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Captain Henry C. Mustin, USN


An Inventory of His Papers at the Navy Department Library

Mustin, Henry C. CAPT Portrait

Table of Contents

Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents


Detailed Description of the Collection

Related Collections


Index Terms

Administrative Information



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Navy Department Library
Creator: Henry C. Mustin
Title: Henry C. Mustin Collection
Dates: 1899-1920 (inclusive)
Dates: 1914-1917 (bulk)
Quantity: 2 boxes
Abstract: The collection contains correspondence relating to Henry C. Mustin's duty as commander of the US Navy Aeronautic Station at Pensacola, flight logs, patents and materials relating to Mustin's telescopic sights, and a log book of the USS Samarunder Mustin's command.
Language: The records are in English.


Biographical Note

Henry C. Mustin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 6 February 1874 and graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1896. He spent the two years at sea then required by law before he was commissioned an ensign in 1898. From then, until he reported to duty in aviation fifteen years later, he distinguished himself as a remarkably capable officer in the surface Navy.

After receiving his commission, Mustin served during the next eighteen months on board six different vessels. In December 1899, he assumed command of the USS Samar, a gun boat on the Asiatic station. While commanding the USS Samar, during the capture of Vigan, Philippines, Mustin won a commendation for towing the boats of the battleship USS Oregon to shore and aiding in covering the landing.

Aside from his early work in ship operations, Mustin was busy with the technical aspects of ordnance. His work resulted in a telescopic sight that would aid in increasing the accuracy and range of naval gun fire.

Mustin made his first flight while on duty at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. In January 1911, he aided Holden Richardson in an experiment with a glider, which Richardson designed and built. Lt Mustin soloed on 13 March 1913 and was designated Navy Air Pilot No. 3 on 6 January 1914. He received the designation as Naval Aviator No. 11 when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels initiated Naval Aviator status in 1915.

In April 1914 USS Mississippiwith Lieutenant Commander Mustin in command as Acting Captain, sailed for Vera Cruz carrying an aviation detachment for operations in the Mexican Campaign. The airplanes assigned to Mississippi operated daily for forty-three consecutive days marking the first operational use of naval aircraft. Mississippi was relieved by North Carolina as Station Ship at Pensacola in July 1914. Lieutenant Commander Mustin served as that ship's executive officer and sailed in her to European waters, with an aviation unit of four planes aboard, to look after American interests following the outbreak of World War I. 

In December 1919, Commander Mustin assumed command of Aroostook with additional duty as commander of the Fleet Air Detachment, Pacific Fleet. While in command of the Fleet Air Detachment, later designated the Aircraft Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, Mustin led a flight of a dozen airplanes on a record breaking 3,019 mile flight from San Diego, California, to Balboa, Panama. Mustin was ordered to report to the Navy department for duty as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics in late October 1921. He reported on 6 November and was promoted to Captain on 1 January 1922.

Captain Mustin was admitted to the Naval Hospital, Washington, DC, on 17 January 1923 suffering chest pain. He died after a protracted illness on 23 August 1923.

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Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence from Captain Mark L. Bristol in the Office of Naval Operations to Lt Cmdr Henry C. Mustin, US Naval Aeronautical Station, Pensacola, concerning the operations conducted at that station, Mustin's official responses to the poor fitness report written by Captain Bristol, and a series of personal letters received by Lt Cmdr and Mrs. Mustin regarding his being passed over for promotion to commander at the beginning of 1917. In addition to the correspondence, the collection contains correspondence, drawings, and patents to Mustin for various inventions concerning naval gun sights and hyrdoaeroplanes. The collection also contains Mustin's Flight Log Book during the period between 1919-1922 when Mustin was commander of the Air Detachment, Pacific Fleet and a diary of the long range flight to Balboa, which Mustin commanded between 18 December 1920 and 18 January 1921. Also included is Mustin's log book for the cruise of the USS Samar from 13 October 1899 - 3 March 1900, a small group of water color sketches, and miscellaneous ephemera. Among the later is a certificate (with photograph) from the Aero Club of America dated 10 December 1913 designating Mustin as Hydraeroplane Pilot No. 14 and a court martial pardon signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.

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Mustin, Henry C. Aero Club of America Pilot's Certificate


The collection is organized by subject matter.


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Detailed Description of the Collection


Service Record and Official Biographies

Telescopic Sights: Correspondence and Drawings


- H.C. Mustin letter of 23 May 1903 [no addressee], 4-page typewritten letter,  submitting plan for a turret sight mount designed for the 13-inch turrets on the USS Kearsage.

- H. C. Mustin to Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, 25 June 1904, 10-page typewritten letter describing prismatic telescopic sight submitted to  the Bureau  for consideration.

- H. C. Mustin to Chief of the Bureau of Equipment, 27 June 1904, 5-page typewritten letter submitting a description of an electrical night signal apparatus.

- W. J. Lewis [?] to HC Mustin, letter dated 10 April 1906 discussing Mustin's  new indicator for gun trainers.

- Telescope Mark XIII, US Naval Gun Factory drawing dated December 1906,  optical and mechanical design by H. C. Mustin.

- Turret system mount notes and sketch, 1907.




- Captain Mark L. Bristol to H. C. Mustin, US Navy Aeronautic Station, Pensacola, Florida, 21 January - 15 September 1914.

- Captain Mark L. Bristol to H. C. Mustin, US Navy Aeronautic Station, Pensacola, Florida, 17 February 1915 to 3 August 1916.

- Official correspondence and documents, including earlier fitness reports, in defense of the discrepancies in Mustin's fitness report for period 1 October 1915 - 31 March 1916, during which time he was commandant of the US Navy Aeronautic Station, Pensacola.

-  Personal correspondence regarding the Section Board and Mustin's being "passed over" for promotion to commander.




- "The Naval Aeroplane," by Lt Cmdr H. C. Mustin, Commandant, US Navy Aeronautic Station. Carbon copy of nine page typewritten manuscript.

- "Organization of Naval Flying Corps," letter from Commandant, US Navy Aeronautic Station [Mustin] to Bureau of Navigation dated 3 November 1916, carbon copy, twenty pages.

The Naval Flying Corps Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 3, March 1917, containing an article on Mustin titled "Our Ex-Commandant."

- Photograph reproduced in a magazine clipping showing members of the Navy aviation corps on the deck of the USS Mississippi. Includes: ensigns Chevalier, La Mont, and Stolz; Lt Cmdr Mustin, Lts Towers and Smith; Lts (jg) Bellinger and Saufley.

- Bidding Summary for Aircraft [tabulated chart], n.d.


Flight Logs and Certificates

 Aviators Flight Log Book, Captain H. C. Mustin, USN. Entries from 12 December 1919 to 19 August 1922. The hand written inscription on the first page reads: "Reported as Commander Air Detachment Pacific Fleet and Comd'g Officer USS Aroostock, Dec. 8, 1919 at San Diego, Calif. -- H. C. Mustin, Captain US Navy."


- San Diego - Balboa Flight Diary. Mustin's hand written diary covering the period 28 December 1920 to 18 January 1921.

- Aero Club of America, Hydraeroplane[sic] Pilot's Certificate No. 14, dated 10 December 1913 (with photograph).

- Army and Navy Air Service Association Official Certificate No. 1711, dated 25 May 1920.

- Chief Petty Offices' Club US Pacific Fleet and Station, San Diego Branch No.3, n.d.

Hydroplane Patent Application

- Copy of Application as filed 17 October 1916 of Lt Cmdr Henry C. Mustin and Lt Kenneth Whiting, Hydroaeroplanes.

Log of USS Samar

- Bound log book containing hand written entries from 13 October 1899 - 3 March 1900.



Mustin, Henry C. Schooner Sketch

 Two small water color sketches of schooners, a small pencil sketch of a schooner,and a tiny 2 1/2 inch by 4 inch notebook containing notes and pencil sketches.

Pardon by President Theodore Roosevelt


- Full and unconditional pardon for findings of court martial convened on board the USS Brooklyn for leaving his station without being regularly relieved and of sleeping on watch, dated 13 June 1902.




- United States patent applications submitted by Henry C. Mustin for various items including: Attachment for Telescopes, Water Brake Attachments for Hydroaeroplanes, Projectiles, Telescopic Ordnance Sights, and a Prismatic Telescope.

-US Patents: Focusing-Cap For Telescopes, Sighting Telescope for Indicating Ship's Oscillations.

-Foreign patents issued by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and France.


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Related Collections


Henry C. Mustin File                
ZB Files, Special Collections
Navy Department Library
Naval History and Heritage Command Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC

Captain Henry C. Mustin Papers
Emil Buehler Library 
National Museum of Naval Aviation
Naval Air Station Pensacola, Pensacola, FL

Papers of Mark L. Bristol
Manuscript Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC


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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:

Mustin, Henry C.



Air Pilots, Military -- United States
Naval Gunnery -- Patents


Corporate Subject:


Samar, PG-41



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Historical Manuscripts, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington DC, Henry C. Mustin Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Thomas Wildenberg in August 2007.

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Published: Tue Apr 09 14:23:08 EDT 2024