in barracks, life-boats, and gliders. The Hagerty Company of Cohasset, MA constructed PT boats, skiffs, sailboats and dinghies from DFPA plywood.

Military Training in North Carolina Public Schools 1853

Source:  L. H. Smith Papers (#23.1.a.1)

Staff Person:  Jonathan Dembo

Description:  Below is a personal letter from future Edgecombe and Duplin County school teacher, L. H. Smith, to his brother Edward P. Smith.  At the time he wrote this letter, L. H. was teaching at Bradly’s School House, but had not yet earned his teaching certificate.  Edward begins the letter by recounting his search for two of Edward’s mislaid letters and his eventual discovery of  a silver shilling leading him to the comic deduction that Edward’s letter must have contained silver ore.  He promises that if Edward sends him a gold shilling, he will be more careful of it.  However the bulk of the letter describes his experiences teaching at Bradley’s School House, North Carolina.  He focuses on the regular Friday routine.  All his scholars, he writes, “speak”, or recite their lessons, on Friday and he musters all the boys accompanied by a fife and drum.  “The smaller boys”, he writes, “have wooden guns and the larger real ones.”  Apparently, this was something of a social occasion in the community and a matter of serious competition between different schools and schoolmasters.  L. H. reports that “Frank was here last week and see [sic] me drill them.  He says they beat his company.  Some Fridays there is some 25 or thirty people to hear them speak and to see them muster and lots of girls among them.”  L. H. notes that he is writing during recess and has no time to “collect my thoughts” but readers will note numerous errors of spelling and punctuation in the letter.  One hopes that the students benefited more from L. H.’s lessons in reading and arithmetic than they could have from his writing lessons.

Military Training in North Carolina Public Schools 1853

USS Sarda (SS488)

Source: USS Sarda entering Havana, Cuba  Call Number: 818.os1.1

Staff Person: Ken Harbit

Description:

USS Sarda (SS-488), was a Tench-class submarine.  Financed by bonds purchased by the residents of Lynn, Massachusetts, her keel was laid down on 12 April 1945 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. She was launched on 24 August 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Heffernan, the wife of James J. Heffernan, Congressman from New York.

Because World War II had ended a few weeks before the submarine’s launch, a new decision whether to commission or scrap her had to be made. Sarda’s prospective commanding officer grew frustrated with the debate over the fate of his boat. During the months of waiting, he received a small plaque from his father inscribed Illegitimi non Carborundum — “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Up.” After a a hard won fight by her prospective commanding officer, Sarda was commissioned on 19 April 1946 with Commander Chester W. Nimitz, Jr., son of the famous Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, in command.

During the period between launching and commissioning, Sarda, was no longer needed for wartime service. Because of this, her conning tower was made bigger to permit installation of experimental equipment. After commissioning, she conducted her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean Sea, then returned north to commence experimental work out of New London, Connecticut. There, she joined Submarine Division (SubDiv) 22 of Submarine Squadron 2; and, for the next four years, she tested new equipment for the Underwater Sound Laboratory, Fort Trumbull, and evaluated new ship control procedures. In the fall of 1949, she was transferred to SubDiv 21, and her primary mission was shifted from test and evaluation work to training ship duties. She continued that work through the 1950s, interrupting it only for type training; mine planting exercises; ASW exercises; fleet exercises; occasional participation in NATO or joint United States-Canadian exercises off the coasts of the Atlantic Provinces and northern New England; and, from January to June 1957, operations in the Caribbean Sea and the Guiana and Brazilian basins for the Hydrographic Office. On her return, she resumed her primary function, training submarine school students.

In the early 1960s, she continued her training mission, but devoted more time to providing services to ASW units conducting exercises. During the winter of 1960, she provided services to 92 surface ships and 14 air squadrons participating in annual training exercises in the Caribbean. During the winter of 1962, she again returned to the Caribbean for an extended stay and, when not employed in servicing Atlantic Fleet air and surface ASW units, she tested and evaluated acoustical torpedoes. The following winter, 1963, she deployed to the Mediterranean Sea where she operated with the Sixth Fleet; and, on her return to New London in late May, she resumed school ship duties.

Eleven months later, Sarda was declared to be surplus to Navy needs. May 1964 was spent in port at New London preparing for inactivation; and, on 1 June, Sarda was decommissioned. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day, and her hulk was sold for scrapping in March 1965.

Though she never saw combat action she is just as much an asset to the Navy and America as any combat unit. She tested new equipment, brought about new and better combat techniques, new ways of fleet-wide communication and collaboration, and most importantly of all, she trained those who did go into harms way.

