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Naval Maneuvers: 1901

Annapolis, Maryland, circa 1901. "Cadets at residence of superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy." 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

Annapolis, Maryland, circa 1901. "Cadets at residence of superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy." 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Update on cadets

BIG update! The one in the center, seated between hat lady and the woman you can't see much of is future Vice Admiral Joel Roberts Poinsett Pringle USNA 1892. The cute boy who is entranced with the girl is the future CPT William Lord Littlefield, Class of 1896. Behind Pringle is Motohiko Takasaki, class of 1895, Empire of Japan, who designed the class ring for that year. On the right side of the picture are L-R, Roscoe Spear and Charles Webster, class of 1894.

DonY commented that the fashions on the women suggested the date to be the mid-1890s, rather than 1901. He was correct! The only time men from all of these classes would have been there, still as Naval Cadets, was in the Summer of 1894. Pringle was back from the two years "service afloat" that was required after graduation, and would be appointed an Ensign, in July. Spear and Webster would have been preparing to start their service afloat. Takasaki and Littlefield still had to finish their studies.

The dean at USNA, that year, was CPT (later Commodore) Robert Lees Phythian. He had two daughters, Bonnie, born 1871, and Cordelia, born 1874. My guess is that the object of Cadet Littlefield's affection was Cordelia. He didn't marry her, though. In fact, she married then LT Pringle, in 1899, and their daughter and her children also carried on the USNA/Navy tradition!

Here's a Lucky Bag photo of the class of 1895, in which you will see Motohiko Takasaki and a few others found in this picture, but which I can't identify. Click to enlarge.

Included in the group photo are Worth Bagley, the only line officer killed in the Spanish-American war, in the far upper left corner, and the very tall you man on the right side, in the very back, who was John Robert Monaghan. Monaghan was killed in 1899, in the second Samoan civil war.

There's a picture of our smitten Cadet Littlefield here.

Dating the Midshipmen

I’m thinking this photo was taken in 1894-1896. Big balloon sleeves on women's clothing started to appear around 1894 and by 1897 were gone. Also the hats they’re wearing are more typical of the mid 1890s. The LOC gives the date range of the U.S. Naval Academy photos as between 1890 and 1901.

[This particular image is listed in Detroit Publishing's 1901 catalog. - Dave]

The Superintendent's daughter

The Academy's superintendent from 1900 to 1902 was Commander Richard Wainwright. He and his wife Evelyn had one daughter, Louisa. She was chosen to christen the submarine USS Shark (SS-8) in 1901. The Boston Globe reported on October 29, 1902 that Miss Wainwright wed Lt. Walter Stevens Turpin (in the drawing room of "the superintendent's new residence"). He was the son of a former Maryland state senator. Do not look for him in this photo; he graduated from the academy in 1894, and was stationed at the Crescent Shipyards in Elizabethport NJ in 1901 and the USS Indiana in 1902.


Ernest King, CNO during WWII, was Class of '01. Any chance he's in the picture?

Poor girl

Misses #1 and 2 overwhelm Miss #3 who is mostly hidden to the right. I bet she complained of not being given enough "face time" in the photo.

If I may ask an obvious question

Was parting one's hair in the middle mandatory in those days? The one guy in the picture whose part is slightly off-center is wearing his hair in the manner that matches most photos of President Roosevelt at the time.

Another possibility

Is that the Asian-looking midshipman is Hiroaki Tamura, graduated 1900. Last of some 15 Japanese cadets who attended between 1869 and 1900.

Another Japanese graduated in 1993.

Season 2 of "Academy"

Heart-broken after the disappearance of Jake during a daring rescue of Bill the Goat, the college mascot, from the crow's-nest of the USS Chesapeake, Fanny reveals to Violet a terrible family secret.

