Finding aid (PDF - 191KB)
The U.S.S. Memphis was an Armored Cruiser ship originally commissioned on 17 July 1906 as the U.S.S. Tennessee. In 1916, during World War I, a new battleship under construction was slated to be named Tennessee. As a result, on 25 May 1916 the Armored Cruiser was renamed to U.S.S. Memphis. Shortly after its rechristening the U.S.S. Memphis conducted a peacekeeping patrol of the Dominican Republic.
On the 29 August 1916, U.S.S. Memphis was at anchor in the harbor of Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. Three large waves estimated to be over 70 feet in height struck the ship. The waves washed Sailors overboard and pushed the U.S.S. Memphis onto a nearby rocky beach. Forty-three Sailors lost their lives and over two-hundred were seriously injured. The nearby U.S.S. Castine conducted rescue efforts in addition to the Marines stationed in Santa Domingo.
In the 1950s, survivors of the disaster organized a survivors association initially consisting of U.S.S. Memphis Sailors. The group later expanded to include Sailors from the U.S.S. Castine and Marines stationed in Santa Domingo.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of records that document the U.S.S. Memphis Survivors Association. The majority of the collection is comprised of scrapbooks and audiocassettes that document their reunions, in addition to, the memorials and dedications organized by the association. Also included are association administrative records and memorabilia about the U.S.S. Memphis.
Preferred Citation: USS Memphis Survivors Association Records, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.