USS Arizona collection

AZ 517
Photograph from the USS Arizona collection depicting the USS Arizona battleship in wet dock, circa 1932

Photograph of USS Arizona in wet dock, 1932 (AZ 517 box 16, folder 14).

Collection area: Arizona and Southwest

Collection dates: 1907-2015 bulk (bulk 1915-1941)

About this collection

This is an artificial collection comprised of materials gifted by various donors. The collection contains materials documenting the USS Arizona from its christening in June 19, 1915 to destruction on December 7, 1941. Also included are materials that document annual memorial ceremonies held at the University of Arizona Student Union and the papers of the USS Arizona Reunion Association.

The collection is comprised of six series. The first series has four subseries and comprises the bulk of the collection. This series contains photographic materials taken by the ship's personnel, the United States Navy, and other entities that document the history of the ship during its lifespan. Materials document the ship's crew, its arsenal and machinery, the various locales where the ship was stationed or provided aid, as well as other US Navy ships. Also included are materials that document the ship's interior and exterior, the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The second series contains documents that detail the history of the ship and the lives of her crew as well as materials documenting the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Materials within this series include books; programs for sporting events, religous services, and other activities on board ship; cards; invitations; certificates; ship logs; crew rosters; listings of crew and personnel; as well as USS Arizona Memorial materials; and copies of the At Em' Arizona newsletter and other materials that were generated during the ship's lifespan. Also contained in this series are scrapbooks by various sailors who served on the ship. These scrapbooks date from the 1929-1955 and contain black and white photographs, documents, and ephemera that detail the history of the USS Arizona and other US Navy battleships and the United States involvement in World War II.

The third series contains objects that resided on the ship as well as memorial and commemorative objects. The fourth series contains audio visual materials and is comprised of cassette tapes of oral histories with sailors who served on the USS Arizona as well as VHS tapes of USS Arizona memorial ceremonies.

The fifth series has seven subseries and consists of materials created by the USS Arizona Reunion Association and USS Arizona Crew-Kin Association, which are comprised of individuals who served on the USS Arizona and their kin. The sixth series contains appendices which hold access copies of documents and photographs held within the collection.

Historical background

The USS Arizona (BB-39) was launched by the United States Navy on June 19, 1915 and later commissioned on October 17, 1916. The ship was the second and last ship of the Pennsylvania class of super dreadnought battleships and boasted a 608 foot long hull made of steel which at its maximum breath reached 97 feet. She remained in the United States during World War I and instead served as a gunnery training ship on Chesapeake Bay. Following the end of World War I, she departed for Britain. On December 12, 1918 the ship sailed from Portsmouth, England acting as escort for President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference in Brest, France. In early 1919 the US Navy sent the ship to the Mediterranean on a few months' cruise. In 1921 the ship was sent into the Pacific to join the United States Pacific Fleet. From 1929-1931, the ship was modernized and used for training exercises between the two World Wars. The USS Arizona was used as aid to survivors of the Long Beach, CA earthquake of 1933. By 1940, the ship was a part of the Pacific Fleet that was transferred from California to Pearl Harbor, HI to deter imperialist Japanese forces. It was while stationed here that the USS Arizona was bombed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which resulted in the death of 1,177 officers and crewmen and the sinking of the ship. The wreckage of the ship is at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on May 30, 1962, straddles the ship's hull.

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