A Window Into the Past

This well-worn three-page letter is not perhaps that remarkable as far as such things go. It is not in the hand of the great or famous, nor does it recount some historic deed or event. The contents are in fact rather mundane in nature, consisting of the thoughts of an otherwise forgotten soldier of the queen put to paper for the benefit of his brother and sister. One might consider the most remarkable thing is that these three small, yellowed and tattered pages survived at all after almost 150 years, but perhaps, more importantly, the letter opened a larger window onto the life of its sender.

shaw letter 1 copy

Above: The first page of then Corporal Thomas Shaw of the 6th Regiment of Foot to his brother and sister, probably while still posted to Ireland with the regiment’s 2nd Battalion. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com.

Dated February 9, 1874, the letter was written by the newly promoted No. 205 Corporal William Shaw of “A” Company, 2nd Battalion, the 6th Regiment of Foot to his Brother and sister from Belfast, Ireland. Shaw begins his letter in the most of traditional of manners:

“Dear Brother & Sister, It is with pleasure I’ve now sit down to write to you hoping these will find you all at home enjoying good & perfect health…”

I will not offer a complete or verbatim transcription of Shaw’s letter but he writes about events that today would be related via a phone call or even text messages. He mentions his recent promotion to corporal, inquires after other family members including his father, uncles, aunts and various children.

“I am promoted corporal & left the drummers & gone to my duty and that we are now getting on very nicely…”

shaw letter 2 copy

Above: The second page of Shaw’s February 1874 letter home. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com.

While Shaw’s letter consists primarily of familiar small talk, the mention of his regiment, and service number led to the discovery of his January 1878 discharge papers. These offer us a view of his life with the “colours” as well as a rather sad end to his military service.

Born about 1838 at St. Mark’s, Lincolnshire, Shaw attested with the 2/6th on 4 November 1857. He was appointed drummer on 1 October 1865 and then corporal (for the first time) on17 May 1868. On 11 July 1868 Shaw was reduced to private after being convicted by courts-martial for being drunk on duty. He was reappointed drummer on 1 September 1868 and promoted corporal for the second time (his promotion mentioned in his letter) on 3 February 1874. Promoted sergeant on 1 March 1876, Shaw was detached from duty with his regiment for service with the 3rd Warwick Militia on 25 May 1876. He would be discharged from service due to “Being found unfit for further military service” on 17 February 1878.

Although Shaw did not serve actively in any campaigns, he did see a bit of the empire, being stationed overseas: at Gibraltar for a bit more than four years, the Ionian Islands for just under two and the West Indies for almost four. In spite of his 1868 court-martial and resulting demotion, towards the end of his career, he was awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

Being found unfit for further military service was not an uncommon happenstance in Victoria’s army. A long-serving soldier could be rendered thus as the result of wounds received in battle, from injuries acquired performing garrison duty or any of the sicknesses or diseases found both at home and the far-flung corners of the empire. For Shaw, it was something more ominous. One the second page of his discharge papers giving the reason for his leaving the army, boldly in red ink is the word “Insane”.

On his medical report sheet, a more specific diagnosis is given as “Paralysis of the Insane”. This is an archaic medical term that apparently most often referred to serious mental decline brought on by previous syphilitic infections. The condition almost always resulted in death of the patient, often quite soon after diagnosis. Interestingly Shaw’s medical history sheet lists the cause of his condition as “climatic conditions” and as the result of “Long service in the Mediterranean and W. Indies where he was much affected by the sun.” Shaw’s cause of Shaw’s diagnosis was not the usual one and this is further reflected on his medical sheet by his regimental surgeon who wrote: “A hopeful case. Is partially able to his own support.

In any event, upon discharge Shaw was committed to the hospital at Bow (probably St. Clements) for a period of 12 months. Former Sergeant Thomas Shaw disappears from the records after this. His fate remains unknown as does his family origins.

shaw letter 3 copy

Above: The third page of Corporal Shaw’s to his brother and sister. Throughout the letter, Shaw seems to address himself in the plural “we” form, but in fact, it appears that his sister Elizabeth was living with him while posted to Ireland. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com.

