Finding aid (Word)
Scope and Content Note
This collection of papers is primarily those of William P. Harding and Jeremiah Harding. There are also a few letters and papers from Anna Becker Harding (Mrs. William P. Harding) and her son, Frank Harding.
The papers of Jeremiah Harding consist primarily of service records, and include his orders and requests for leave dating from 1864 to 1885. Jeremiah Harding served as an acting boatswain, later promoted to boatswain, in a variety of ships and stations. In the last record of him, he is assigned to the Engineering Department at Mare Island Navy Yard in California for a three-year tour (1884-1887). The collection contains a few photographs of him and his family, but no correspondence.
The papers of his son, William P. Harding, are more voluminous and varied in nature. William P. Harding served several long tours of duty in the Philippines as a carpenter, at one point being in charge of all carpentry work at that station. He was promoted to Chief Carpenter in 1904. In addition to his orders and leave requests, the collection contains correspondence to his wife and son from 1898 to 1900. His correspondence contains excellent narratives of his work and his surroundings, among them a detailed description of a visit to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1911. William P. Harding died suddenly on 23 June 1915 while on shore duty in Philadelphia.
Other items in the collection consist of correspondence from Frank Harding to his parents; sympathy letters to Anna Harding upon the death of her husband, William; photographs collected by William showing various ships under construction and the Philippines; Harding family photographs; and miscellaneous souvenir booklets of USS Monterey, the Manila Hotel, San Francisco in 1908 upon the arrival of the Atlantic Fleet, and the Mare Island Navy Yard.
Also included with the donation of the above papers were several cap ribbons from ships on which William P. Harding served and several Russian ships, including Aurora, collected during South Carolina's visit to Kronstadt in 1911. These artifacts were turned over to the Curator Branch.
This collection should be cited as Papers of the Harding Family, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, D.C.
Subject Headings (LCSH)
United States--History, Naval.
United States. Navy--Boatswains.
United States. Navy--Examinations.
United States. Navy--Pay, allowances, etc.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
United States. Navy--History--Sources.