Reports on our Naval Heritage Chair

Stewardship Review
From Bob Crouch

The Attached Report provides the financial status of our Chair Fund for FY 2023 as of 30 June 2023. The performance of our Fund for the past year was routine as desired with nothing exciting to report.

The bottom line for FY2023 reflects a decrease of $132,145 in Cash Equity Balance to $1,563,773. From henceforth I will make no effort to project the life expectancy of our Chair Funds. Not to worry, as an Actuary it will exceed our life expectancies. Our funding efforts began over 20 years ago with Commitments and Gifts exceeding $3.7 million. The Foundation has added to that amount over $2.7 million in Investment Earnings. The amounts disbursed to USNA at just over $3.5 million have been less than expected due to non-availability of full time tenured History Professors.

As I mentioned at our recent Luncheon, the majority of the original Stewardship and Fiduciary Teammates for our Chair Adventure are no longer included in the (To) address of this Email.

Warmest regards,

Bob Crouch

Chair Status 1

Chair Status 2

From Gene Smith, Chairholder 2022-2023

26 May 2023
Class of 1957,

Thank you for the opportunity to return to the faculty of the History Department at the United States Naval Academy as the Class of ’57 Chair of Naval Heritage for the 2022-2023 academic year. As you know, I previously taught at USNA during the 2013-2014 academic year and truly enjoyed my experience. That previously opportunity provided an important reason for me to choose to return and again I had another great year and another wonderful experience.

I taught a two-course load during each semester with one course being the basic HH104 Introduction to Naval History class that all Plebes take as well as an upper lever course. For the Fall 2022 upper-level class, I taught a course on the “American Revolution.” I previously taught this course during the fall of 2013 and I have learned that no one had taught it between 2013-2022. The USNA History Department needs a full-time early American historian who could teach these types of courses. In any case, among my class assignments for this course I had the midshipmen write a book review of an important text we used for the study of the period, and I also required them to seek out a modern website that deals with the content of this course, and then they had to write a critical analysis of the site, its organization, and its content accuracy. This is important because social media is the emerging method for informing society, and we need to convey accurate information across all medias. I also believe, being in Annapolis, Maryland, it is important for the midshipmen to learn the history of our nation’s founding and especially since Annapolis served as a temporary capital for the United States during 1782-1783. Moreover, given what has happened in our country during the last few years, I find it critical to share the experience of George Washington surrendering his military commission to the Articles of Confederation government in the Maryland State House on December 23, 1783. This event set the precedent for the military being subservient to the civilian government and this has been challenged and questioned by our previous president.

During the Spring of 2023, I taught HH104 again, as well as an upper-level course entitled, “Building a Nation and a Navy: 1789-1828.” This course focused on the development of the new United States and followed that trajectory until the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828. As a naval historian of the “Age of Sail,” this course, among other things, highlighted the naval Quasi-War with France (1798-1801), the naval Barbary War with the North African States (1801-1805), and the naval War of 1812 (1812-1815). During my career, I have written on all three of the conflicts, and I believe it is important to teach midshipmen the true development of the American experiment and the navy and how that evolution has created the country and naval force that we love today.

The last time I taught at USNA as the Class of ’57 Chair, it brought me great professional development and satisfaction. My position helped me secure a book contract with Oxford University Press to write an American military history textbook for college use. That book, In Harm’s Way: A History of the American Military Experience (2019), is now being used at universities across the United States, including the United States Military Academy at West Point. What makes this book significant, is that as the lead author I have ensured that naval history is covered when appropriate and that air power history is also covered when pertinent. This military history textbook has reportedly become the first such study to cover all three branches in its narrative and this would not have been possible without the support of the Class of ’57 Chair.

Additionally, as an early American scholar, I became fascinated with the monuments and historic weapons on the yard at USNA. Yet I noticed that the monument highlighting the Barbary War, the Tripoli Monument behind the Naval Academy Museum, seemed to be in a poor and deteriorating condition. Having addressed the Barbary War in previous books, I researched and wrote an article about the monument because I believe it needs to be preserved and saved as it is the Oldest Military Monument in the United States and perhaps the oldest in the entire country. I conducted research at the Nimitz Library in the Archives and Special Collections, as well as reached out to Dr. Claude Berube and researched at the Naval Academy Museum. Returning to a Mullen Naval History Symposium during the fall of 2017, offered me the opportunity to finalize my research and start writing soon thereafter. The result was: “The Tripoli Monument: Commemorating Our Forgotten Past,” in the Journal of Maritime Archaeology (August 2020):, which highlighted an important historical monument on the USNA campus.

During the academic year, I had the good fortune to have several pieces of research published. My revision of the chapter on the War of 1812, entitled Naval War of 1812: Independence Confirmed, 1807-1815, 42-57, in America, Sea Power, and the World, edited by James C. Bradford and John Bradford (New York: Wiley Publishers, 2022) appeared in December. I also published a chapter in a collection from a conference in Seville, Spain during the fall of 2018. It is entitled, Arsène Lacarrière Latour and the Fortifications that Defined the United States: New Orleans, January 8, 1815, 269-277, in Ingenieros para la Paz Militares para la Guerra: Del Caribe al Sudeste la Guerra, edited by Nuria Hinarejos and Pedro Luengo-Gutiérrez (Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa, 2022). Finally, I published a book for my home institution, entitled TCU’s First 100 Years: Images and Stories, Fort Worth, with Jackson W. Pearson. Fort Worth, TX: TCU Press, ISBN: 978-0-87565-840-7, that appeared in February 2023.