Postmark USS Arizona Part II

Not long ago while perusing a well-known online auction website, I came across this used postal cover from 1935. It was originally mailed to Miss Marjorie Ogle of Glendora, California and was postmarked onboard the tragically fated battleship USS Arizona. Postal covers postmarked on the Arizona (as well as other US warships of the time) are not uncommon since commemorative covers were available by subscription service to collectors. I posted an article regarding on one of these commemorative Arizona covers here.

Schuman Arizona Cover Front

Above: Addressed to his future bride to be Marjorie Ogle, the envelope to Storekeeper 1st Class Herman Lincoln Schuman’s letter is postmarked March 7, 1935, on board the USS. Arizona. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia

Two things caught my eye with this cover. One was the hometown of the addressee Marjorie Lois Ogle which also happens to be where I live – Glendora, California. The second was the fact that it was not a commemorative/souvenir issue but a cover from a personal letter sent by a member of the crew of the Arizona apparently to his girlfriend or fiancé on March 7, 1935. At the time the Arizona was moored at San Pedro, California with the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Battle Fleet.

The cover (and sadly now missing letter) was mailed by Storekeeper First Class (SK1/c) Herman Lincoln Schuman and needless to say I began investigating his story even before purchasing the cover. The uneasy question in the back of my mind was as to whether Schuman was still aboard the Arizona six years later at Pearl Harbor on the Day of Infamy.

Schuman Arizona Cover Back

Above: The reverse side of the envelope which one held Schuman’s letter to his future wife identifying the sender as a member of the ill-fated battleship’s crew. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia

Herman Lincoln Schuman was born in Connecticut on February 12, 1912, to Otto and Elizabeth Schuman. Herman had two younger sisters, Grace (born about 1916) and May (born about 1919). Little can be known about Schuman’s early life and schooling. Scant records indicate that Schuman enlisted in the navy on March 9, 1935, and reported aboard the Arizona on the 23rd of that month – not long after James Cagney and company took over the ship during the filming of Here Comes the Navy. The very short time between enlistment and assignment implied that most of Schuman’s training took place actively onboard ship.

In the later part of 1935 Schuman would have taken part in fleet exercises and made port at Balboa, Panama. Budget cuts led to the ship being held in port for good portions of 1936 -1938 and in 1937 Schuman would marry Marjorie Ogle. The new couple took an apartment in Long Beach, California.

Schuman’s new bride was born at Enders, Nebraska on July 24, 1917, to George Washington Ogle and Orrilla Vennie Cooney. The Ogle family headed west in the early 1920s, settling in Glendora.  Marjorie’s mother died on May 5, 1923. Exactly how a blue water sailor like Herman Schuman and Marjorie, a girl from the orange growing inland town of Glendora came to meet is for now part of the story lost to history.

Schuman Arizona Report of Changes

Above: A section of the USS Arizona’s Report of Changes (ship’s muster book) for March 31, 1939. Herman L. Schuman is listed along with his service number – 375 50 95 – as well as his date, and place of enlistment – March 9, 1936, at San Pedro, California. His then rating is also given – Storekeeper 2nd Class (SK2c). Source: National Archives.

Fleet exercises took Schuman and the Arizona to Hawaiian waters in 1938 and again in 1940. It was then on to Bremerton, Washington for a long-needed overhaul which was completed in January 1941. The Arizona would make one final visit to Long Beach, California in June – July 1941. While Herman and Marjorie would have had a long overdue reunion, little did the couple know it would be the last time they would ever see one another.

The Arizona returned to Pearl Harbor and took part in additional training exercises in prelude to a war most knew was inevitable. Inevitable as the coming was seemed to be, the Japanese attack in the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, took a sleeping Pearl Harbor by total surprise. Soon after the beginning of the attack, the Arizona beat to quarters and battle stations were quickly manned. The crew’s gallant efforts came to naught. I rapid succession the Arizona was hit by eight bombs from Japanese warplanes. One bomb glanced off turret no. 2, pierced the deck and detonated in the forward magazine. The resulting explosion and fire instantaneously destroyed the forward half of the ship and the lives of 1,177 of the crewmen on board her snuffed out. In the immediate aftermath of the attack and during later salvage operations on the wreck many bodies were recovered but some 900 were declared unrecoverable. The ship would become their tomb. SK1/c Herman Lincoln Schuman is among those 900 whose still rest beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor.

