Sea History 106 - Winter 2003-2004

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AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE MUSEUM NEWS HALL OF FAME 2004 INDUCTEES Edwin J. O'Hara and rhe rive rboar Delta Queen were inducred inro rhe Museum's Narional Hall of Fame in January. Edwin O'Hara was an engin eering cader assigned ro rhe Liberry ship Stephen Hopkins for sea rraining. In fall 1942, rhe Hopkins was inrercepred by rwo Ge rman co mmerce raiders. The Hopkins's caprain elecred ro fighr, bur soo n rhe ship was in flam es and rhe crew ordered ro ''Abandon Ship. " O 'Hara made the deck to find th e crew of his ship's 4- in ch gun dead or wounded. He loaded and fired the gun's last five rounds by himself before fal ling mortally wounded. O 'H ara had sco red a number of direct hits o n th e enemy, sinking one vessel and severely dam aging the other. H e posthumously received the Merchant Marine's highest honor, th e Distinguished Service Medal, in 1943. The sreamboat Delta Queen began her career in 1927 on the Sacramento River providing overnight travel berween Sacramenro and San Francisco. In her heyday, Delta Queen boasted 11 7 staterooms and a dormitory to house 234 passengers, plus capaciry for 400 rons of cargo and 55 auromobiles! In 194 1, the US Navy chartered Delta Queen as a minesweeping training vessel. She lare r ferried troops ro ships anchored in San Francisco Bay. Retired and declared surplus in 1946, the steamboat was sold ro the G reene Lin e of C incinnati. After a challenging 5,000-mile journey under row fro m Californi a inro the Mississippi Rive r, Delta Queen was rorally refurbi shed and began a new life as an excursion boat servin g the W estern Rivers sys tem. In 1966, new legislation forbad e passenger operations in ships with wooden superstructures and almost gro unded th e ship for good . A public outcry caused Congress ro pass a special exemptio n for rhe vessel. In 1970, Delta Queen was designated a National Histo ric Landm ark and today still runs passenger excursions on th e Miss issippi Ri ver. (AMMM, USM MA, Kings Point NY 11 024; 516 773-55 15; e- mail: ammmuseum @ao l. co m)


OBITUARIES HORACE P. BECK (1920-2003) di ed in July 2003 in Vermo nr. Born in Newporr, Rhode Island ro a pri vileged fami ly, he wo rked as a commercial fisherman, lumberman, and miner while on breaks from college. H e served in the US Navy during World War II and then returned ro earn his docto rate from the Unive rsiry of Pennsylvania in 1952. Beck taught at Middlebury College si nce 1955 and retired in 1983 as Professor Em eritus of America n Literature and Folklore. H e had rremendous respect and passion for the sea and a love of the wild. A recognized maritime scholar, he was also an inspiring teacher who lived what he taughr. A lifelong sailo r, Beck traveled extensively in his own boat collecting dara as a fo lklorisr. H e is most well known for his life's wo rk, Folklore and the Sea, which was published in 1973 an d is curren dy in its fourth printing. Folklore and the Sea has both an academic and general readership as it covers everything maritime, including chanteys, pirates, supersririo ns, and rradirions from big ships ro rhe smallest wa tercraft. Beck is survived by his wife Jane C. Beck, Executive Direcro r of rhe Vermont FolkJife Center. DR. WILLIAM J. MORGAN (191 7-2003), former H ead, Research Branch, Naval Hisrorical Center, died last March ar rhe age of86 . H e served as a US Naval officer in World War II. Later, he moved ro Cal ifornia and raughr high school and college wh ile arrending rhe Universiry of Sourhern California, earning his PhD in hisro ry in 1956 . His doctoral wo rk was inrerrupred by a recall ro acrive du ry during rhe Korean War, and before finishing his degree, he began workin g ar rhe Naval Hisrory Division in Washington, D C. Morgan spent nearly 30 years ar rhe N H C. As head of rhe Research Branch, his experrise covered all periods, bur his specialry was rhe American Revolurion. His m enror over many years was Rear Adm. Ernest "Judge" Eller, a former C hief of Naval Information, who supported the esrablishment of rhe "Naval Documents of th e American Revolutio n." T his series was begun in collaboratio n wirh W illiam Bell C lark, a priva re cirizen whose own collecrion of early American naval documenrs he pur ar rhe disposal of rhe Naval Hisrory Divisio n. Since abour 1956, a global search of American and European public and priva re archives has go ne on to reco nstirute, cenrralize, edit, and publish rhese records. Afrer C lark's dearh in 1970, Morgan was tiam ed as his successo r. Much of his time at the Center was devoted ro this challenging wo rk, and when he retired in 1982, the series had progressed to a roral of nine vo lumes. Many other tasks also consp ired ro fill his days, however, such as the Autobiography of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, USN, rhe Civil Wt'zr Naval Chronology, and a Naval Chronology of World Wt'zr fl. In 1982, he received rhe Navy's hi ghest civilian award, rhe Disringuished C ivilian Service Award and also was named senior hisrorian emeritus. The No rth American Sociery fo r Oceanic Hisrory awarded him its highest award, rhe K. Jack Bauer Award , for scholarly achievement and public service in 1996 .

William ]. Morgan accepts the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Vice ChiefofNaval Operations in 1982. 39