I have also been working on several other project during the year, including trying to secure publication of the Selected Papers of John Paul Jones. Professor James Bradford, who served as the 2012-13 Class of 1957 Chair has since retired and is in very poor health. During the summer of 2020, I visited him and he asked me to shepherd the project through to publication. It took about two years to get the project ready and in a serviceable electronic format, and now the University of Alabama Press is interested in publishing and I have been working with the history department, Class of 1957, and Foundation to secure subvention funds to publish the anticipated four volumes. During the fall term 2022, I also had the good fortune to finish a book manuscript on a New Orleans slave—Andrew Jackson’s drummer boy at the Battle of New Orleans, Jordan Bankston Noble—and the project is now under contract with LSU Press. Afterwards, I began conducting research on the project mentioned above about George Washington surrendering his military commission on December 23, 1783. My location in Annapolis, permitted me the splendid opportunity to do research in the Archives and Special Collections unit of the Nimitz Library, at the Maryland State Hall of Records (Annapolis), at the Maryland Museum of History and Culture in Baltimore, at the Mount Vernon Library, and at the Library/Archives of the Society of the Cincinnati in Washington, DC. During the spring term, I essentially finished all the primary research for this project; there were only about 30 people at the event when Washington surrendered his commission, and only three first-hand accounts of what happened, and I was able to secure all of the records with the assistance of the Maryland State Archivist. My intention is to start writing this project during the early fall of 2023 and hope to be finished by the summer of 2024.

I am very proud that I was able to return to USNA as the 2022-23 Class of 1957 Chair. It is truly a privilege and an honor to teach at what US News & World Report ranks as the #1 public college in the country and rebuild friendships with history department faculty that will endure for years to come. It also rekindles my love of early America because Annapolis is a wonderful 18th century town and USNA is a fabulous mid-19th century military installation. Moreover, the 1999 naval biography I wrote, Thomas ap Catesby Jones: Commodore of Manifest Destiny details the role he played in the founding of the United States Naval Academy.

Gene Allen Smith, Ph.D
2022-23 Class of 1957 Distinguished Chair in Naval Heritage, USNA
Professor of History, Texas Christian University

From Dr. Tyler A. Pitrof

Pitrof pg

Pitrof pg 2

Pitrof pg3

Commodore Dudley W. Knox Honors

The Naval Historical Foundation selected Dr. Kathleen William, Ph.D to receive the 2021 Medal for lifetime achievement in the profession of Naval History. See the Letter Report below.

Williams Honor pg 1

Williams Honor pg 2

Williams Honor pg 3

Below are two files received in September 2020 that report on the financial status of our Heritage Chair Program.

Stewardship Review time for our Chair in Naval Heritage. The attached
Report provides the financial status of our Chair Fund for FY 2020 as of 30
June 2020. The performance of our Fund in 2020 was very positive and
somewhat unexpected considering the turmoil in our World and the Financial
Markets. Good news is hard to find so lets just keep it simple.
On the income side, the Net Investment Earnings was $98,548. The
Foundation reports that such positive performance was due to a shift in the
investment strategy to Hedge Funds at the beginning of the Market turmoil
that worked out well for our Funds. In addition to net investment earnings,
we received $26,000 plus in new pledges (gifts).
On the outlay side there was the routine Management Fees of $23,811 and
"only" $100,000 disbursed to the USNA in support of the Chair. We can not
reconcile exactly why that number is lower than expected. My limited
discussion with the Foundation would indicate that in the turmoil of
Incumbent turnovers in the Chair and Post Doc recruitment endeavors, the
USNA absorbed most of the related administrative costs. So be it.
What is the bottom line? Our Cash Equity Balance remains at $1.8
million plus. If we assume no major financial market traumas in the near to
midterm, our 20 plus year desired lifespan for the Chair is well within

Warmest regards, hang in there, better days will soon be here,
Bob Crouch

1957 Chair Fund Status Report - FY 2020 Final Preaudit

Below are several reports received by Veep Bill regarding our Chair and its occupants. Last received first in order.

I was asked by Dave Cooper to highlight Dr. Folse’s kind words about the participation of our Class Veep, Bill Peerenboom. However, due to my limited knowledge of the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of my computer, I am unable to do that. Therefore, as a small substitute for highlighting text, let me refer you to Dr. Folse’s final page and pretend that the paragraph titled “Thank You” is highlighted. Sorry that I cannot do better but there you have it!!

Stewardship Report 2019-2020 Class of 1957 Post-Doc Fellow in Naval History

Stewardship Report 2019-2020 Class of 1957 Chair of Naval Heritage

Chair 18-19 #1

Chair 18-19 #2

Chair 18-19 #3

Junior Research Fellow 18-19 Report

Junior Research Fellow 18-19 #2

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Prof pg 1a
Prof pg 1b
Prof Pg 2

Here’s an Update on the Naval History Text currently in progress.

Bradford Update

A report from Bob Crouch on the history and current status of the Chair fund.

H. Chair Audit 2013

'57 Fund Status Rpt

Other correspondence from various sources:

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Foundation Report 2013