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Benjamin J. Jefferson Diary

Identifier: SC 00729

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Scope and Contents

Diary of Benjamin John Jefferson, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WW I on June 27, 1917. In December, 1917 he was transferred to the destroyer USS Kimberly  where he drilled and trained for duties aboard ship.  The USS Kimberly went in commission on April 29, 1918, and Benjamin Jefferson was among the crew of the first deployment.  His entries cover some of the stops in England and France, where the destroyer had the function of protecting other ships on the waters between France and England.

The last diary entry relating to Jefferson's World War I tour of duty is for January 4, 1919. After that there are conversion tables, recipes for 'fat liquor' making and other notes on procedures relating to the tanning of animal hides as well as poems. Most of the later entries are undated, the latest date recorded is November 12, 1920.

Excerpts from Diary were provided by the seller:  "Wed. May 29  At Sea - Hunting for enemy Subs.  They are operating in this locality but are keeping clear of us.  Everybody is a little anxious.  Thursday May 30  At Sea - 12:30 all hands were roused out of their slumber by general quarters.  Sub was sighted 50 yards off our Port Bow.  Opened fire, to our surprise the enemy did not return fire or submerge and we soon discovered that instead of an enemy submarine we were firing on an overturned schooner.  This was our first big scare.  No joke.  Oct.13  Spent evening at the club, wild rumors about peace.  Oct.14  Went on Patrol duty ashore, one arrest."


  • Creation: 1917-1920


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


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Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 2009.155

Guide to the Benjamin J. Jefferson Diary
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository