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1898 Us Navy Admiral Richardson Annapolis Entrance Ltr Wwii Pearl Harbor #1 For Sale
1898 US NAVY ADMIRAL RICHARDSON ANNAPOLIS ENTRANCE LTR WWII PEARL HARBOR #1
We are proud to offer an extremely scarce, original 1898 UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY ENTRANCE DOCUMENT FOR UNITED STATES NAVY ADMIRAL JAMES OTTO RICHARDSON.
This document is a pre-printed United States Navy ‘Bureau of Navigation’ form filled out by hand in the requisite spaces. The form indicates that (James) ‘Otto Richardson’ was to be the replacement for ‘Arnold S. Bresewitz’ who after failing the Naval Academy physical exam on September 8th, would not be representing the 4th Congressional District of Texas. Curiously, Bresewitz and his father sued the train company that took him home from Annapolis for exposing him unfairly to what we would call today ‘second hand smoke’. (for more on this see this link: )
The document is dated August 16, 1898 and Richardson is ordered to report to the Naval Academy in Annapolis in September 1898.
The document is boldly signed by Rear Admiral and Navy Bureau Chief Arent Schuyler Crowinshield and Rear Admiral and Naval Academy Superintendent Frederick Valette McNair. The letter is in excellent physical condition having the expected tri-fold creases and no tears or stains. The document exhibits clear printing and bold, fully legible fountain pen signatures. On the left margin, a different hand in red pen has indicated ‘allowed traveling expenses Dec 1 1898’. The standard Academy file nomenclature appears in the upper left hand corner and on document reverse appears an oval, blue ‘Treasury’ stamp dated Oct 28, 1898 in addition to a pencil notation of Richardson’s name, district and the date ‘Sept 15, 1898’. The paper bears the watermark ‘Wing’s Standard Ledger’. The document dimensions measure 8.0 in x 10.5 in.
Richardson,a memberof the 1902 class, would graduate 5th in his class of 59 midshipmen.
United States Naval Academy admissions documents in the market, are rare forhigh ranking officers andAdmirals. They are treasured relics for any Academy graduate, however documents of this Spanish-American War era for persons of note and consequence are indeed rare. We could locate no analog in commerceand have wondered if the process of admission then (or perhaps now) involved surrendering the correspondence upon arrival at the academy. Given the lack of any comparable documents on the market and the obvious desirability of such documents bearing high ranking signatures of Naval notables, we surmise there must be some reason short of the small relative number of Naval Academy attendees. We also wondered if somehow after raising high in rank, Richardson gained access to his personnel file and kept this token from thestart of his life of naval service. Apart from the above supposition, we do not know how Richardson retained a document which was clearly part of his cadet file at some point.
Overall, an outstanding and eminently displayable artifact documenting the very beginning of a historically significant and key career in annals of United States Naval and Military history.
Admiral James Otto Richardson, is known as the steadfast and lone voice of reason regarding the placement of the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor. History remembers him as the sole warning among US Navy senior leadership that the US Fleet was in danger being stationed in Pearl. Richardson was appointed as head of CINPAC in late 1939 by Roosevelt partly because of his universally recognized vast knowledge and strategic expertise of the Japanese military and their designs on controlling the Pacific.
However, after Richardson repeatedly and somewhat forcefully attempted to convince President Roosevelt – in person - the proper placement of the Pacific Fleet was on the west coast, the President Roosevelt decided he could no longer bear the Admirals’ disagreeing position and replaced him with Admiral Husband E. Kimmel. Unfortunately, Kimmel bore the shame and disappointment of the destruction of Pearl Harbor and following his demotion and early retirement in 1942, he spent the rest of his life defending and explaining himself regarding the events of late 1941.
Of course as is well known, on December 7, 1941 the Japanese decimated virtually the entire Pacific Fleet and this was the event that marked America’s entrance into WWII.
We have the good fortune to have acquired several key documents from Admiral Richardson’s estate which not only distinguish important aspects of his military service as an Admiral, but also of US Naval and American history.
The items we will be listing as separate sale items are shown below. We considered offering the whole lot – including photos – as a single lot, but our experience suggests we would receive numerous requests to split up the documents individually due to varying niche interests and somewhat limited collecting resources.
Collectors/ institutions of means or simple determination can buy as much as their purse and inclination will allow as individual lots:
All in all, an amazing documentation of the beginning, middle and end of an important and distinguished record of military service and an example of a man holding duty to his country over his own professional fate.
PLEASE VIEW MY OTHER sales FOR THESE ITEMS OF INTEREST.
This item came from a larger group of Richardson family effects sold at sale here in Southern California. In addition to various pieces offurniture, documentsand decorative effects, and James Richardsons' gold 1913Howardpocket watch (sold here by us - 380446233947),a pocket watch belonging to Wilds Preston Richardson (James’ older brother) notable Army General and Alaska frontier figure; acquired and sold by a colleague of ours and James Richardson’s original Admiral Appointment signed by Roosevelt (sadly, we were outoffer !). The items were sold as household contents for the benefit of Susan Starr Richardson (James Richardson’s adopted granddaughter), via a family trust, and as such wishes to remain private, but we wholeheartedly stand by our attribution with complete and absoluteconfidence. Ms. Richardson sold her adopted father, Joe Fenet Richardson’s (J.O.’s son) Beverly Hills home in October 2011 and these items within the housewere originally saved from J.O.’s Washington D.C. home after he passed in May 1974. As such, these items are for the first time, available for examination and acquisition. Sadly, even Richardson’s fine biographer, Skipper Steely was denied access to these items&original sources.
Please view the wealth of supplementary information available online regarding Richardson’s rich life and Naval career. Richardson’s memoir ‘On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor – The Memoirs of Admiral James O. Richardson’ by Vice Admiral George C. Dyer (1973; Naval History Division). ‘Pearl Harbor Countdown: Admiral James O. Richardson’ by Skipper Steely (2008; Pelican Publishing) is also particularly informative and is available as an e-book.
See also these links:
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Used - Very Good
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1898 Us Navy Admiral Richardson Annapolis Entrance Ltr Wwii Pearl Harbor #1: $675