Schuman’s widow Marjorie would remarry during the war to another navy man. She passed away at Benson, Arizona in 1998.

Above: A wartime film that combined a recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor with actual newsreel film of the event including the massive explosion which destroyed the USS Arizona. Source: The National Archives/YouTube.

Researching Herman Lincoln Schuman has been problematic due to the paucity of military records. Only a few pages of ship’s musters have been found for the Arizona that mentions him with these being for between 1939 and December 31, 1941.  Not much can be gleaned from these other than him being on the ship on a given date and his then given rating and his service number – 357 50 94. An inquiry made to the National Archives several months ago regarding acquiring copies of his service records has so far gone unanswered. Service records would provide much in-depth information relating to Schuman’s naval career. Additionally, after exhaustive searches, no photograph of Herman Lincoln Schuman has been found. Again, Schuman’s service records probably contain a photograph of him.

Note: In 2015 an extensive research project was initiated at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri into the service jackets (service records) of the officers and crewmen who died on the Arizona on December 7th. The project included digitally scanning the contents of all 1177 service jackets of those that died on the Arizona.  As of May 2016, the USS Arizona Casualty Project was supposed to be completed in one and a half years and the results made public. As of this posting I have not been able to find any information online as to the current status of the project. A message to the Pacific Historic Parks – USS Arizona Memorial Facebook page as to the status of the project may answer the question as to the availability of Herman Schuman’s naval records.

 

Serving His Adopted Homeland

This photographic study of a member of “B” Troop, 7th United States Cavalry would have remained unidentified had it not been for the lucky inclusion of this soldier’s calling card with the lot when purchased.

Emil_ViewegAbove: Private Emil Paul Vieweg of the 7th U.S. Cavalry poses in his M1911 winter service tunic ans M1905 service cap at Fort Riley, Kansas c. 1908. Mounted Photograph (trimmed) 6 3/4 Inches by 4 7/8 Inches (17.5 cm x 12.5 cm), Unknown Photographer
Fort Riley, Kansas, United States. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com

Born at Greiz in eastern Thuringia, Germany, on September 16, 1885, Emil Paul Vieweg arrived in the United States in 1906 and like so many other recent immigrants enlisted in the army soon thereafter on 14 December 1907. Attached as a private to “B” Troop of the famed 7th U.S. Cavalry, Vieweg served out his term of enlistment at Fort Riley, Kansas. He took his discharge on 13 December 1910. At that time his character was listed as “Excellent”. By 1910 he had already declared his intent to become a U.S. citizen and by 1920 his application had been granted.

Emil_Vieweg_Calling_Card-600x336

Above: Private Emil Vieweg’s calling card used while he was a member of “B” Troop, 7th Regiment, United States Cavalry. His photographic portrait is attached to the card in the manner and size of a postage stamp. The photograph is exactly the same image seen in the
larger photo shown above. The card and larger portrait were in all likelihood produced as a package. Such packages were probably offered at a discount and sold in various combinations to the soldiers
stationed at Fort Riley. 2 Inches by 3 1/2 Inches
(5.2 cm x 9.1 cm) c. 1908. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com

Army life must have agreed with him but perhaps having grown tired of the rather flat and boring landscape of Kansas, Vieweg re-enlisted as a private on 23 May 1911 at Fort Wadsworth, New York this time with 53 Company, United States Coast Artillery Corps. If Vieweg had intended to make a career in the army it was a short-lived hope since he was admitted to Walter Reed Army Hospital for an unknown reason on 11 November 1912. He returned to duty at Fort Wadsworth, New York on 23 December 1912 after more than a year in the hospital. Vieweg was discharged for disability on 16 May 1913. At this time his character was stated as being “good”. He applied for an army disability pension on 5 June 1918. Interestingly this application did not prevent his registering for the draft on 12 September 1918. I have found no evidence of Vieweg serving another hitch during World War One.

