ROBERT CARL SHUSTER 1936 - 1940 MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF ONE ALLENTOWN TEENAGER'S PERSONAL HISTORY OF ENLISTMENT THROUGH HIS HONORABLE DISCHARGE - INCLUDES HIS PRIZED AUTOGRAPHS OF WORLD SERIES NEW YORK YANKEES HEFFNER AND RUFFING
ALLENTOWN PENNSYLVANIA USS TENNESSEE 1936 Good+ Manuscript
On offer is the four year handwritten diary and ephemera of Robert Carl Schuster. He maintained this original manuscript diary during his service in the US NAVY from 1936-1940. He served as a radio operator aboard the USS Tennessee (BB-43) which would, a year later, be bombed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Historians or collectors of the pre-World War II period will delight in the diary's depth and the fact that it covers the complete period of this young man's enlistment. It begins on January 1, 1936, just prior to his enlistment at 18 years-old, and contains an entry every day until Jan 29, 1940, a week following his honorable discharge from the Navy. This is a total 1470 entries on 182 double sided pages. As a separate but very interesting for the right collection are the autographs from the 1938 World Series Champions, the New York Yankees, found inside. On Feburary 13, 1938 several of the New York Yankees toured his ship while it was in port and Schuster had two of them, Don Heffner, and Hall of Famer "Red" Ruffing sign his diary. This must have been quite an event for Schuster as he was a big fan of baseball, often going to games and listening to ball games on the radio. Schuster does a super job of detailing his life aboard the ship, his training, duties and efforts to get promotions. Here are some snippets: Jan 11, 1937: "Anchored at Long Beach, Received letter from Hann Hoffman, Lucille Neider and Ginnie. Was very glad to hear from all of them. Had to do an extra hour duty for loosing my gas mask." Jan 12, 1937: "Anchored at Long Beach, started sterilizing today. One of the ship planes took a nose dive while trying to take off. Wings damaged." Feb 2, 1938: "Still underway. A terrible tragedy took place during a battle...this evening. Two big Navy bombers crashed in midair each carrying a crew of seven. 11 died and the other three are recovering." April 6, 1938: "Underway- torpedo and submarine attack in morning. Had 0730 till 1200 RF watch also 2000 till 2400." June 11, 1937: "Arrived at San Francisco. Ship ran aground while entering port. Had tugs and Cost Guard cutters trying all day and till after midnight to pull her loose. Not succeeding. Went to bed at 8:30pm." On June 12, 1937 they finally decide to remove all the amunition, lading and fuel to lighten the ship. With the additional weight removed they manage to free the ship. Aug 20, 1938: "Captain's Inspection. Went to San Diego over weekend. Visiting Mr. and Mrs. Schuber, also Pauline Conrad. Got there at 1800. Went to Naval Carnival. Won three baskets of groceries. Saw movie stars in person, Fred Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney." Feb 21, 1939: "Encountered enemy today. Sank seven of their heavy Cruisers. Had condition watch all day. Went to bed early. Had 1645 to 2000 CRE watch. Darkened ship at sunset." April 28, 1939: "Quarters for muster at 0900. Manned rail at 0930. Rendering honors to Prince and Princess of Norway. Fired 21 gun salute. In evening took bath and went to bed early." The Prince also inspected the ship on May 2, 1930. Sept 30, 1939: "Anchored at Long Beach. Received letter from sister, which I answered. Had change of command Bat Division two, all hands aft. Personal inspection, was caught with dirty stripes on collar for the first time on ship." Schuster also makes entries regarding the rise and fall of his many romances. Hundreds of entries record dates, shore leave to meet girls, over nights, blind dates and love letters with girls who he meets or receives letters from. The three main girls in the diary are Belle, Dorothy and Mary. June 3, 1938: "Field day- Captain's inspection of lower decks. Went ashore in afternoon to see Mary. Jimmy could not go. Took Mary and Jim's girlfriend to movies. Missed last bus out of LA. Got back to ship at 0515. Like Mary very much. Beginning to think I am falling in love." July 16, 1938: "...studied a little in the afternoon. Having Dorthy on my mind which prevents me from studying more. I love you." There is an unusual series of entries regarding an un named event: Jan 5, 1936: "Was at home in afternoon Fran Steiner, Raymond Scheonly, Minevra Wagner, Lucila Neider, Annabelle Dustin and I went to dance down at Green Lantern. On way home upset with car. No body hurt got home at 4:00am." For some reason, while routine, this event stood out for him as each year following he recalls the anniversary of that night. Jan 5, 1937: "...note what happened today a year ago." Jan 5, 1938: "...two years ago today..." Schuster served on the USS Tennessee in both oceans. He details service from Puget Sound, WA, a number of bases in California, Pearl Harbor, HI, the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Florida, to the Hudson River, NY. While he was discharged in 1940, his service record shows that he re-enlisted with the Navy shortly after, on board the USS George Clymer. Associated Ephemera: 4 V-mail letters from Schuster to his wife dated 1944 while he is on board the USS George Clymer. A sex education brochure. Menu for the VE Day celebration. Souvenir photo booklet from the New Zealand Centennial. 14 post cards from New Zealand. Schuster's Navy Blue Jacket Manual which he notes in the diary purchasing Jan 9, 1936. This 6" x 4 1/2" diary, a gift from Alverda is leather over board "5 Year Diary" shows light wear and scuffing on the cover. In some areas, along the edge, the leather has worn away exposing the binder board. The leather closure strap has been removed. Overall G.