Commander William S. Edwards Collection of
Material Relating to US Navy Uniforms

Table of Contents

Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Detailed Description of the Collection

US Navy Uniform Regulations

Published Uniform Regulations and Changes

Uniform Board

Extracts, Letters, and Official Correspondence Pertaining to Uniforms

Legislation

Uniforms, Male Officers

Uniforms, Enlisted Men

Uniforms, Women

Uniforms, Civilian

Uniforms, Working

Rank and Grade

Decorations and Insignia

Historical Studies

Extracts From Other Sources: Naval Administration and History

Extracts From Other Sources: Uniforms and Rank

Extracts From Other Sources: Books and Articles

Extracts From Books on Custom and Dress

Reference Material

Photographs and Illustrations

Correspondence

Oversize

Related Materials

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

 


Overview of the Collection

Repository: Navy Department Library
Creator: William S. Edwards (1908-1977)
Title: Commander William S. Edwards Collection of Material Relating to US Navy Uniforms
Dates: 1776-1966 (inclusive)
Dates: 1797-1959 (bulk)
Quantity: 15 standard boxes plus one oversize
Abstract: Research Materials on US Navy Uniforms Collected by William Edwards for use in preparing his study titled "A History of United States Uniforms for the Sea Services."
Language: The records are in English.

 

Biographical Note

William Shepard Edwards was born at Lynn, Massachusetts on 28 December 1908. He enlisted in the US Navy 31 July 1926 as an apprentice seaman. Edwards served on various ships and stations prior to World War II, including duty on board USS Cleveland (CL-21) during the Nicaraguan revolution of 1926-1929. He was appointed to the temporary rank of ensign on 7 October 1942, rank dating from 15 June 1942. Most of World War II was spent outside the United States serving as an officer on board USS Prairie (AD-15) and USS Westmoreland (APA-104) rising to the temporary rank of lieutenant commander. In August 1945, Lieutenant Commander Edwards was assigned to duty as officer-in-charge of the Uniform Section of the Bureau of Personnel. Among his duties was the responsibility for answering questions received by the Navy Department concerning uniforms and insignia. On 10 August 1950 he was discharged from enlisted service with the rank of chief yeoman. On the same date he accepted and received a permanent appointment as a Lieutenant Commander, USN for limited duty only in administration. Lieutenant Commander Edwards continued to serve in the Uniform Section of the Bureau of Personnel until his retirement.

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Scope and Contents

The collection contains all of the research materials used by Edwards to prepare the four-volume manuscript "The History of United States Uniforms for the Sea Services." The bulk of the collection consists of official regulations, resolutions, general orders, circular letters, official memoranda, and other materials pertaining to uniforms and insignia in regulations of the US Navy between 1776 and 1959. This material consists of original documents, photocopies and notes compiled by Edwards during the course of his research. The collection also includes a significant number of extracts taken from books and articles relating to the wearing of uniforms, rank, civilian costume, as well as the general topic of naval history and administration. There is also a small number (5) of historical studies subjects related to US Navy uniforms. Additional materials includes: sketches, photographs, transparencies, and reference documents, plus files containing Edwards's personal correspondence relating to the subject of uniforms.

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Arrangement

The collection is organized into 22 series according to subject derived from the notations found on the original file folders used by Edwards to arrange his material.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

US Navy Uniform Regulations
Box  

1
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1776
  Notes, with sketches of buttons and an officer's coat
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1797
  Notes and photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Uniform worn by Captain Alexander Murray, USN
  Uniform worn by Captain Thomas Tingey, USN
    Uniform worn by Midshipman Samuel Elbert, USN
    Uniform worn by Captain John Barry, USN
    Uniform worn by Captain Thomas Truxtun, USN
    Uniform worn by Commodore John Rogers, USN
    Uniform worn by Captain Silas Talbot, USN
    Uniform worn by Captain Daniel Carmick, USMC
    Uniform worn by Surgeon Isaac Henry, USN
    Uniform worn by Captain Stephen Decatur, Sr., USN
    Uniform worn by Captain Richard Dale, USN
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1802
  Notes and photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Captain John Rodgers, USN
    Captain Edward Preble, USN
    Captain Thomas MacDonough, USN [color]
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1813
  Notes and photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Master, undress
    Crew members on sun deck of a frigate
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1820
  Photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Epaulettes and buttons
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1830
  Notes and photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Schoolmaster and Clerk
    Officer's coat
    Enlisted men's trousers
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1841
  Notes and photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, USN [color]
    Commander, Captain and Lieutenant
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1852
  Photocopies of original documents
    Sketches:
    Captain-1852 [color]
    Full Dress-Chief Engineer, Purser, Surgeon, Captain
    Full Dress-Master, Passed Midshipman, Midshipman, Lieutenant
    Undress-Captain, Master, Passed Midshipman, Surgeon
    Service Dress-Captain, Midshipman, Passed Midshipman, Master
    Service Dress-Commander, Chief Engineer, Surgeon, Purser
    Miscellaneous: collars, cuffs, epaulettes, etc.
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1862
  Photocopies of original documents
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1866
  Original and typewritten copy
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1869
  Typewritten copy
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1877
  Photocopy of original
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1886
  Regulations Governing the Uniform Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men of the Navy of the United States (Washington: GPO, 1886)
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1901
  Original and typewritten copy [General Order No 48 of 6 June 1901]
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1905
  Regulations Governing the Uniform of Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers and Enlisted Men of the Navy of the United States 1905 (Washington: GPO, 1905)
Box  