According to the above-mentioned draft registration, Vieweg was married with his wife’s name being Theresa. He was employed as a timekeeper with the J. L. Sommers Manufacturing Company, a firm that produced “wire novelties”. The couple made their home in Newark, New Jersey. The couple was still residing in Newark in 1930 during which time Vieweg was now employed as a department store manager.

Emil_Vieweg_B_Troop_Postcard

Above: A Real Photo Postcard titled “B Troop Sports Taking Life Easy”. The photograph was taken somewhere in the vicinity of Fort Riley, Kansas c 1908 shows nine members of B Troop, 7th United States Cavalry as well as three young men who may have been the sons of some of these soldiers. Private Emil Vieweg stands at far right leaning against the tree. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia/soldiersofthequeen.com

In the 1930 United States Census, all adult males had their status as veterans listed. Even though Vieweg clearly served in the U.S. Army he was listed as a non-veteran. I have seen several other similar cases and apparently the enumerators for the 1930 census only listed those former soldiers who had served in a war as veterans. For those men who the “veteran” box was marked “yes” it was always followed by a notation of “WW” for World War One, “SP” for the Spanish-American War and in a few cases by this late date “CW” for Civil War. It should also be noted that there was no veteran credit given to those soldiers who had taken part in the many Indian Wars – at least I have never seen one listed as such.

Vieweg and his wife who was 17 years his senior seem to have remained childless. By 1940 he was widowed and living at he Soldier’s Home Hospital in Washington DC. He passed away on 4 December 1947 and was buried at the Soldier’s Home National Cemetery, Washington DC.

Fragments of the Old West – or Checking in at Tombstone

Another fragment of the Old West – a Pima County Bank Check/Draft from Tombstone, Arizona dated September 6, 1881, payable to a member of the Fesenfeld family of Anaheim Township which was then part of Los Angeles County. It is endorsed on the reverse by S. J. Fesenfeld and countersigned by banker B. F. Seibert (Benjamin F. Seibert) also of Anaheim.  The check was drawn at Tombstone a little less two months before what would become the most infamous gunfight in the Old West – the Gunfight at the OK Corral. It is signed by P.W. Smith, Manager.

Tombstone Check 2

Above: A $50.00 Bank Check Pima County Bank Tombstone, Arizona Territory, United States. September 6, 1881. 8 inches by 3 3/8 inches (20.3cm x 8.7cm). Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.soldiersofthequeen.com.

Tombstone Check Reverse 2

Above: The reverse side of the check endorsed by S. J. Fesenfeld to “Yourselves” and countersigned by banker Benjamin F. Seibert of the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Los Angeles.

P. W. Smith (Phillip William Smith, 1828-1901) was a key and colorful figure in early Tombstone history. He was a Republican, and considered a member of Wyatt Earp’s political “faction.” It is a little-known fact that the friction between Wyatt Earp and his brothers Virgil and Morgan along with John “Doc” Holliday and the Clantons was as much political as it was legal. The Earps and many of their adherents were members of the Republican Party while Clanton’s and their allies such as Cochise County Sheriff John Behan were all Democrats. Wyatt Earp would run against – and lose to – John Behan for the office of Cochise County Sheriff.

Smith owned and operated “P. W. Smith’s,” a popular general merchandise store in Tombstone. He also owned “P. W. Smith’s Corral,” on the corner of Third Street where Wyatt and Doc Holliday sometimes stabled their horses. Smith and partners B. Solomon and J. B. Fried supplied Tombstone with gas for street lights and homes. Smith was also one of the partners in the newspaper Tombstone Epitaph along with mayor John Clum, Charles Reppy, E. B. Gage (also members or sympathizers of the Earp Faction), and several others. He sold his interest in the paper when Milt Joyce and other Democratic investors took control and brought in Sam Purdy as the new editor.

Earps

Above: Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp and John “Doc’ Holliday. All four men would shoot their way into Western legend during the so-called Gunfight at the O.K. Corral at Tombstone, Arizona on October 24, 1881. Virgil Earp served as Tombstone City Marshal and Wyatt and Vigil his deputies. Wyatt and Doc would be appointed Deputy U.S. Marshals in the bloody aftermath of the notorious gunfight.

