1900 - 1902 + 1916 - 1918 PAIR (2) OF DETAILED LOGBOOKS FROM THE LIFE OF COMMODORE HARRY PHELPS, FIRST AS AN OFFICER ON THE USS CINCINNATI IN THE CARIBBEAN, AND LATER AS A RETIRED CITIZEN LIVING A SIMPLE LIFE IN NORTH CAROLINA

By: HARRY PHELPS

Price: $4,055.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer are two exceptional and detailed logbooks and journals from Harry Phelps, a Lieutenant, then Commodore, in the United States Navy around the turn of the 20th century. The first book dates from 1900 and covers the period from October 1900 to November 1902. The second diary covers the period from 1916 to 1918, although the cover says ‘1906’. The two diaries are filled to the brim with writing about his life, career, and day-to-day activities. His writing is very simple, stating in a matter-of-fact way the details of his day. For example: “Saturday October 13th, 1900. We line out at half past seven, have breakfast soon after eight and I go to the office by nine and am busy until noon when I go up to luncheon on my while. It is raining so I go back by the cars. I got to the carpenter’s shop to fix some shelving and work in the office from two to four when I walk home. I put up two shelves in our room and then shave and dress for dinner. After that I have a smoke and just before eight go with Ely to the National Theater to see ‘Lord and Lady Algy’ which is very good in general. Home at half past eleven. I make some cocoa and we have supper and a smoke and turn in at half past twelve.” At the time of the first book, Phelps is living in Washington, D.C. and working at the Judge Advocate General’s Office. He spends most days working there, though he does not go into specifics of the work he is doing there. He is also quite fond of spending time on the weekends at a carpentry shop where he fixes clocks, builds furniture, and reads the paper. It seems to be his weekend get away. At the end of 1901, Phelps travels to New York to recommission the USS Cincinnati after extensive repairs were done on it at the New York Navy Yard. “We go to the commandants and repast and I meet the clipper, M. Jean....and go over to the C dock where the ship is then secured and go on board and at two-forty-five we put the ‘Cincinnati’ in commission. I go up in the yard to get some instruments and things, return by four and look up the dynamo rooms and some other things and at half past five go over to the Columbia.” Each page consists of two long columns for the day, however, Phelps does not abide by the dates in the diary, but instead crosses them out and writes the dates himself. In February, the ship goes out to sea: “I line out at quarter past seven, reach the ship by eight, have breakfast and then write until half past nine...after breakfast I read a bit and play cards until half past four when I get word we're going to sea so I get out the charts and instruments. At half past five I go shower, by six ,have dinner and then sit and talk with my medic until eleven o’clock when I turn in.” From May 1902-January 1903, the USS Cincinnati protected American citizens and property in the Caribbean during political disturbances at Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Panama, and brought relief supplies to Martinique after the devastating eruption of Mount Pelee. On the way down to the Caribbean, the USS Cincinnati passes a ship carrying Prince Henry of Prussia: “...shave and dress, have chow and then go to quarters at nine and give a salute as the President passes with Prince Henry to the launch of the yacht...” The event that Prince Henry is going to attend is the launching of Kaiser Wilhelm II's new yacht "Meteor III," christened by Miss Alice Roosevelt, at Shooters Island in New York City. On the way down, the ‘Cincinnati’ stops at the Port of Charleston: “I turn out at seven o’clock and find Easter Sunday a beautiful day...have chow and at half past eight we get underway and start into the Port of Charleston with a pilot, anchoring at ten o’clock. I am busy until noon getting various papers up and cleaning away the electric plant up at which I finish after breakfast...” He spends about a week and a half in Charleston, doing various activities (reading, writing, playing cards, visiting with people he knows in the city, etc.) The ship makes stops in Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Martinique, Santo Domingo, and Panama. In Martinique, Phelps observes: “We approach the island at Chateau Belair, then we close around the north, east and south coast to port. The whole northern part is completely devastated by the volcanic eruption, towns