From Ancient Seafarers to World War II: Lt. Denison's View

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Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library

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     One of the few tangible remnants of the Maritime Officers School is this book by one of its instructors:  America's Maritime History, by Lt. Archibald C. Denison, US Naval Reserve.  Originally owned by Lucille Showalter, founding director of the New London Maritime Society, it was among the first acquisitions of the library planned for the new Custom House Maritime Museum.  Lt. Denison was on "loan" from the Navy, giving lectures on maritime history considered essential for seamen on track to become Merchant Marine officers.

     

   

      The range of subjects can be seen in the Table of Contents, from ancient times to the war that had been raging for more than three years at the time of its publication in 1944.  Lt. Denison edited his lectures into a handy reference book for his students and for the general reader.  He does not hesitate to criticize national policymakers for the checkered history of the American Merchant Marine over the years, but is confident that the changes begun with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, and later with  the outbreak of war, will lead to victory.  

     

 

     Chapter 10 praises the Coast Guard, and later chapters explain the role of the U.S. Navy, working in tandem with the Merchant Marine.  The attractive line drawings at the beginning of the chapters were made by the author, the initials "ACD '43" barely visible in the lower right corner.

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From Ancient Seafarers to World War II: Lt. Denison's View