This collection is comprised of 46 letters that Lieutenant Melville Selleck wrote to his family while serving in the United States Navy during and after World War I. He described his training, wartime service in the United States, and postwar service in northern Europe.
Melville Selleck wrote 46 letters and telegrams to his parents, Franklin and May Selleck of Buffalo, New York, from August 29, 1917-December 31, 1920. In his earliest letters, he described his experiences at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where he attended basic training and quartermaster's school. He discussed his daily activities, including drills, and commented on his homesickness and desire to participate in active duty. By November 1917, Selleck was stationed on the SS Sierra in the Great Lakes, and he spent much of the spring of 1918 in New York City, where he anticipated departing for Texas. He later mentioned his travels in Texas, and continued to write about his homesickness.
In September 1918, he was stationed onboard the USS William Isom in Virginia, and he was promoted to junior grade lieutenant in November 1918. Selleck's letters from early 1919 concern his training at the United States Naval Auxiliary Reserve Officer-Material School at Pelham Bay, New York. Throughout the second half of 1920, he wrote from the USS South Bend , SS Winchester , and SS Susquehanna . While onboard the Susquehanna , Selleck described travels to northern Europe and provided his impressions of Bremen, Germany, where he noted the inflation of the German mark. Enclosures include a copy of Selleck's request for a promotion, a copy of a letter of inquiry Selleck sent a potential employer, typed extracts from some of Selleck's letters, and a newspaper clipping about sailors' pay. The collection also contains one undated letter that Lawrence Selleck wrote to his family.