Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 52-j
Description: Doyle G. Trent, a merchant mariner during World War II, collected objects, certificates, identification cards, portraits (one professional, one casual), passport booklet, from his tour of duty. The collection also contains various receipts from the Sailors Union of the Pacific.
Biographical Note: Catalina Island, just a short boat ride from Los Angeles Harbor, is usually associated with fun holidays and unspoiled natural beauty. But during World War II, the Island was closed to vacationers and was used for specialized military training. The US Merchant Marine had the largest presence on the island, and it was there that merchant mariner Doyle G. Trent (1925 -2012) reported for boot camp in 1943. He spent six weeks on the island and learned survival swimming along with how to shoot anti-aircraft guns. Between 1943 and 1948, Trent served on a variety of commercial vessels sailing to the South Pacific, Alaska, Germany, and England. He frequently sailed from West Coast ports including the Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro). Even after retirement, Trent never lost his fascination for the sea, and often visited San Pedro to view the ship traffic. After his death, his family donated his papers, photographs and personal items to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. The Trent collection gives us a glimpse into the life and travels of a typical merchant sailor during and immediately after World War II.
Objects in Doyle G. Trent Collection:
Seaman’s identification book, used by Doyle Trent to store official papers; black leather with metal corners and black metal button snaps; six inside pages; gold print on top cover reads “Seaman’s Identification / image of ship / PAPERS ISSUED BY / U.S. Department of Commerce / in Washington, D.C.” and at lower right corner “GENUINE LEATHER”; no manufacturer name indicated.
Above, right, is the seabag that Doyle Trent used to store his supplies while training at Catalina Island. Though he was issued a standard military uniform his seabag sported some imaginative stenciling.
Deck of 70 Signal cards; used by Doyle G. Trent during service as a Merchant Marine during WWII. These cards were used to identify the flag signals to coded messages from a ship. Each card contains printed information and color image of signal flag with an illustration of the semaphore method.
Copyright Notice: copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.
Sources: Catalina Island Goes to War. / William Sanford White, 2002. White Limited Editions. Biographical statement, Doyle G. Trent Papers, Collection 52-j, Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library.
Request Library Appointment: To view the entire Doyle G. Trent Collection, please make an appointment with the Library. To make an appointment, please fill out the request for an appointment online.
Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 5
The collection was created by John D. Swanfeldt who was an Intelligence Officer for the United States Navy Department.
Documents include birth certificate, educational records, certificates and awards, professional records, awards and certificates from employment for the United States Navy Department, Washington D.C. both prior to and after World War II. The collection contains several hundred personal letters of Swanfeldt to his family and his brother Roy, written from Washington D.C., Boulder, Colorado and Japan during duty there. A portrait of “Jack” in uniform is one of the few images of him as a young man. Objects and memorabilia such as maps, pamphlets, cards, lapel pins, and Navy form a part of this collection.
John Douglas Swanfeldt was born June 21, 1921 in Los Angeles. He attended Le Conte Jr. High School, Hollywood High School, and the University of Southern California. Upon graduation he was employed by the United States Navy Department, Washington D.C.; later he applied for, trained and graduated in 1944 as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy. He was later assigned to Japan via San Francisco and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He served in Fukuoka, Japan as a translator and consort. John D. Swanfeldt retired from the Navy Department in 1972. He died in San Gabriel, California in 1996.
Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.
Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.