Sherlock and William C. Hibbs collection  1909-2002 (bulk 1909-1968)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Sherlock and William C. Hibbs collection contains correspondence, military records, ephemera, and other material related to Commander Sherlock Hibbs, who served with the United States Navy in both theaters of World War II, and to his grandfather, William Congress Hibbs, a Civil War veteran who lived in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. Included are 9 letters and documents, 2 photographs, and 1 typescript (47 pages) related to William C. Hibbs, concerning his Civil War pension and a Michigan soldier's experiences as a prisoner of the Confederate Army. Most of the material, including approximately 250 items and numerous photographs, relates to the military service of Sherlock Hibbs, who served in both theaters of World War II, and trained at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

The William C. Hibbs series is divided into 3 subseries: Letters and Documents , Photographs and Newspaper Clipping , and Typescript .

The Letters and Documents subseries contains 9 items. Two items are letters: one from F. H. Wagner, a Civil War veteran, who reminisced about his Civil War service and enclosed a 2-page typed account entitled "The Johnson Court-Martial Case" (July 1909), and the other from Robert Hibbs to his brother William C. Hibbs, discussing the costs of a recent funeral (April 5, 1919). Other items include 4 documents concerning the Civil War pension claimed on behalf of William C. Hibbs, who served with Company I of the 14th Illinois Volunteer Regiment (1909-1921), and 3 forms discharging Hibbs from the Illinois Soldiers' & Sailors' Home (1918 and 1926), and from the Danville Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (1918).

The Photographs and Newspaper Clipping subseries includes two undated black-and-white photographs of a man standing amidst buildings, as well as a newspaper obituary for William C. Hibbs ([1927]).

The Typescript , entitled "The Terrors of Rebel Prisons," by Private Thaddeus L. Waters of Company G, 2nd Michigan Cavalry Regiment, recounts the author's experiences at Andersonville and other Confederate prisons after his capture at the Battle of Chickamauga. The document, published in 1891, consists of 12 chapters (47 pages).

The Sherlock Hibbs series holds correspondence, military documents, and other items, primarily concerning his military service during World War II.

The Correspondence subseries contains 42 items, including 10 letters and 2 Christmas cards addressed to Sherlock Hibbs, 4 telegrams Hibbs wrote during the 1940 Republican National Convention, 24 letters Hibbs wrote to his parents while serving in the United States Navy during World War II, 1 letter Admiral Calvin T. Durgin wrote to Mr. and Mrs. Hibbs, and 1 navy telegram.

Of the first 7 items, one concerns Hibbs’s financial career (February 19, 1933), and 6 relate to the 1940 Republican National Convention, including brief signed acknowledgments from Alf M. Landon and Wendell Willkie (June 24, 1940, and November 18, 1940), and 4 telegrams Hibbs sent to members of the convention, regarding his views on intra-party cooperation and his support for Wendell Willkie (June 25, 1940-June 27, 1940).

The following 29 items pertain to Hibbs's naval service, including 24 letters he wrote to his parents, William E. and Emma S. Hibbs of Battle Creek, Michigan, while onboard the USS Ranger in early 1943; during his training with the Commander Air Fleet at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, throughout the summer of 1943; and while serving on the USS Tulagi in 1944. He described several aspects of military life, including his friendship with Admiral Calvin T. Durgin and activities while on leave in New York City. He also commented on war news and offered his parents some investing and financial advice. Durgin wrote one letter to the Hibbs family on June 29, 1944, anticipating an upcoming foreign deployment and enclosing a photograph of himself from a newspaper clipping. After the war, Sherlock Hibbs received a typed letter of appreciation for his military service and well wishes for his future, signed by Secretary of the Navy James Vincent Forrestal (March 30, 1946). Also included is a telegram from the United States Navy Communication Service, relaying the news that the USSR had declared war against Japan (August 9, 1945).

Postwar material includes 2 photograph Christmas cards Sherlock Hibbs received from the Reynolds family of Sapeloe Island, Georgia, in 1947 and 1949, as well as 4 letters from Secretary of the Navy Thomas S. Gates, who thanked Hibbs for providing advice about business opportunities (February 24, 1959-April 29, 1968). Hibbs also received one undated letter from Margaret Durgin.

Two Diaries chronicle the wartime experiences of Sherlock Hibbs, during his service with the United States Navy in both theaters of the war. They are dated June 10, 1942-June 23, 1944, and June 13, 1944-December 11, 1945 (the first 5 pages are dated May 30, 1942). The diaries contain brief daily entries that relate the movements and other actions of Hibbs while onboard the USS Ranger and while working with the navy's flight command. Hibbs served along the East Coast of the United States, in the Mediterranean, and in the Pacific Theater.

The 158-page Personal Military Record of Sherlock Hibbs contains forms, official reports, and other documents pertaining to his service in the United States Navy during World War II and to his time in the United States Naval Reserve until 1968. Early documents relate to his service on the staff of Admiral Calvin T. Durgin and to his actions in the Pacific Theater of the war. Documents include the citation for his Bronze Star award (March 4, 1945, pp. 92-94) and a form authorizing his release from active duty (October 2, 1945, p. 68). Many later items relate to his health and physical fitness.

