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Just In: USS Rochester ship newspaper 1930-1933

by Christopher Lancette
Published: Last Updated on
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USS Rochester ship newspapers

We found an extraordinary five-volume bound set of the official newspaper of the United States Ship “The Rochester” that span from Aug. 23, 1930 to March 25, 1933. The collection was originally compiled by the ship newspaper’s editor, W.H. Humphrey, whose family we have been working with.

There are three volumes of “The Rocky” bound in green boards and two in brown. Some issues are duplicates but the set of five tells the full story of the lives of the men and the mission of the ship. This is truly an exceptional find that should be of tremendous interest to military collectors, historians, descendants of the U.S.S. Rochester and anyone with a love for the U.S. Navy. We have thoroughly enjoyed reading the set and are now making them available for others to love. Find the USS Rochester newspaper collection in our Orion’s Attic eBay store in the history section of our books department.

The opening page of the first green volume explains the purpose of creating the newspaper. Datelined Balboa, Canal Zone and headlined “From the Captain,” it reads as follows:

The Captain is much pleased to have the opportunity to extend greetings and best wishes to “The Rocky”. This paper will afford means of broadcasting information about the activities and employment of the ship and her personnel. It will help to keep our families in closer touch with us, and will let other ships know that we are alive and on the job. It is hoped that the Rochester’s paper will have the support and help of all hands. In welcoming then, this paper, the Captain extends his compliments and best wishes to the editors and publishers and through them to the officers and crew of the good ship Rochester. He has been much gratified at the loyal spirit of cooperation so far displayed by everyone and hopes the “The Rocky” will be a strong influence toward their continuing loyalty, contentment and efficiency.

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Every page of USS Rochester newspaper is packed with information and insight.

The ship was captained at the time by L.P. Treadwell and commanded by L.J. Oliver.

These well-preserved editions provide mountains of insight and information on its crew and their travels. The time periods they cover are:

Green Volumes

Vol. 1: Aug. 23, 1930 to June 27, 1931

Vol. 2: July 4, 1931 to June 25, 1932

Vol. 3: July 2, 1932 to March 31, 1933

Brown Volumes (Issues start in back and move forward in time as you go from back to front)

Vol. 1: May 2, 1931 to June 25, 1932

Vol. 2: July 2, 1932 to March 25, 1933

In broad strokes, these ship newspapers include a fantastic humor section with some good old fashioned clean jokes that are just as funny today as they were then, information and essays about Navy sports, the moral code of the Navy, poetry, science, general military news, Navy news, editorials, profiles on ship personnel, crossword puzzles and so much more.

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We love the drawings, cartoons and humor of the USS Rochester newspaper.

A great many pieces reveal the humanity of the men on board the ship, like the piece in volume one about a “stowaway” that illegally boarded the ship – a tiny little seabird. Some of the countless specific stories cover topics including the U.S.S. Rochester’s cruise along the east coast of Central America in September 1930, adventures on and off ship in Mexico City, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Galveston Texas, Philippines, China, California (San Diego), Hawaii (Honolulu) and more. Other stories include one on the challenges of getting music from Victrola records and delivering it to movie audiences on the quaterdeck, Red Cross comfort kits, response to horrific Earthquake in Nicaragua, “new” Commander in Chief Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington as builder of first U.S. Navy and many others.

Background on the U.S.S. Rochester: Built by William Cramp and Sons at Philadelphia, PA. Laid down September 19, 1890. Launched December 2, 1891. Commissioned August 1, 1893 as USS New York with Captain John Philip in command. Designated Armored Cruiser No. 2 (ARC-2). During the Spanish American War, she participated in the Battle of Manila as Admiral Sampson’s flagship. Afterwards, steamed to Yohohama and became the US Navy flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. In February, 1911 she was formally renamed USS Saratoga. During World War I she served with the Pacific Patrol Force, and in December, 1917 underwent yet another name change, becoming USS Rochester. Following service with the Atlantic Fleet and in the Caribbean, Rochester returned to Asiatic waters in June 1932 and served off the Yangtze River in China. In 1933 moved to Cavite, and was officially decommissioned on April 29, 1933. Learn more about the ship at Pacific Wrecks.




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