2
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1913
  Uniform Regulations United States Navy Together with Uniform Regulations Common to Both Navy and Marine Corps, Navy Department 1913 (Washington: GPO, 1913)
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1917
  Uniform Regulations United States Navy Together with Uniform Regulations Common to Both Navy and Marine Corps, Navy Department 1913, Revised to January 15, 1917 (Washington: GPO, 1917)
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1923
  Uniform Regulations United States Navy (Washington: GPO, 1923)
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1932
  Photocopies of documents with typewritten changes to 1941
US Navy Uniform Regulations 1947
  United States Navy Uniform Regulations 1947 (NAVPERS 15665)
US Navy Uniform Regulations, Male Officers 1947
Box  

3
US Navy Uniform Regulations, 1951
  United States Navy Uniform Regulations 1947 (NAVPERS 15665 Rev-51)
US Navy Uniform Regulations, 1959
  United States Navy Uniform Regulations 1947 (NAVPERS 15665 Rev-51)
US Navy Uniform Regulations, Notes 1775-1864
US Navy Uniform Regulations, Notes 1864-1897
US Navy Uniform Regulations, Notes 1897-1913
US Navy Uniform Regulations, Notes 1913-1947
Box  

4
US Navy Uniform Regulations, Comparison of Change Tables
Published Uniform Regulations and Changes
Resolutions, Regulations, General Orders, and Circulars, 1781-1889
General Orders, Regulations, and Changes, 1900-1922
Resolutions and Bureau of Navigation Circular Letters, 1923-1931
Compilation of Changes to Officers Uniforms, 1933-1947
Box  

5
Circular Letters and Memoranda, 1942-1943
Circular Letters and Memoranda, 1944-1945
Circular Letters and Memoranda, 1946-1948
Circular Letters and Memoranda, 1949-1959
Uniform Board
Uniform Board, Official Correspondence Pertaining To, 1943-1949
Uniform Board, Justification of Billet and Administrative Documents, 1951
Uniform Plans
Extracts, Letters, and Official Correspondence Pertaining to Uniforms
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1775-1900
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1901-1922
Box  

6
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1923-1941
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1942-1943
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1944-1946
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1947
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1948
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1949
Box

7
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1950
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1951-1952
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1953-1955
Information Pertaining to Uniforms, 1956-1959
Compilation of Regulations: Relative to the Wearing of Uniforms by Aviation Personnel, 1916-1946
Legislation
Laws Relating to Uniforms and Insignia
Uniforms, Male Officers
Box  

8
Admiral
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral
Commodore
  Captain
Master
Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant
Ensign
Surgeon
Purser
Chaplain
All Officers, Compilation of Changes, 1837-1931
Uniform and Insignia Requirements, with sketches, 1776-1952
Drawings: Uniforms of Commissioned Officers
Drawings: Medical Personnel
Box  

9
Drawings: Paymasters & Pursers
Drawings: Chaplains, Professors, Secretaries
Drawings: Engineering Officers
Drawings: Full Dress and Undress
Uniforms, Enlisted Men
Compilation of Changes, 1775-1941
Compilation of Regulations, 1841-1947
Compilation of Regulations, 1948-1959
Compilation of Regulations: Markings, Badges & Insignia, 1847-1947
Compilation of Regulations: Markings, Badges & Insignia, 1948-1959
Box  

10
Drawings: Chief Boatswains, Gunners, Carpenters, Sailmakers
Drawings: Crew
Uniforms, Women
  Waves: Uniform Regulations 20 March 1943
  Waves: Uniform Regulations 15 October 1943
  Waves: Changes to Uniform Regulations 1944-1946
    US Navy Nurse Corps General Uniform Instructions, 1917
  Misc. 1943-1948
  Officers
  Nurses: Compilation of Uniform Regulations, 1917-1946
  Nurses: Uniform Regulations 1924-1929
  Nurses, Uniform Regulations
  Nurses, Sketches of Uniforms
  Enlisted
    Women's Uniform Regulations Yeoman (F), 1918
Uniforms, Civilian
Uniforms for Persons Other Than Navy
Insignia For Civilian Technicians
Uniforms, Working
Compilation of Regulations on, 1917-1947
  Special Protective Clothing, 1936-1948
Rank and Grade
Box  

11
General Information
Grades and Ranks of Officers, 1775-
  Rank and Rates, 1775-1834
  Rank and Rates, 1835-1865
  Rank and Rates, 1866-1899
Rank and Rates, 1900-1925
Rank and Rates, 1926-1957
Decorations and Insignia
Box  