In 1879, brothers Barron and Lionel Jacobs partnered with Smith to open the Pima County Bank, the first formal financial institution in Tucson. The two brothers were established merchants and suppliers in the Tucson and Tombstone areas, having expanded the family’s business from San Bernardino, California eastward into southeastern Arizona.

The following year, in 1880, the trio opened the “Agency Pima County Bank” in Tombstone, where it operated out of Smith’s mercantile building. In 1882 it became the Cochise County Bank, with Smith as President, but it would shut down in 1890 because of Tombstone’s depressed economy following the closure of many of the silver mines in the area.

Tombstone_(probably_in_1881)

Above: A view of Tombstone, Arizona c.1881 by noted local photographer C. S. Fly.

Many of Tombstone’s legendary lawmen and outlaws regularly did business with Smith; the day before the shootout at the OK Corral on Oct. 26, 1881, “Cow-Boys” Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury made deposits with Smith at the Pima County Bank, located in Smith’s mercantile building.

Cowboys

Above: Members of the “Cow-Boy” faction who were at odds with the Earps. Ike Clanton, Johnny Ringo, Cochise County Sheriff John Behan and a purported photo of William “Curley Bill” Brocius.

Allegedly, a day or so before the gunfight occurred, Wyatt Earp took delivery of a special frock coat from P. W. Smith’s mercantile store: supposedly a mackinaw with lined pockets and made in dark blue heavy jean or canvas. The pockets were supposed to be lined with stiff leather, doubling as holsters to hide Earp’s pistols. It was reported that Earp was wearing this coat during the famous gunfight.

Above: One of the seemingly endless number of classic scenes from the 1993 production of Tombstone. Source: Youtube/Hollywood Pictures.

On the day of the shooting, one of Smith’s employees, J. H. Batcher, was coming back to the mercantile store, following a few feet behind Wyatt Earp, who was walking in the same direction. He witnessed the famous confrontation between Tom McLaury and Wyatt, which ended when Earp slapped McLaury and then smacked him on the head with the butt of his pistol. This incident, along with Doc Holliday’s earlier confrontation with Ike Clanton, would touch off the gunfight a few hours later. Batcher would later be called to testify in court as to what he had seen that day.

Philip William Smith, merchant, banker, publisher and entrepreneur knew and associated with pretty much every major figure involved in Tombstone’s early days, and the gunfight at the OK Corral.

 

The Case of the Red Planet

Ok, so I have a slight obsession with the planet Mars of yesteryear. The Mars of today while still red, bears little if any resemblance to the celestial body that held the hopes of some great adventure like that which awaited Civil War veteran John Carter in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. Nor does it still possess the sense of impending doom as foreseen by H. G. Wells in War of the Worlds. It should, but modern science – that killer of dreams – put an untimely end to that which we all knew, or at least hoped to be true. This tiny 1/16th glass plate image of Mars harks back to those halcyon but now long lost days.

Cased Mars Front

Above: Resplendent with its padded purple velvet liner, this tiny cased image pose several questions. The thermoplastic case is of the type commonly used just prior to and during the American Civil War. The glass image itself does not appear to be an ambrotype plate one would normally see in such case but may actually be a period magic lantern slide which was cut down to fit the case. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

When closed this c. 1860 thermoplastic cased image measures a gem-like 1 7/8 inches by 2 inches (4.8cm x 5cm). The image itself is not a true photograph of Mars since at the time there was no way of tracking a planet with a telescope over the very long exposure times required to produce an image. The common practice at the time consisted of an artist or astronomer observing the planet over a given length of time and creating a drawing or painting of what he saw. Then the finished artwork was photographed in a studio setting to produce the final glass plate image. Under very close examination this image appears to have been photographed from a watercolor painting.