Insight from an Englishman

Source: Jerome R. Worsley Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #1214

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison

This page is from a piece of correspondence (June 27, 1953) that is part of the papers of Jerome R. Worsley, who was born in Bethel, N.C. and was a student of the East Carolina Teachers College (which is now East Carolina University). The letter was written to Mr. Worsley by Clive Irving, an author living in Britain during the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. In the letter, Mr. Irving describes how Americans and the English view each other, Britain’s equivalent of the McCarthy Red Scare problem and styles of clothing. The letter can be viewed in its’ entirety here http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/27449 and the finding aid for the Jerome R. Worsley Papers can be accessed at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/view.aspx?id=1214&q=1214.

1706 Van der Aa Map of North Carolina

 

Source: Zee en Land togten der Franszen Geaan na,en in’t Americaans Gewest van Florida (MC 49)

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: This 1706 map of the Carolinas and Florida drawn by Pieter van der Aa (1659-1733)  is based on an earlier 1606 map by Hondius (see MC 42). The map features a North Carolina Native American town called Chicola on the River Jordaan. Also shown are the locations of the ill fated French settlements of 1562 (Ribaut) and 1564 (Laudonierre). The lower right cartouche features a really neat early European drawing of the Carolina Palmetto (Sabal Palmetto). The title of the map Zee en Land togten der Franszen na,en in’t Americaans Gewest van Florida, aller-eerst dour Joh. Pontius ontdekt,  translates as the land of France in America along with the discoveries of Ponce de Leon.

"Memories of Two Years (almost) before the Mast"

Source: Ronald Vaughn Papers (Manuscript Collection #658)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description: Ronald Vaughn of Brownwood, TX, enlisted in the Navy with his twin brother Donald (January 1944). He served on the escort aircraft carrier USS KITKUN BAY (CVE-71). The Memoir describes Vaughn’s involvements during his service in World War II in the Pacific (1944-1945).

This page was taken from his memoir, (pp. 12)

Honoring Our Past

Source: http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/293.1 Postcard of the U.S.S. North Carolina. Title from historical note on verso. “U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship Commission.” Numbered P57112. Date approximated. Identifier: 318.2.c.317

Staff Person: Ken Harbit

Description:

A North Carolina treasure is Moored in Willmington. In quiet dignity and majesty is the fourth ship of the line to be called NORTH CAROLINA. She quietly beckons visitors to walk her decks and envision the daily life and fierce combat her crew faced in the Pacific during World War II. She was the most decorated US Battleship of WWII with 15 Battle Stars; Seeing action from Guadalcanal to Tokyo Bay, earning Battle Stars at Iwo Jima and Okinawa in between. She was dedicated on 29 April 1962 as the State’s memorial to its World War II veterans and the 10,000 North Carolinians who died during the war.

The USS North Carolina was launched at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, on June 13, 1940. During WWII the Japanese claimed to have sunk her 6 times, but she in fact lived on. She saw action at every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater, including the Battles of Guadalcanal, Marshall Islands, Luzon (considered by historians as the greatest naval battle in history), Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  In the Battle of the Eastern Solomon’s in August of 1942, the Battleship’s anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier ENTERPRISE, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. By war’s end, she had become the most highly decorated American battleship of World War II, accumulating 15 battle stars. and she only lost 10 men!

From all across our Nation they came, young men who had grown up in the crucible of the Great Depression and now determined to serve their Country in its time of need. Most combat veterans remember their first firefight, their first shot. The first combat action of the USS North Carolina was about 8 minutes long. On 7 August 1942, she was the only battleship in the South Pacific, escorting the aircraft carriers Saratoga, Enterprise, and Wasp. The Americans struck first, sinking the Japanese carrier Ryujo. The Japanese counterattack came in the form of dive bombers and torpedo bombers, covered by fighters, striking at the Enterprise and the North Carolina. In an action eight-minutes long, the North Carolina shot down 14 enemy aircraft, with her antiaircraft gunners remaining at their posts despite the jarring detonations of seven near misses. One sailor was killed by strafing, but the North Carolina was undamaged. Her sheer volume of antiaircraft fire was so heavy it caused the officers of the Enterprise to ask, “Are you afire?”

USS North Carolina’s second engagement and first major battle occurred on August 24, 1942 when she spotted the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers. That battle was called the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, an unquestionable victory for America.

Affectionately known as “The Showboat”, without her brave, valiant and honorable souls, the “Showboat” would just be another ship; A footnote in the vast pages of history. It is because of their deeds and service to our nation, that “The Showboat”, USS North Carolina is more than just a ship. She is a living monument to their accomplishments and the ideals they represent. She is truly a shrine for a grateful nation to honor.

Photo of General Eisenhower

Source: Jerome R. Worsley Papers (Manuscript Collection #1214)

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: Jerome R. Worsley, a Bethel, N.C., native and 1949 graduate of East Carolina Teachers College, served in the U.S. Army for two years including a year in Paris, France, as office manager for Special Services for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.  SHAPE, the  military unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), was established April 2, 1951, with General Eisenhower as its first Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe (SACEUR).  SHAPE was created to establish an integrated effective NATO military force under a centralized military organization with one NATO commander.  Source: http://www.shape.nato.int/page134353332.aspx