The Appointments series is comprised of 40 official forms and military documents related to the naval service of Sherlock Hibbs. The material traces his movements with the United States Navy throughout World War II, and includes appointments to different positions, orders to complete temporary duties, and paperwork concerning leaves of absence. The final document of June 8, 1949, signed by Secretary of the Navy Francis P. Matthews, officially appoints Hibbs a commander in the United States Naval Reserve.

The Rosters of Officers are 14 lists of officers at various posts of the United States Navy, including:

  • USS Ranger
  • Commander Fleet Air, Quonset Point
  • USS Tulagi
  • USS Makin Island
  • Carrier Division 29
  • Composite Squadron 84
  • Commander Escort Carrier Force, Pacific Fleet
  • USS Wright

The 20-item Air Combat Intelligence subseries holds 20 items about intelligence operations related to naval air combat, including a manual for instruction at the Naval Air Combat Intelligence School at Quonset Point, Rhode Island (April 18, 1942), war-era documents requesting intelligence information, and programs and minutes from symposia and advisory meetings held between 1949 and 1953. A photograph of a meeting, held on November 19, 1953, is enclosed with a certificate of attendance for Sherlock Hibbs.

Identification Cards and Ration Book (27 items) include the cover for a World War II ration book for sugar, as well as various identification and business cards used by Sherlock Hibbs before, during, and after his service in the United States Navy. These include official naval identification cards, business cards, identification used while attending certain events, a pay allowances card, an immunization card, and similar items. Also included are a picture postcard from Japan and a business card from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, as well as a check and a brief note.

The Summaries of Flights subseries is a 135-page report entitled "Ranger Air Group Summary of Flights During Torch Operations November 8-12, 1942" that contains detailed, classified reports on naval air operations carried out by airmen serving on the USS Ranger near North Africa. These included intelligence missions, bombing raids, and scouting trips. The report includes a table of contents and four additional pages of introductory material.

The Military Papers are comprised of 45 miscellaneous documents from Sherlock Hibbs's service in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve. Most items date to World War II, though a few cover his time in the reserves after the war. Items include memoranda, forms, orders, and citations. The series contains a ribbon Hibbs earned for active duty service (February 6, 1945), a copy of a newsletter printed onboard the USS Makin Island (May 8, 1945), a note about Hibbs's qualification for promotion (October 8, 1945), a note regarding his separation from the Naval Service (November 15, 1945), and permanent citations for his Bronze Star (May 21, 1947) and Gold Star (June 10, 1947). Several later documents concern his transfer to the Naval Reserve after the war.

The collection's Photographs cover much of the World War II service of Sherlock Hibbs, including photographs taken on Iwo Jima, various Japanese islands, and in other unidentified tropical locations. The photographs depict naval vessels, such as the USS Makin Island and USS Tulagi , soldiers, and military events. Several show Sherlock Hibbs, including many prints of the ceremony at which he received a medal. Two larger photographs show an airplane catching fire and bursting apart, and one group shows celebrations onboard an unidentified ship, with many soldiers in pirate and other costumes. Though most pictures were taken in the Pacific Theater, others show scenes of destruction in France and Italy in 1944.

The Currency subseries contains 20 examples of monies used by various nations during the 1940s. Currencies represented:

  • United States dollar issued to forces serving in North Africa
  • Philippines
  • Japanese invasion money, Pacific Theater
  • Egypt
  • China
  • France
  • Italy
  • Tripolitania

The Maps subseries holds folded maps of southeast Kansas and of the "Trails of Utah." 7 cloth maps and 2 printed maps show Okinawa, Japan, and several Pacific Islands as they appeared during the Second World War.

The collection's Newspaper Clippings primarily concern United States Navy personnel who served in World War II, including Thomas S. Gates and Calvin T. Durgin. One article mentions business executives serving in the navy, and explicitly refers to Sherlock Hibbs. The series also holds 2 issues of The Stars and Stripes (July 11, 1944 and September 5, 1944), several pages of The Commercial and Financial Chronicle (January 24, 1952), an undated article entitled "A Bachelor's House," and obituaries for Calvin T. Durgin (March 27, 1965) and Sherlock Hibbs (July 8, 2002).

The Ephemera subseries has several types of items, such as pamphlets distributed by Allied forces in Southeast Asia during World War II, Japanese-language pamphlets, a political cartoon, 2 documents related to Sherlock Hibbs's studies at the New York University School of Law in the early 1930s, and "A Minute Review" of "Forever Amber." Also included are a pamphlet entitled "Instructions for Writing the Deck Log," issued for the USS Ranger in September 1942, the copy of The Bluejackets' Manual 1940 that belonged to Sherlock Hibbs, a data table on Japanese combat aircraft (June 1945), and a maneuvering board. A dog tag and uniform insignia identifying Hibbs as a lieutenant commander and commander in the United States Navy are also present, as is a 1 point red "opa" coin.

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