Cased Mars Back

Above: The detailed outside of the thermoplastic case with a fruiting plant design. The tiny rose-headed pins which retain the cases brass hinges and clasp can be clearly seen. Often mistakenly referred to as gutta percha, photographic cases such as this example was made from thermoplastic, a putty made up of coal or sawdust mixed with shelac. The plastic material was then pressed into carved steel molds and baked. The resulting hardened material took on this dark brown or sometimes black coloration and could hold extremely fine detail. Thermoplastic could be somewhat brittle and subject to chipping and cracking. This example is almost unblemished. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to indicate who may have produced or owned this little image but it must have been a prized and very unique possession then just as it is now.

 

A Map of Barsoom: Or Mars as John Carter knew it.

Returning to the Red Planet – or more properly one man’s vision of that same Red Planet, I present to you A Geographical Chart of the Planet Barsoom as beautifully drawn by Larry Ivie in 1962. This map was intended to illustrate the locals visited by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter in his adventures which began in A Princess of Mars. This 11 inch by 17-inch map was included as a supplement to The Reader’s Guide to Barsoom and Amtor by David G. Van Arnam “and others” (1963). An unbound 84-page “fanzine”, the Guide is something of a “Holy Grail” for Edgar Rice Burroughs fans and is not commonly encountered in today’s collector’s market. Perhaps it is best to describe the Guide as quite rare. Two editions were published with the first numbering 500 copies of which 200 were signed and numbered. Signed first printings can sell for upwards of $500.00 USD. The unsigned the second printing also produced in a very limited run. This map comes from a copy of the second printing.

Barsoom Map

Above: Larry Ivie’s map of Barsoom (Mars) which was included as a supplement in The Reader’s Guide to Barsoom by David G. Van Arnam (1963).  11 inches by 17 inches, Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

The map is in many ways the culmination of John Carter fans attempts at overlaying Burroughs’ Barsoom (the name given by Burroughs’ Martians to their home planet) with the geographical features of the real planet Mars. Naturally, this process has met with mixed results at best given the ever-changing amount of knowledge available on Mars itself. In 1963 when this map was created Mars was still that canal-crossed planet that captured Percival Lowell’s imagination some 80 years earlier.

Barsoom Map Detail

Above: A detail from Larry Ivie’s map of Barsoom depicting Burroughs’ hero John Carter along with one of the huge multi-armed green Martians to the left of Carter’s and at right Carter’s ever faithful pet calot named Woola. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Barsoom Map Detail 2

Above: A detail of the main portion of A Geographical Chart of the Planet Barsoom. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

ERB-In-His-Office

Above: John Carter creator Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) in his office with another of his wildly successful creations Tarzan. As a young man, Burroughs would serve as a trooper in the 7th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory before receiving a medical discharge in 1897. He would then launch himself into a career as one of the great science fiction/fantasy authors of the early 20th Century. Image: thejohncarterfiles.com

While several dozen maps of Barsoom have been published at various times and places – Burroughs created the first himself – none have been able to reconcile the real and imagined versions of the planet with any great success. The reason for this is quite simple – Burroughs wrote The Princess of Mars in 1917 when almost nothing was known about the actual surface of the planet. In a way, this worked out quite well for the author since he was in no way constrained by actual planetary science and could give his fertile imagination free reign to create at his own whim which he did with great abandon. A good example of his sidestepping what one might have considered major technical issues, Burroughs had his hero John Carter fall asleep in an Arizona cave and simply wake up on Barsoom. He would later return to Earth in much the same manner.

Barsoom Map Krenkel

Above: The special title plate by illustrator Roy G. Krenkel which was included in the Guide. 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia. 

Barsoom Map Preface

Above: The Guide’s preface by Dick Lupoff gives an excellent impression of the publication’s overall look and handmade quality. Mostly typewritten, the Guide’s 85 pages were unbound and mailed to subscribers looseleaf in a large envelope. In a nod to fans, Lupoff signed and dated the preface from “New York, Jasoom”. Jasoom being the Martian name for Earth in the John Carter stories. 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

 

 

All Aboard for Mars!

I am an avid collector of memorabilia connected with the planet Mars and the following pages of correspondence are probably the strangest Mars-related items in my possession. The following handwritten letter typed lyrics and music manuscript was sent sixty years ago to Professor Charles E. Waring in 1958 by a Mrs. Beatrice O’Malley of Dublin Ireland while he was head of the chemistry department at the University of Connecticut.

