Gunnery Sergeant Richard W. Cunningham, USMC

An Inventory of His Collection at the Navy Department Library

Table of Contents

Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Detailed Description of the Collection

Papers and Ephemera

Photographs

Ship Drawings and Plans

Sketches and Artwork

Related Collections

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information


Overview of the Collection

Repository: Navy Department Library
Creator: Richard W. Cunningham
Title: Richard W. Cunningham Collection
Dates: 1941-1996 (inclusive)
Dates: 1941-1945 (bulk)
Quantity: 1 box
Abstract: Sketches and wartime artwork created by Gunnery Sergeant Richard W. Cunningham with materials related to his service on board USS California (BB-44).
Language: The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Richard W. Cunningham was born on 17 May 1921 in Kansas City, Missouri. He grew up and attended high school in Los Angeles, California. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 24 December 1941 and completed recruit training on 31 January 1942. In May 1942, Private First Class Cunningham was transferred to the Public Relations Office at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, San Diego as a staff artist for the base newspaper, the Chevron. In May 1943, Cunningham was appointed Non-commissioned Officer in charge of the Public Relations Office, having been promoted to sergeant. He was promoted again to gunnery sergeant in January 1944. Gunnery Sergeant Cunningham transferred to the Marine Detachment of USS California in March 1944 and served on that ship until December 1945. He was paid off a month later. Cunningham joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1947 and was called to active duty during the Korean emergency, serving from May 1950 to September 1951.

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Scope and Contents

The collection consists of sketches and art work created by Sergeant Cunningham during his World War II service in the United States Marine Corps; photographs relating to his activities at the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Depot (MCRD), San Diego; memorabilia, mementos and ephemera relating to his service with the Marine Corps Detachment on board USS California (BB-44) during World War II; plus drawings and photographs of various ships in the US Navy that were named California, including AC-6, BB-44, SP-249, and SP-647.

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Arrangement

The collection is organized by subject matter and medium, i.e., text, photographs, and artwork. It is housed in one archival box.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Papers and Ephemera
Biography with Details of WW II Service
"Sea Story: A Record of the Marine Detachment, USS California"
The Club, Homeward Bound Edition, November 1945 (Ship's Newspaper, USS California)
The Leatherneck's Lingo, A Glossary of Marine Corps Slang
Chevron, Photocopy of 1st Edition of MCRD, San Diego Newspaper
Order of the Golden Dragon Certificate (For Crossing the International Date Line)
Programs and Menus
Thanksgiving Menu, Chief Petty Officers Mess, USS California, 1944.
Program: The USS California in the Domain of Neptunus Rex Indian Ocean 1945.
World War I Post Cards
Two comic post cards making fun of the Kaiser.
Ephemera Including the Following Selected Items:
Receipt: USS California Ship's Store Fountain - One Unit in Trade.
Aircraft recognition card with silhouettes of Japanese aircraft.
Photographs
Richard W. Cunningham, USMC, circa 1942
Publics Relations Office Personnel (including Cunningham) MCRD, San Diego, circa 1942
Training Activities, MCRD, San Diego, circa 1942
Miscellaneous Shipboard Activities on BB-44 and Ship's Band Performing at Esperito Santo, 1944
Ship Photographs: USS California; AC-6, BB-44, SP-249, SP-647
USMC Window Display, Robinson's Department Store, 1942
Ship Drawings and Plans
Ship Drawings Made by Richard W. Cunningham
Ship Plans and Model Notes
Sketches and Artwork
    Scrimshaw Belt Buckle
Created by Richard W. Cunningham from a piece of mastodon tusk washed out from the Alaska tundra; given to him by a friend and engraved with a drawing of USS California of 1870.
Pencil Sketches
Various military subjects including the following sketches made at La Jolla Rifle Range while Cunningham was a drill instructor.
"Offhand," pencil sketch of a rifleman in standing position
"Coach and Pupil 3-2-43," pencil sketch of sitting rifleman with instructor
Artwork
Selected Items Include:
Caricature of CPL James F. Rowe, Combat Correspondent.
Ink Drawing titled "My Studio 44-45 CPO Mess BB-44"
Illustrated Christmas Card
Watercolor of barage balloon over Convair Plant
Illustrated Weekly USO Schedules
Cartoon titled "Mail Call"

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Related Collections

Richard W. Cunningham Collection
Navy Department Art Gallery
Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC

Richard W. Cunningham Waterline Model Ship Collection
Los Angeles Maritime Museum, San Pedro, California

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Use

Manuscripts are unavailable for loan and must be consulted in the library. Photocopying of manuscripts is generally prohibited, though the use of digital cameras by researchers to reproduce non-copyrighted materials is permitted. Permission to photocopy a limited number of pages may be granted by the reference staff, contingent upon the physical state of items. All photocopying of materials shall be done by the reference staff, or under their close supervision. The use of personal scanners by non-library staff personnel must be approved by the reference staff on a document-by-document basis (Reference: Naval History and Heritage Command Instruction [NAVHISTCENTINST] 5070.1C.).

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Personal name:

Cunningham, Richard W.

Corporate Subject

United States Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, San Diego, California
USS California, BB-44

 

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Historical Manuscripts, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington DC, Richard W. Cunningham Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Thomas Wildenberg in September 2004.

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