RIBALD STORIES FILL WORLD WAR II U.S. NAVY SAILOR’S DIARY-STYLE BOOK
He apparently loaned to fellow shipmates while their historic ship, the U.S.S. San Diego was active in the Pacific Theatre of operations. The book, with over 150 pages (not all written upon), measures 5-1/4” wide by 8” tall, has a grey-colored canvas-bound cover and is imprinted on first inside page with “50174 Manufactured by U.S. Government Printing Office,” suggesting it was to be used for recording military information. Each of its interior pages are lined. But it was not used for military purposes.
The same inside first page is inscribed in blue ink with “This belongs to Claude L. Stellwag S1/c (Seaman First Class)/U.S.S. San Diego/2nd Div/U.S.N.R.” The reverse side of this page has a female’s nude torso drawn in pen and “NOTICE. If you do not behave in being human, this book will not interest you. But I don’t think you would want to miss the chance to read it, if you haven’t done so before. If you have any stories which are not in this book, please lend them to me to help fill up the pages. Thank you! CLS”. This notice perhaps suggests that the ribald stories in the book perhaps had been printed in various publications and then recorded on these pages.
The book’s next page has an index with the titles of stories included—Rosie, A Sailor’s Dream, Romance in the Woods, The Milkers, Adventures of a 21 Yr Old School Teacher, The Farmers Daughter, How to Kill an Ell, Silk Stocking, The Two Little Sister, The Widow and the Dog. Additional stories are also included but not put in the index.
There are two additional stories written on loose pages in the book, as well as one page of diary entries dated from Feb. 25, 1946 to February 28, 1946 in which Stellwag described his duties aboard the San Diego, including “Worked in the Pig Pen as usual. Stood by for a fellow so he could go to the movies. Hit the rack early.”
The San Diego was a light cruiser commissioned during World War II on 10 January 1942. It was decommissioned on 4 November 1946. During World War II it was one of the most decorated US ships, being awarded 18 battle stars, and was the first major Allied warship to enter Tokyo Bay after the surrender of Japan. Note the drawing Seaman First Class Claude L. Stellwag drew on the book’s front cover, with the vessel’s guns firing, smoke billowing from their muzzles.
The book provides an accurate record of the ribald tales circulated during World War II-era. It is offered only because of it being historically relevant to understanding the era and life aboard a naval vessel. In very good condition. $400