Mrs. O’Malley seems to have been enamored with the budding U.S. space program and sent her song and accompanying music to Professor Waring after reading about what must have been a hypothetical mission to Mars. The song originally titled The Satellite Song and then updated to All Aboard for Mars by Mrs. O’Malley when she read about the proposed trip to Mars. Mrs. O’Malley states that the lyrics were her original work and noted on the back of the sheet music that the tune was the work of a Mrs. Madge Carroll. Mrs. O’Malley dedicated the song to the U.S. Army.

Mars Song Letter

Above: Beatrice O’Malley’s 1958 handwritten letter to Professor Charles Waring of the University of Connecticut. She appears to have originally written the enclosed song and music to commemorate the successful launch of America’s first satellite Explorer I in January 1958. Mrs. O’Malley apparently updated her song and music after reading an erroneous news article about an impending U.S. manned mission to Mars. Why she chose Professor Waring as the recipient of her musical endeavor is unknown. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Mars Song Lyrics

Above: Beatrice O’Malley’s annotated typed lyrics for the Satellite Song, retitled by her as All Aboard for Mars. She dedicated the lyrics to the U.S. Army which oversaw the Explorer I program. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia

Mars Song Music

Above: Beatrice’s music manuscript for All Aboard for Mars. I have made no attempt to have the music played. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

Professor Waring wrote back a kind letter to Mrs. O’Malley and seemed to be rather impressed with the music (I have never asked anyone to play it so am unable to offer my opinion on the matter) and suggests that she copyright her work.  He also mentions his time in Ireland during World War II and his affection for the country and the Irish people.

Mars Song Response

Above: Charles Waring’s file copy of his thoughtful response to Beatrice O’Malley’s letter of 12 June 1958. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.

The following biography of Charles Waring by John Tanaka, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, at the University of Connecticut where Waring’s papers are held:

Charles E. Waring was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1909 and attended Muskingum College for his undergraduate work (B.Sc., 1931). He then went to Ohio State University where he earned the Ph.D. in 1936. While at Ohio State, he met Geraldine Howald. On December 19th, 1936, Waring with a bright new Ph.D. also acquired a wife, Geraldine. In 1936, Waring was hired as an instructor of chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. In 1939, he was one of five to be awarded the Lalor Foundation award for proficiency in chemical research. He chose to carry on his research at Oxford University, England, in collaboration with the internationally famous authority on chemical kinetics, Dr. C. N. Hinshelwood.

In the period 1936 to 1946, he rose from instructor to assistant professor at Brooklyn Poly. It was during this period that he initiated his research in the fields of kinetics and mechanism of gas and liquid phase reactions and free radical reactions; kinetics of fast reactions at ultra-high pressures; kinetics and thermodynamics of solid and liquid propellant systems; and combustion mechanisms of high energy fuels.

In 1946, Waring joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut as Head of the Chemistry Department. There were eight on the teaching staff in the department at the time. When he relinquished his administrative duties in 1966 to return to full-time teaching, the department had grown to 22 members. Waring was able to carry on a full research program in addition to his administrative duties. During his tenure at the University, he served as an adviser for 24 Ph.D. students and nine M.S. students. It was under Waring’s leadership that the department was one of the leaders in the University to institute the Ph.D. program.

In addition to the academic research carried on in his research laboratories, Waring was very much involved in the application end of the science. From 1942 to 1946, he was a member of London Mission, OSRD (Office of Strategic Reseach Development). From 1946-1966, he was a Technical Aide, Division 16, NDRC. He spent the summers of 1951 to 1953 in Europe and England on a scientific and technical assignment for the U.S. Government. In 1961, while on leave from the University, he served as technical director and head of the Research Department, Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake. For his wartime service, he was awarded the Presidential Citation for Merit (WWII) for contributions in the field of physics, optics, and technical intelligence.

Charles Waring died on February 16, 1981.

Above: Not all past visions of Mars were kindly. In this apocalyptic telling of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds titled The Great Martian War the Martians launch their invasion of Earth while we humans are in the midsts of World War One. Source: www.history.ca