and in fact the entire country being completely buried by the mud and ashes. After breakfast I have a smoke, lie down until four, fix up some notices to mariners and then go on deck. We are under way at five and stand out around the western side of the Island. I get a departure at six...I go up and change the course a bit and pilot the ship to an anchorage off Port Castries where we anchor at eleven o’clock.” By the middle of June 1902, the ship is patrolling off the coast of Venezuela and Curacao, then it heads back towards the end of the year to patrol more of the Caribbean islands such as Haiti. The first journal ends in San Juan, Puerto Rico on November 27th, 1902. Though the cover of the 2nd book states 1906. next book starts on March 28, 1916 in Southport, North Carolina. Phelps is by this time retired from the Navy and his life is considerably more consistent. His days consist of reading the paper, visiting his daughter, playing cards with friends, going to the movies, working on his home, and other rather normal activities of a retired older man. The days are still written in an almost identical style to the ones from 10 years before. A typical day reads similar to this: “Monday, April 10, 1916. I turn out at eight o’clock, make fire and read a bit then put fibre seat in one of our chairs...by noon play some cards and at noon go for the mail and return for dinner, read until half past three, start pump on small latch and go to post office, return and secure pump and talk until five...have supper...read a bit go to the movies with My Marnie, stop by Jimis...read to half past eleven and turn in at twelve o’clock.” The book goes until October 22, 1918. Phelps would die at the end of 1919 in an automobile accident. Both books are in good condition. The front cover from both of the books is detached. The 1902 book is missing its spine leather, while the 1916 book has one with significant wear. The pages within both books are still in good condition, showing only limited foxing or age-toning. The handwriting is legible and easily readable in black ink throughout both books, only occasionally showing fading or bleeding through the other side. In the first, possibly Phelps has written in the coordinates next to different dates that the USS Cincinnati was at sea. It provides some very interesting contexts to the words written during those days. (Background: USS Cincinnati (C-7) was a protected cruiser and the lead ship of the Cincinnati-class cruiser for the United States Navy. She was launched on 10 November 1892 by New York Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss S. Mosby; and commissioned on 16 June 1894, Captain Henry Glass in command. She was the second ship to be named after Cincinnati, Ohio. From May 1902-January 1903, Cincinnati protected American citizens and property in the Caribbean during political disturbances at Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Panama, and brought relief supplies to Martinique after the devastating eruption of Mount Pelee; Harry Phelps was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1880. The Harry Phelps Papers span Phelps' thirty-six year naval career, covering from 1877 to 1913, and consist primarily of letters written by Phelps to his mother, encompassing Phelps' time as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, his work with various survey teams, and his time at the Judge Advocate General office in Washington D.C.; From the Wilmington Morning Star: “News has reached the city of the death in Norfolk of Commodore Harry Phelps, well known here and in Southport. Commodore Phelps, from what can be learned, was killed in an automobile accident. His remains were sent to, Oregon for interment'. His widow, Mrs. Mamie Phelps, was prior to her marriage, Miss Mamie Thompson, of Southport.” OVERALL: VG

Title: 1900 - 1902 + 1916 - 1918 PAIR (2) OF DETAILED LOGBOOKS FROM THE LIFE OF COMMODORE HARRY PHELPS, FIRST AS AN OFFICER ON THE USS CINCINNATI IN THE CARIBBEAN, AND LATER AS A RETIRED CITIZEN LIVING A SIMPLE LIFE IN NORTH CAROLINA

Author Name: HARRY PHELPS

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Diary,

Publisher: ABOARD THE USS CINCINNATI, SOUTHPORT, N. CAROLINA, 1900

Book Condition: Very Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall

Seller ID: 0009181

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, COMMODORE HARRY PHELPS, UNITED STATES NAVY, TURN OF THE 20TH CENTURY, CAREER NAVAL OFFICER, USS CINCINNATI, C-7, PROTECTED CRUISER, CINCINNATI CLASS CRUISER, ERUPTION OF MOUNT PELEE, AMERICAN POLICY IN THE CARIBBEAN, EARLY 20TH CENTU