“DEAR FOLKS, WELL HERE IT IS THE END OF THE SECOND DAY AND QUITE A BIT OF WATER HAS GONE OVER THE DAM ALREADY.” Huge four-year correspondence archive from a cadet enrolled at the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Basic School at San Mateo, California as it transitioned into U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and consolidated operations at Kings Point, New York
Letters to his parents from various locations: 1945-1949. Ring-bound. This archive consists of approximately 100 letters plus postcards, telegrams, short notes, and holiday cards sent from Burnett to his parents. Most were sent from either the Cadet Basic School at San Mateo or the Academy at Kings Point. Some were sent while from cruise locations. There are approximately 25 to 30 additional pieces of ephemera. The contents, which are arranged chronologically, are in nice shape, however Burnett’s parents affixed everything to three-ring album pages with cellotape that has now toned. The original album was in several pieces so the contents were transferred into two document keepers. The mounting tape has separated from many of the pages, letters, and other items; however everything retains its original position in the protective binders.
Burnett’s letters are exceptionally detailed an often very long; one is 13 pages. They address all aspects of cadet-midshipman life at the school including barracks life, academics, drill, seamanship, etc. Some of the letters are written on school stationery from both San Mateo and Kings Point.
Ephemeral pieces include an itinerary for a cruise from New York through the Caribbean and along the Central and South American coasts to Montevideo, Uruguay and return along with a multifold cruise chart measuring 13” x 17”. Other ephemera includes a fitness report, report card, liberty forms and requests, a gangway pass, campus map, a sketch of a ship, etc.
There are several laid-in items: a photograph of Burnett as an Eagle Scout, Burnett’s Academy office door plate as a Company Commander, and a packet of about five earlier pieces of correspondence.. Very good. Item #009743
The Merchant Marine Cadet Corps was officially created in 1938, with training provided aboard government-subsidized ships under the direction of shore-based Port Inspector-Instructors. In February 1942, the training program was turned over to the Coast Guard, but in July 1942 it was given to the War Shipping Administration. Graduates were commissioned as Ensigns in the Naval Reserve, "subject to call by the Navy during emergencies or times of war."
Merchant Marine Cadet Schools were initially established at Pass Christian, Mississippi, and San Mateo, California until a permanent campus opened in 1847 at Kings Point, New York. Burnett attended the schools during this transitional period.
Although there are no photographs in this archive, it is without doubt the best first-hand student account of life at any service academy that we have ever handled.
At the time of listing, there is nothing similar for sale in the trade. Neither have any other similar Merchant Marine Academy items been sold at auction per the Rare Book Hub, nor are in held in institutional collections per OCLC.