12

 

Decorations, Medals, and Ribbons, 1863-1957

  Officer's Insignia, 1775-1900
  Officer's Insignia, 1901-1945
  Insignia, 1951 (untitled manual-title page missing)
    Highly illustrated manual showing insignia for all branches of USN
  Hospital Corpsman and Dental Technician, 1957
  Data on Insignia of the Various Corps Compiled by Mrs. Garret
  Why We Have Insignia
  Insignia, Miscellaneous Secondary Material
Historical Studies
Box  

13
History of Aviation Midshipmen's Uniforms
History of Enlisted Insignia (outline)
  History of Rating Marks
  History of Service Stripes
  Historical Development of Civil Engineering Corps Insignia of United States Navy
Extracts From Other Sources: Naval Administration and History
  Notes on the Development of the Navy Department (All Hands, December 1958)
  Naval Administration 1775-1900 by Chas. O. Paullin
  Reorganization of the Navy (Army and Navy Chronicle, 1/1/1840)
  The Facts Concerning the History of US Naval Academy
  Development of Naval Militia" (All Hands, November 1960)
  The Army and the Navy of the United States by Wm. Walton
  Sketches of Naval Life by George Jones
Extracts From Other Sources: Uniforms and Rank
 

"Naval Rank, Its Inception and Development," by Chief Gunner Lawrence Fasano

  The Uniforms of the US Navy, by J.C. Tilly
  Rank for Medical Officers
    (A Century With Norfolk Naval Hospital by Richard C. Holcomb)
  Naval Uniforms (1880) by G.H. Preble
  Uniform Buttons by David F. Johnson
  Uniforms of the Sea Service by R.H. Rankin
  Two Years and One Half in the Navy by E.C. Wines
    Insignia, Miscellaneous Secondary Material
Extracts From Other Sources: Books and Articles
  Observations on the Means of Preserving Health of Soldiers and Sailors
  Naval Surgeon Pioneer [with recommendations for clothing c. 1887]
  White Jacket by Herman Melville
  "Naval Customs and Traditions"
  "Navies" [from Army and Navy Journal, 1866]
  "British Naval Uniforms" [from Army and Navy Journal, 1873]
  USMC Regulations, 1961
  Army Uniforms
  Miscellaneous
Extracts From Books on Custom and Dress
  The Language of Fashion by Mary Brooks
  The Book of Costume by Millie Davenport
  Accessories of Dress by Katherine M. Lester
  This is Fashion, by Elizabeth Burris-Meyer
  Historic Dress in America
  The Mode of Footwear, by R. Turner Wilcox
  The Mode of Costume, by R. Turner Wilcox
  Costume and Fashion (Vol. 6) by H. Norris and O. Curtis
  Early American Costume by Edward Warwick
  Notes on Civilian Attire and Dress 18th & 19th Centuries
Reference Material
  "Civil Engineering Corps, USN and the Corps Device," Military Collector and Historian X, no. 2 (Nov. 1958)
  Clothing, Uniforms and Accessories Section, Navy Material Catalog, May 1949
Box    
14

 

Flags, General Information

  Medals and Awards
  Uniforms, Decorations, Medals and Badges of the United States Navy, 1941
  Uniforms, Nurse Corps, USN
    Uniform catalog issued by Women's Naval Uniforms, Inc., circa 1950
Photographs and Illustrations
  Pictures of Uniforms, 1775-1830 (annotated)
  Pictures of Uniforms, 1830-1861 (annotated)
  Pictures of Uniforms, 1861-1869 (annotated)
Pictures of Uniforms, 1869-1901 (annotated)
  Pictures of Uniforms, 1900-1945
Box  

15
Pictures of Uniforms, 1945-1951
  Miscellaneous Clippings
  Transparencies
Correspondence
  Personnel Correspondence, 1949
  Rex Reichart Correspondence with Illustrations, 1951
  Personnel Correspondence, 1951-1952
Personnel Correspondence, 1954-1960
  Personnel Correspondence, 1960-1966
Personnel Correspondence, Miscellaneous
Miscellaneous
  Draft of Chapter XII
    Use of Naval Uniforms and Insignia by Individuals Other Than Those on Active Duty or on the Retired List and Members of the Naval Reserve.
Oversize
  Regulations for the Uniform and Dress of the Navy of the United States, 1864
    Oversize volume containing many color lithographs
  Regulations for the Uniform and Dress of the Navy of the United States, 1869
    Oversize volume containing many color lithographs

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Related Materials

"A History of United States Uniforms for the Sea Services," by William S. Edwards
Navy Department Library, Special Collections, Call Number VC303 .E39 1980 V.1

Uniforms Section, Online Publications, Navy Department Library Website

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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:

Edwards, William S.

Corporate Subject

United States. Navy--Uniforms
United States. Navy--Regulations
United States. Navy--Insignia
United States. Navy--Medals, badges, decorations

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Commander William S. Edwards Collection of Material Relating to US Navy Uniforms, Historical Manuscripts, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington DC.

Processing Information

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

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