Sixteen years early, "The Admiral", while on a drunken and debauched week in New Orleans, fell madly in love with one of "les filles" at Madame Fricassee's "Maison de Mauvais Parfum". Alas, "Collette", the object of his desire, was in fact Mabel, the laudanum-addicted, wayward wife of none other than "The Admiral's" own brother - and mother of Violet. Nine months later, "Collette" gave birth to a son and promptly died of Yellow Fever. The ever-resourceful Madame Fricassee employed the services of even more resourceful Sam Huckabee, private detective, to track town "The Admiral".

A financial arrangement was reached and Oswald, the product of the brief union of "The Admiral" and "Collette", was raised by Madame Fricassee and "les filles". Eventually, "The Admiral" agreed to have him enrolled at the Academy, as long as Oswald was never told of his actual parentage.

Fanny had come across "The Admiral's" stash of letters from Madame Fricassee and reveals all to Violet.

Violet, in turn, has her own secret ...

Feigning indifference to one another Oswald and Violet have secretly eloped and Violet is with child.

I feel a song comin' on

The trio of theatrical looking lads on the extreme left seem posed to begin singing a rousing rendition of a show-stopping musical number, perhaps something like "Anchors Aweigh" or some other toe-tapping, patriotic naval song. Can't you just see them stepping off the porch and doing their drill down the sidewalk?

I'll be waiting

For "Academy" Season 1, Episode 2. Written by Mudhooks, produced by Dave, directed by Shorpy.

Hilarious Comments on this Pic!

I think there is a possibility that the young man staring across the porch and the girl, are brother and sister. They seem to favor.

Edvado, that is exactly what I was thinking. Miss Elvira Gulch.

"Academy" - the miniseries

Following the trials and loves of The Class of '05 - Purvis, son of a Congressman, ambitious and dim and in love with Fanny, the Superintendent's daughter; Jake, the brilliant but diffident cadet unaware of Fanny's longing looks but well aware that her father, "The Admiral" is prepared to stop at nothing to have him drummed out of the Academy; Violet, Fanny's beautiful "City" cousin, whose dazzling smile turns the heads of most of the men on campus; Manolo, the first Filipino cadet in the history of the Academy whose dark, exotic looks have attracted the eye of Walter, Fanny's older brother, whose aspirations lie not in the Navy but on Broadway - Manolo, alas, has already fallen for Bert, the Academy's football star ...

Ahead of his time

I'm wondering about the melatonin-advantaged (Asian? Hispanic?) fellow in the middle of the picture. I wonder what sort of career he could have had in the Navy.

Or perhaps he was an exchange student from Japan? This was about the time they were working hard to create a "modern" Navy.

[He's probably Filipino, his countrymen numbering among the "newly acquired peoples" granted admission to U.S. military academies in 1901 following the defeat of Spain in the Spanish American War. - Dave]


Would love to see that gas chandelier in the foyer ablaze at night with a circle of fishtail flames flickering through the globes.

She stole his hat

to get his attention, so they are mutually smitten.

Hat in hand

Midshipman Smitten obviously has a thing for the cute young lady directly in front of him, and she is holding his cap!


One of the young men is holding something that I can't even guess what it is.

[Perhaps one of the dainty folding fans favored by sailors of the era. - Dave]

This fellow's name

Midshipman Smitten.

Love triangle

Obviously, the young man in the closeup below is smitten with the girl with the puffy hat in front of him. She, in turn is eyeing one of the likely lads to her right.

The Gaze

I don't see love in his eyes. He's probably thinking "Why on earth does she keep a dead pigeon on her head?"

No lack of confidence here.

Every one of these young people has the look and body language of supreme confidence. Ok, except for Mr. Daydreamer behind the hat lady. He's somehow fascinated and mesmerized by the millinery I suppose.

Many years later

... in a land over the rainbow, the sister of the young lady with the hat died in a tragic accident when a house fell out of the sky and struck her. The Munchkins were thrilled!

Exquisite shot

And a very explicit look.
"How can I tell her that I love her?"

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