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Fitch (Aubrey Wray) papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Aubrey Wray Fitch papers
    Date (inclusive): 1900-1982
    Collection Number: 80132
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 4 manuscript boxes, 6 oversize boxes, 2 sound discs (5.2 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, orders, personnel records, clippings, and photographs collected by Aubrey Wray Fitch relating to American naval aviation, especially in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Sound use copies of sound recordings available.
    Creator: Fitch, Aubrey Wray, 1883-1978
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1980.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Aubrey Wray Fitch papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biographical Note

    1883 June 11 Born, St. Ignace, Michigan
    1906 Graduated, United States Naval Academy
    1908 Ensign, United States Navy
    1930 Received wings, Naval Aviator
    1931 Commander, USS Langley, United States Navy's first aircraft carrier
    1944-1945 Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air)
    1942-1944 Commander, Air Forces, South Pacific
    1942 Awarded Distinguished Service Medal for leadership role during the Battle of the Coral Sea
      Vice Admiral, United States Navy
    1978 May 22 Died, Newcastle, Maine
    1947 Retired as Admiral, United States Navy
    1945-1947 Superintendent, first aviator appointed to the United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Aubrey Wray Fitch papers consist of the personal and naval records of Admiral Fitch. These papers document the span from his early career as a student at the United States Naval Academy, circa 1902, to the launching of the guided missile frigate USS Aubrey Fitch (FFG-34) in 1981, three years after his death. While the collection primarily emphasizes American naval aviation in the Pacific Theater during World War II, with special focus on the Battle of the Coral Sea, it also documents Admiral Fitch's time as Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy from 1945 to 1947.
    As a Vice Admiral in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Fitch commanded U.S. planes in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval battle fought entirely by aircraft. Although his flagship, the USS Lexington, was sunk during the battle, Fitch was praised for his leadership and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. The Naval Records series includes Fitch's naval awards, orders and promotions, dispatches, war diaries from the Pacific Theater during World War II, and poems and drawings created by fellow sailors. Photographs within the collection depict the early stages of U.S. naval aviation and follow Fitch throughout his changing assignments. The collection also contains personal scrapbooks created by Fitch during his time in the Navy.
    In 1945, Fitch became the first naval aviator to be appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. Fitch served as Superintendent until 1947, when he retired with the rank of Admiral. The Speeches and Writings series contains award presentations, written press releases, and speeches made by Fitch at the U.S. Naval Academy, including his retirement speech.
    Unless otherwise noted, the arrangement scheme was imposed during processing in the absence of an identifiable original order.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sound recordings
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean
    United States. Navy