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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Navy Cadets: 1894

Navy Cadets: 1894

Annapolis, Maryland. "U.S. Naval Academy. A group of cadets. Graduating class of 1894." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


Important answers about Naval Cadets and Midshipmen!

It has been a few years since this, this (as well as two photos taken around a gazebo, with the class years, '92 and '94, spelled out in their caps) were discussed. However, since there was a lot of interest about them, I have been searching for answers to some of the questions that these photos have generated.

I noticed, some time ago, that the men in this and the other photo are not in the gazebo '94 picture, but ARE in the '92 picture. I thought perhaps it had been mislabeled at some point. What I have found is that these pictures WERE taken in 1894, but the men in them were not graduates that year.

Before 1902, students at the academy were known as Naval Cadets, but there was more that was different than just what they were called! Graduation rendered them Midshipmen, NOT commissioned officers. Upon graduation, they were sent to sea for two years, when many grew facial hair. AFTER that, they returned to Annapolis, where they took their final exams, and were commissioned as officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. The fact that they had been apart for two years prior to this certainly explains some of their obvious joy at being together!

You won't find Joseph Mason Reeves here, but I have identified a few. Due, in part, to the facial hair so many had grown, I have not been able to identify but two, with absolute certainty. They are both in the uppermost seated row:

The baby-faced, dark-haired man, second from the left, is future MajGen John H. Russell (1872-1947) who, in 1934, became the commandant of the US Marine Corps. The picture I am adding is, as near as I can tell, from the 1920s. He really hadn't changed a great deal!

The other, the future Capt. Frederick A. Traut (1871-1958), hadn't changed much, either! He's the man second from the right, who apparently had bags under his eyes. I located him, back at the Naval Academy, in 1914-15, as head of the department of Modern Languages. This picture I am posting appears in the 1915 yearbook "Lucky Bag". (Were the eye bags just shadows, or had the photo been touched up?)


Looks like there were no uniformity requirements for cadets' footwearback then. I don't think there was even as late as the 1930's. I recall a pic (here on Shorpy), of an American general from around 1938, posing with a Spanish officer (?) and he's wearing wing tip brogues.

No Pipes

Do they get a Pipe after they're assigned to a ship?


My 'vote' is for the fellow that already has a beard; front and center in this picture, but I still think "Bulldog" is an apt nickname for the fellow on the far right, front row. Wonder if his last name was 'Drummond'?

RE: To Match or Not to Match

I'm guessing that Reeves is either the gentleman enjoying a bear hug or the one sitting left of the fellow who looks about 3 seconds away from bursting into tears.

Third row from front, far left = Robert De Niro in "Once Upon a Time in America".

That part.

Will never come back into style. Shemp Howard ruined it for us guys.

The same group

The same group appeared here previously.

Little does the NFL know

One of these young men is Joseph “Bulldog” Reeves, inventor of the football helmet and a naval aviation pioneer. Read about his helmet here: and his distinguished military career here:

Apparently the class survived the vicious hazing at the Academy back then, as seen here:

Constructor of the Navy and Chief of the Bureau of Construction

Rear Admiral Washington Lee Capps (31 January 1864 – 31 May 1935) USNA Class of 1884

John Martin Poyer, is that you?

John Martin Poyer, 1861 - May 12, 1922, USNA Class of 1894. 12 Naval Governor of American Samoa.

Awarded The Navy Cross for quarantining American Samoa during the flue pandemic of 1819, there were no flue deaths in American Samoa due to Poyer's action.

To Match or Not to Match

The attached was taken in 1928. Rear Admiral Joseph M. Reeves is front center. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1894. Can anyone find him in the 1894 class photo?

Midshipmen...or not?

I almost corrected the post to point out they are "midshipmen" and not "cadets," but it turns out the term, or rank, of "midshipman" was not permanently adopted until 1902.

At any rate, cadets/midshipmen with facial hair? Not so much these days. And some of these fellows sure look a bit weathered for men in their late teens to early/mid 20s.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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