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Register of the Harry Pence Papers
MSS 144  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Harry Pence Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 144
    Contributing Institution: Mandeville Special Collections Library
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 14.6 Linear feet (29 archive boxes and 35 oversized folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1893 - 1977
    Abstract: Papers of Captain Harry Langley Pence, U.S. Naval Academy graduate (1906), career United States Navy officer (1902-1945), and Red Cross administrator (1945-1946). The papers contain communiques, typescripts, correspondence, diaries, memorabilia, memorandums, orders, photographs, reports, reprints, and scrapbooks.
    Creator: Pence, Harry L.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of Captain Harry Pence document the professional military career of a rising United States Naval officer who served, and recorded his experiences, during the first half of the twentieth century. Pence sailed with the Great White Fleet, witnessed the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet during World War I, logged his experiences at overseas duty stations including Trieste and Constantinople, served as a Navy administrator during World War II, and worked on prisoner of war issues with the Red Cross.
    The collection contain correspondence, diaries, memorabilia, memoranda, orders, reports, and other documents collected during Pence's military duty assignments. Also included are scrapbooks, photograph albums and photographs of Pence, ships, places visited by Pence, and navy personnel. The bulk of the material dates from 1906-1946.
    The papers were processed in 2002, with an accession added in 2013. Paper are arranged in nine series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) MILITARY DUTY POSTS, 3) RED CROSS, 4) DIARIES, 5) PHOTOGRAPHS, 6) MAPS, 7) SCRAPBOOKS, 8) CORRESPONDENCE, and 9) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series is arranged in three subseries: A) Personal Materials, B) Education and C) Awards and Certificates.
    A) The Personal Materials subseries is arranged alphabetically and includes career summations, mementos collected by Pence, a driver's license, passports, and newspaper clippings about Pence.
    B) The Education subseries, arranged chronologically, contains notebooks, yearbooks, assignments, report cards, and exams related to Pence's education at Hillsboro High School, the Ohio State University, the United States Naval Academy, and the United States Naval War College. Included in this series are materials related to the United States Naval Academy Association of the Class of 1906, including the planning of a 50th reunion.
    C) The Awards and Certificates subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains numerous certificates of membership including Pence's bachelor of science degree certificate from the United States Naval Academy, his certificate of graduation from the United States Naval War College, and his United States Navy certificates of commission.
    The MILITARY DUTY POSTS series documents Pence's military assignments and is arranged in eighteen subseries: A) USS Kearsarge (1908), B) USS Maryland (1909-1912), C) United States Naval Academy - Instructor (1912-1914), D) USS Rhode Island (1914-1915), E) USS Texas (1917-1918), F) Port Officer - Trieste (1919), G) Naval Attache - England (1920-1921), H) USS McFarland (1921-1924), I) US Naval War College - Instructor (1925-1927), J) USS Tennessee (1927-1932), K) Navy Department (1929-1932), L) USS Memphis (1932-1934), M) US Naval War College - Instructor (1934-1937), N) Squadron Eleven - Commander (1937-1938), O) Chief of Staff - Commander of the Yard (1939-1941), P) General Board (1941-1944), Q) Naval Operations (1943-1944), and R) Joint Chiefs of Staff (1944-1945).
    A) The USS Kearsarge (1908) subseries contains one folder of notes related to target practice.
    B) The USS Maryland (1909-1912) subseries contains logs, itineraries and notes.
    C) The United States Naval Academy - Instructor (1912-1913) subseries contains Pence's examination and practical work notebooks.
    D) The USS Rhode Island (1914-1915) subseries contains blueprint charts, memorandums, orders, reports, and notes.
    E) The USS Texas (1916-1918) subseries contains reports, notes, orders, photographs, charts, correspondence, memorandums, and an ode. The folder entitled "Capitulation of the German High Seas Fleet" contains several drafts of Pence's firsthand account of the German High Seas Fleet surrendering to the British Grand Fleet.
    F) The Port Officer - Trieste (1919) subseries contains correspondence, memorandums, logs, journals, orders, intelligence reports, and a propaganda poster. The port officer log provides a detailed account of vessel and personnel traffic through Trieste during Pence's assignment as port officer.
    G) The Naval Attache - England (1920-1921) subseries includes lists of foreign diplomatic personnel in London, a newspaper clipping, an official itinerary, a memorandum, and a log related to an eighteen day trip through Europe.
    H) The USS McFarland (1921-1924) subseries contains correspondence, memorandums, movement orders, telegrams, a list of Americans in Constantinople during 1922, and a ship's diary. The ship's diary documents the ship's activities and movements during Pence's command. The list of Americans in Constantinople during 1922 indicates Ernest Hemingway as an American in Constantinople at the time.
    I) The US Naval War College - Instructor (1925-1927) subseries contains teaching material, typescripts, reports, and a speech.
    J) The USS Tennessee (1927-1929) subseries contains telegrams, memorandums and memorabilia.
    K) The Navy Department (1929-1932) subseries contains correspondence, reports, typescripts, teaching material, speeches, reprints, newspaper clippings, a map, and memorabilia. Well represented in this subseries are Pence's assignments as naval aid to Dr. Enrique Olaya Herrera (at the time, President-elect of Columbia) during Olaya Hererra's 1930 tour of America and the establishment of the Army Industrial College, a joint venture with the Army designed to train personnel for procurement planning.
    L) The US Naval War College - Instructor (1934-1937) subseries contains lecture notes, a two year course proposal and a list of administrative staff. This subseries supplements the US Naval War College - Instructor (1925-1927) subseries.
    M) The Squadron Eleven - Commander (1937-1938) subseries contains a note and a memorandum.
    N) The Chief of Staff - Captain of the Yard (1939-1941) subseries contains a speech, newspaper clippings, programs, and a report related to the launching of the USS Grayson.
    O) The General Board (1941-1944) subseries contains memorandums, meeting minutes, a notebook, and a list of Japanese citizens who attended the United States Naval Academy. Of particular interest are the meeting minutes entitled "General Board - Security Technical Committee."
    P) The Naval Operations (1943-1944) subseries contains correspondence, memorandums, commencement addresses, field reports, charts, notebooks, and reprints. It documents Pence's participation at the administrative and planning level with the burgeoning Civil Affairs Division, which later became part of the US Army's Special Operations. Of interest are the Civil Affairs Committee memorandums, the correspondence with field officers, field reports, and the development of the US Naval School of Military Government and Administration at Columbia University.
    Q) The Joint Chiefs of Staff (1944-1945) subseries contains committee meeting minutes, memorandums, reports, and surrender terms. Pence served on the Joint Post War Committee, and was a senior member of the Subcommittee on Far Eastern Affairs. Included are copies of the surrender terms for both Japan and Germany.
    The RED CROSS series contains correspondence, memorandums, photographs, reports, and newspaper clippings related to the year that Pence worked for the American Red Cross. He was responsible for the Relief Program for prisoners of war, especially the Far East and was a member of the general committee to amend the 1929 Geneva Convention. This series contains approximations of American POWs and civilian internees in all known Japanese prison and internee camps, an overview of the quantity and quality of food and medical supplies distributed to American POWs and civilian internees, and interviews with former American POWs from the Far East. The folders related to the 1929 Geneva Convention revisions contain numerous heavily annotated copies of the 1929 Geneva Convention Treaty, as well as correspondence and memorandums related to suggested changes.
    The DIARIES series is arranged in two subseries: A) Naval Diaries and B) Personal Diaries.
    A) The Naval Diaries subseries is arranged chronologically and documents Pence's naval career. The journals record the activities of his assignments, personal observations and often, a cruise log is included at the front of each journal designating the ship Pence was assigned to, ports visited, distance travelled, as well as additional comments. Of particular interest is Diary - Volume 2, which includes the time Pence spent aboard the USS Kearsarge as it cruised with the Great White Fleet and Diary - Volume 4, which recounts the German High Seas Fleet surrendering to the British Grand Fleet.
    B) The Personal Diaries subseries is arranged chronologically and documents Pence's civilian activities. Although some of the Personal Diaries are dated during Pence's service in the Navy, they are distinct from the Naval Diaries in that they do not reflect information or observations regarding his military assignments. The diaries contain personal observations related to Pence's daily routine, life events, as well as an occasoinal record of real estate transactions.
    The PHOTOGRAPHS series is arranged in eight subseries: A) Pence, B) Pence Family, C) Pence with Others, D) Others, E) Ships and Aircraft, F) Places, G) Events, and H) Photograph Albums.
    A) The Pence subseries is arranged chronologically and contains portraits of Pence.
    B) The Pence Family subseries contains one folder of photographs of Pence's immediate family. Included are photographs of his mother (Margaret Luella), father (Ellis), daughter (Margaret), and his nieces and nephew (the Howells).
    C) The Pence with Others subseries is arranged alphabetically by name of the other person Included are photographs of crew members who served with Pence aboard various ships.
    D) The Others subseries is arranged alphabetically by personal name. People of particular interest are President Warren Harding (inscribed to Pence), Admiral Edward Kalbfus, Admiral Niblack, and Dr. Enrique Olaya Herrera.
    E) The Ships and Aircraft subseries is arranged alphabetically by ship name. Contained in this subseries are photographs of nearly every ship Pence served aboard or commanded, as well as numerous ships of interest to Pence. Also included are photographs of aircraft (zeppelins and planes).
    F) The Places subseries is arranged alphabetically by location. The photographs reflect the foreign ports, cities, and countries Pence visited during his assignments and cruises. Of interest are the folders entitled "Balkans," "Russia - Odessa" and "Scapa Flow." The "Scapa Flow" folder contains an image of the German Fleet at the Scapa Flow. In addition to the foreign locales visited by Pence, there is a folder titled "Miscellaneous US Locales" containing photographs taken in the United States from both Pence's official assignments, as well as vacation and civilian excursions.
