Happy Thanksgiving to all Members of the SHNM

Dear SHNM Members,

Perhaps the material below will provide some interesting post-Thanksgiving Day meal reading!

Thanksgiving must be a great day in the Navy!  Although your Executive Director has never served in the Army Forces, I can well imagine the joy of getting special rations on this most American of holidays.  The interesting link below gives an indication of just how much the US Navy buys and prepares to give all servicemen and women a special meal.  As I’m cooking today, I can’t help but imagine the enormous tasks ahead for the Navy’s culinary specialists.  Supposedly Napoleon Bonaparte said “an army marches on its stomach.”  Surely he would have understood the same rings true for sailors!  And surely  Navy stomachs have to contend with the nature of the seas and the impact of bad storms on ships.  This would have been especially true long ago on wooden sailing ships.


Please consider the attached photograph of the menu from 1918 for the US Naval Training Station here in my part of the world, Hampton Roads, Virgnia.  Imagine, giving sailors “cigars” at the end of the meal! Not the healthiest of choices.  We’ve come a long way since 1918!Navy 1918Finally, in terms of the history of Thanksgiving meals and the US Navy, check out this interesting article from my former student, Matthew Eng.


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Annette Finley-Croswhite, Ph.D. Executive Director, Society for the History of Navy Medicine


Paris Terrorist Attacks

As many of your know, your Executive Director is a French historian; I hope that gives me some license to reflect on France during the latest terrorist attacks.  France is the oldest American ally, and we have long had a relationship with the French Navy.  On September 5, 1781, the Comte de Grasse came to General Washington’s defense in the Battle of the Chesapeake (Battle of the Virginia Capes).  The French then defeated the British Navy leading to success at Yorktown, the surrender of Cornwallis, and the birth of our nation.  Yes, American was born in some part via French midwifery.  (And incidentally one of de Grasse’s sailors stayed in Virginia after the battle and established my husband’s family line). Today we think of France and our long-standing alliance; two nations who revere liberty and freedom.  We stand with France in condemning all attacks on democratic ideals.

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Conference in Portland, Maine: Think about it; see you in Portland, May 11-15, 2016; Click on picture to enlarge

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Come to Portland for the Annual Society for the History of Navy Medicine Conference! Click on picture to enlarge.

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Honoring our Navy Veterans on Veterans Day!

In honor of Veterans Day, I’m reposing a great article on “Navy Medicine in 1914” written by Andre Sobocinski.  So for today we especially recognize Rear Admiral William Braisted who served as the Surgeon General of the Navy from 1914-1920, thus during World War I, and all those medical personnel who served with him.  We additionally recognize all Navy Veterans. http://navymedicine.navylive.dodlive.mil/archives/5995

I’m also posting a picture of the USS Relief, a floating hospital ship used duirng World War I, renamed the USS Repose in 1918.Relief

Get involved; give a paper; The Society for the History of Navy Medicine announces our upcoming conference!

The Society for the History of Navy Medicine will partner again with the North American Society for Oceanic History for an annual conference, this year in Portland Maine.  The North Atlantic Fisheries History Association will also be a co-sponsor. Please see the call for papers below and seriously think about joining us in Portland, May 11-15, 2016. The paper proposal deadline is February 1, 2016.

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Conference on the Medical History of Vietnam

Dear Society Members,

Our friends at the Office of Medical History for the US Army Medical Command draw your attention to the attached conference notice.  CFP 2016 Medical History Conference(1)

Special Thanks!

Our joint conference in Monterey was a great success, (see the posts below).  The Society for the History of Navy Medicine wishes to thank the Naval Historical Foundation and the North American Society for Oceanic History for inviting us to participate in such a wonderful conference.  Special thanks so to: Professor Warren Riess, President of NASOH and RADM John T. Mitchell, Jr., USH (Ret), President of NHF as well as Gary Ohls from the Naval War College and Victor Mastone from Underwater Archeological Resources.  SHNM particularly thanks NHM for the fantastic reception at the Casa Serrano in Monterey.

Our Panelists in Monterey and other fun pictures!

The Society for the History of Navy Medicine recently participated in a Joint Conference in Monterey, California with the Naval Historical Foundation and the North American Society for Oceanic History.  The previous post discusses this conference. This one includes some pictures: 1) Executive Director Annette Finley-Croswhite (far right) with our panelists, Diane Cooper, Anthony Wilson, and Zack Mason; 2) Reception at the Casa Serrano hosted by the Naval Historical Foundation; 3) Harry Langley talking to Alex Croswhite, guest of Annette Finley-Croswhite; 4) Harry Langley and Tom Snyder out on the town in Carmel; and, 5) The titles of our papers in the program.

SHNM Panelists and Finley

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SHNM Harry and Tom

SHNM Monterey Program

Conference In Monterey—A Grand Success!

Highlights from “The Pacific—The Peaceful Ocean?” A Joint Conference of the Naval Historical Foundation, the North American Society for Oceanic History, and the Society for the History of Navy Medicine

May 13-16, 2015 in Monterey, California was really an exciting time for the members of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine and all attendees of the joint conference.   The Society for the History of Navy Medicine was thrilled to participate and included three officers in attendance, Executive Director, Professor, Annette Finley-Croswhite, Board Member and Professor Emeritus Harold Langley, and Secretary/Treasurer, Captain Thomas Snyder, MC, USN, RET. We were particularly thrilled that Harry Langley made the trip to California from Virginia. Professor Langley is the 2014 Commodore Dudley W. Knox Naval History Lifetime Achievement Award Winner from the Naval Historical Foundation. At the age of ninety he is still an active participant and dear friend of the Society and its members. Executive Director Finley-Croswhite had the pleasure of introducing her teenage son, Alex Croswhite, to Professor Langley and they had a marvelous conversation at the Casa Serrano conference reception on historic flag preservation. The Naval Historical Foundation hosted the delightful reception at Casa Serrano in downtown Monterey.

The conference included a fascinating panel sponsored by the Society for the History of Navy Medicine entitled “Medical Care in a Pressurized Sewer Pipe: Word War II Pharmacy Mates assigned to Submarines.” Three papers were presented: Anthony Wilson offered “USS Pampanito World War II Submarine Museum and Memorial,” Zack Mason tackled “Sub Docs: A Cultural Analysis of the Day to Day Activities of the Pharmacist’s Mates aboard American Submarines During the Second World War,” and Diane Cooper presented “Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Deeds: The Forgotten Pharmacy Mates of World War II.” Professor Finley-Croswhite, chaired the session, made a very brief comment, and ran the question and answer session. The panelists all revealed fascinating insight into what they called the “Silent Service,” a group of corpsmen with specialized training who served as the key medical officers on submarines during World War II.   The history of these Pharmacist Mates is not well known, and so the papers not only illuminated a little-known area of medical history but also created something of a spoken memorial to these courageous and innovative men in the naval medical corps.

Diane Cooper is the Curator of the USS Pampanito, World War II Submarine Museum and Memorial; Anthony Wilson is an Educator on the USS Pampanito, and Zach Mason works for the National Park Service on the East coast. Zack was also the recipient of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine Graduate Student Travel Grant that allowed him to make the trip form the East coast to attend the conference. He recently received his MA in Maritime Studies from East Carolina University and is pursuing his interests in submarine technology, cultural landscapes, and emergency medicine.

The Society for the History of Navy Medicine thanks the Naval Historical Foundation and the North American Society for Oceanic History for having included us in this engaging conference in beautiful Monterey. We’d also like to thank Diane, Anthony, and Zack for offering such interesting papers!