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Guide to the Lawrence Winston Papers
1938-1945
 MS 2

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Shannon Yule

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 21, 2022
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Winston, Lawrence
Title: Lawrence Winston papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1938-1945
Abstract: Lawrence Winston was an African American United States Navy sailor who served aboard the USS Mugford and the USS General M.M. Patrick during World War II. The USS Mugford, a destroyer, was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack on December 7, 1941. This collection contains approximately three hundred and fifty letters written by Lawrence Winston to his wife Cecelia Winston, including forty V-mails.
Quantity: 1.08 Linear feet (3 boxes)
Location: Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: MS 2

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Biographical Note

Lawrence Winston, an African American United States Navy sailor, served aboard the USS Mugford, 1938-1944 and the USS General M.M. Patrick, 1944-[]. The USS Mugford, a destroyer, was stationed at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Winston joined the Navy in 1936 and re-enlisted in November, 1941. He started dating Cecelia Little in the fall of 1936 while he was at the Annapolis Naval Academy. He married her in 1938 and she gave birth to their first child, Patricia Anne, later that year. They had another girl in September of 1940, Charlotte.

Winston was transferred to Boston in May of 1938 where he began his service aboard the USS Mugford. This destroyer was stationed at numerous locations prior to the war including: Panama; Guantanamo, Cuba; Gonaives, Haiti; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Port Au Prince; San Diego, CA; Pearl Harbor, HI; and Japan. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Winston's ship was involved in campaigns in the South Pacific--including the Guadalcanal landings and operations in New Guinea and the Solomon and Marshall Islands. In February, 1944 the USS Mugford returned to the U.S. for overhaul. Lawrence was transferred to the USS General M.M. Patrick, which launched in June of 1944. This ship transported military personnel and traveled to numerous locations including: Pearl Harbor; Guam; the Philippines; Australia; and Calcutta, India.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains approximately three hundred and fifty letters written from 1938 to 1945, primarily by Lawrence Winston to his wife Cecelia Winston. Additionally, the collection includes several letters written by Lawrence to various relatives (his mother, father, daughter Pat, and father-in-law) and several letters written to Cecelia from her relatives.

The correspondence contains a number of letters written while Lawrence was stationed at Pearl Harbor, from pre-war through early 1942. Although there are no descriptive letters about the attack, the collection contains two items from December of 1941. As all mail was censored for sensitive material during the war, Lawrence Winston does not write about his location or activities. Therefore, much of the content of the letters of this period regards his personal feelings towards his wife and daughters and domestic issues such as finances.

Highlights of the correspondence include: a 1938 letter describing the negro condition in Panama and the nature of Panamanians in general; descriptions of the natives in Port Au Prince and their differing treatment of negroes and whites; a letter dated November, 1941 discussing the delicate war crisis written after Lawrence's return from Japan; descriptions of his physical and mental deterioration due to bombings and the stress of being away from home for nearly four years straight; and some letters revealing the experience of African American sailors in the Navy.

In addition to the typed and hand-written letters the collections contain 40 V-mails, several telegrams and postcards, and a few ephemeral items.

Arrangement

Letters are arranged chronologically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Winston, Cecelia
  • Winston, Lawrence

Document Type

  • Correspondence.
  • Ephemera.
  • Postcards.
  • Telegrams.
  • V-mail

Subject Organizations

  • USS General M.M. Patrick (AP-150)
  • USS Mugford (Destroyer: DD-389)
  • United States. Navy -- African Americans.

Subject Topics

  • Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Naval operations

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Lawrence Winston Papers, MS 2, The New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 2006

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Yule, 2011.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1938 Apr.- 1938 Sept.
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1938 Oct.- 1938 Dec.
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1939 Jan.
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1939 Feb.- 1939 Apr.
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1939 May - 1939 July
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1939 Aug.- 1939 Dec.
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1940 Mar.- 1940 May
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1940 June - 1940 July
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1940 Aug.
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1940 Sept.- 1940 Dec.
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1941 Jan.- 1941 June
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1941 July - 1941 Dec.
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1942 Jan.- 1942 Dec.
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1943 Jan.- 1943 July
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1943 Aug.- 1943 Sept.
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1943 Oct.
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1943 Nov.- 1943 Dec.
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1944 Jan.- 1944 Feb.
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1944 Apr.- 1944 Aug.
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1944 Sept.- 1944 Dec.
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1945 Mar.- 1945 June
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Correspondence to Cecelia Winston
1945 July - 1945 Aug.
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Incomplete or undated correspondence to Cecelia Winston
Undated
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Correspondence to mother, father, daughter Pat, and father-in-law
1938-1943
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Correspondence to Cecelia from her relatives
1938-1944
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Postcards, telegrams, ephemera
1940-1944
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Empty envelopes from Lawrence to Cecelia
1938-1945
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Empty envelopes to Cecelia from others
1938-1941

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