    G) The Events subseries is arranged alphabetically by event title. Of interest are the folders entitled "Battle of Jutland," "Surrender of the German Fleet (WWI)" and "Surrender of the German High Seas Fleet." The "Battle of Jutland" folder contains prints of a number of British vessels involved in the Jutland engagement, including the sinking of the HMS Invincible. The "Surrender of the German Fleet (WWI)" folder contains an oblique aerial image of the surrender taken from the HMS Seymore (a dirigible).
    H) The Photograph Albums subseries, arranged chronologically, contains photograph albums documenting Pence's professional and personal experiences during several military assignments including documentation of the Great White Fleet tour.
    The MAPS series is arranged alphabetically by map title and contains annotated maps reflecting some of the areas of the world in which Pence cruised.
    The SCRAPBOOKS series is arranged chronologically and contains newspaper clippings of interest to and about Pence; memorabilia such as invitations, calling cards, menus, and programs; and ephemera. Of particular interest is the "Telegram scrapbook, 1918," which recounts the final two weeks of World War I as revealed by the telegram and radiogram communications between the Commander-in-Chief of the British Grand Fleet and the Commander-in-Chief of the German High Seas Fleet.
    The series, arranged alphabetically, contains correspondence with military personnel, corporations, political figures, family and friends, and telegrams. Notable correspondents includes Fleet Admiral William Leahy; Admiral Albert Niblack; Admiral Roger Keyes, R.N.; Admiral Edward Alexander-Sinclair, R.N.; Richard M. Nixon (as a congressman and vice president); a manuscript copy of a letter sent to Senator Lyndon B. Johnson; and a mass mailing note from Dwight Eisenhower (prior to his presidency).
    The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series is arranged alphabetically and contains writings by Pence and others that do not directly relate to his military career, works of art, qualifying examinations, typescripts of others, a brief diary kept by Pence's mother, newpaper clippings of interest to Pence, and rosters of officers. Of interest in this series is Fleet Admiral Ernest King's "Youngster Exams" notebook.


    Harry Langley Pence was born on September 23, 1882, in Sardina, Ohio. Pence graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1901, attended the Ohio State University (1901-1902) and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a bachelor of science degree in 1906.
    Following his graduation from the Naval Academy, Pence spent the majority of his shipboard assignments serving as either a gunnery officer, executive officer or captain aboard a number of ships including the USS Maryland (1906-1907, 1909-1912), USS Rainbow (1907), USS Kearsarge (1908), USS Illinois (1913), USS Rhode Island (1914-1915), USS Texas (1916-1918), USS McFarland (1921-1924), USS Tennessee (1927-1932), USS Memphis (1932-1934), USS Hopkins (1934), and the USS Moffett (1938). Pence served aboard the USS Kearsarge while it was attached to the Great White Fleet that circumnavigated the world from 1907 to 1909. While aboard the USS Texas, Pence was present during the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet to the British Grand Fleet.
    In 1919, Pence was appointed port officer in Trieste and was responsible for four additional ports -- Fiume, Spalato, Gravosa (Ragusa), and Gallipoli (Italy). From 1920-1921, he was assigned to the United States Embassy in London, England, where he served as the assistant naval attache and later acting naval attache.
    Following this assignment, Pence assumed command of the USS McFarland, 1921-1924, in Constantinople. On its first tour, the USS McFarland served as flag tender to the commander of the United States Naval Forces in Europe - Vice Admiral Niblack. On the USS McFarland's second tour, Pence commanded a division of destroyers in the Near East under Admiral Bristol, high commander.
    Pence held several posts as an instructor, the first at the US Naval Academy in the Department of Navigation (1912-1914) and at the United States Naval War College (1924-1927) in Newport, Rhode Island, as a student, then as an instructor. Pence returned to Naval War College from 1934-1937 as an instructor and head of the Department of Intelligence.
    From 1939 until his retirement from the Navy on March 31, 1945, Pence's assignments were administrative. From 1939-1941, he served as chief of staff of the 6th, 7th and 8th Naval Districts while serving as captain of the yard, Charleston, South Carolina. From 1941-1944, Pence served as a liaison officer to the General Board of the Navy, which advised the Secretary of the Navy on all matters of naval policy. Collaterally, from 1943-1944, Pence served as the Navy Department liaison officer for matters concerning the military government program - Civil Affairs. From 1944-1945, Pence was a senior member of the Subcommittee on Far Eastern Affairs with the Joint Post War Committee (Joint Chiefs of Staff).
    After retiring from the Navy, Pence accepted a one year position with the American Red Cross. Pence worked with the relief program responsible for prisoners of war in the Far East and as a member of the general committee to amend the Geneva Conventions of 1929.
    Pence lived in La Jolla, California, where he worked as a real estate broker until his death on March 5, 1977.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Harry Pence Papers, MSS 144. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    American National Red Cross.
    United States -- Armed Forces -- Officers -- Diaries
    United States -- Armed Forces -- Officers -- History -- Sources
    United States -- Armed Forces -- Officers -- Pictorial works
    World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American--Pictorial works
    World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American--Sources
    World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American