Summary Information

Repository
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Title
James E. Bassett Jr. Papers 1929-1977, undated
ID
M213
Date [inclusive]
1929-1977
Extent
3.5 linear feet.
Language

Preferred Citation

James E. Bassett, Jr., Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.


Biographical/Historical Note

James E. Bassett Jr. (1912-78) graduated from Bowdoin Phi Beta Kappa in 1934. After graduation, Bassett worked on the Los Angeles Times, serving as a reporter from 1934-37; aviation editor from 1937-41; science editor from 1947-48; political editor in 1961; director of the editorial pages from 1963-71; and associate editor from 1971-77. He retired in 1977. Bassett also worked for the Los Angeles Mirror serving as political editor in 1948; city editor in 1954; and assistant managing editor in 1957.

In 1941, Bassett entered the Navy as a lieutenant junior grade and became public relations officer for Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey and the Third Fleet. He served in that capacity until 1945. Bassett received the Bronze Star and retired from the Naval Reserve as a Captain.

Bassett served as press secretary for vice president Richard Nixon's campaign in 1952, as public relations director of the Republican National Committee in 1954, as campaign director for the Nixon vice presidential campaign in 1956, and as planning director of the Nixon presidential campaign in 1960. In 1962, Bassett published Harm's Way based on his wartime experience; the novel was made into a movie. Bassett also published The Sky Suspended in 1961 and Commander Prince, USN in 1971.

Bassett married Wilma Moreland in 1936 and the couple had one daughter.


Scope and Content

The collection contains Bassett's letters (1940-63) from Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater, and from the Nixon campaigns; literary drafts of published and unpublished books, short stories, and plays; photographs; records of his naval service, including documents, orders and letters (1941-56); and Mamaroneck [N.Y.] High School, Bowdoin College (including a 1930-34 scrapbook), and U.S. Navy memorabilia. The collection also includes a retirement book from his work on the Los Angeles Times, and a bound copy of The Life and Times of Los Angeles, a history of the first 100 years of the Los Angeles Times.


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288
scaref@bowdoin.edu

Collection Inventory

M213.1: Correspondence, 1940-1963, n.d. 

Series Description:

Contains Bassett's letters from various posts during WWII and during the Nixon campaigns of 1952, 1956 and 1960. The correspondence is primarily addressed to Bassett's wife.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
1 1

1940 

1 2

4 Apr 1942 - 31 Jul 1942 (Pacific Fleet) 

1 3

3 Aug 1942 - 9 Dec 1942 (Pacific Fleet) 

1 4

8 Jan 1943 - 10 Aug 1944 (Pacific Fleet) 

1 5

5 Jan 1945 - 27 Oct 1946 (Pacific Fleet) 

1 6

9 Jul 1952 - 15 Nov 1954, n.d. (Campaign letters) 

1 7

16 May 1960 - 15 Oct 1963 (Campaign letters) 


M213.2: Literary drafts, 1930-1977, n.d. 

Series Description:

Contains the typed manuscripts of Bassett's books "Favorite Son" and "Ugly Year, Lonely Man: A Political Journal of 1956." Also included are manuscripts of his short stories and plays.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
1 8

Biography 

1 9

Book Review - "Harm's Way" 

1 10

"Favorite Son" Chapter 1 

1 11

"Favorite Son" Chapter 2 

1 12

"Favorite Son" Chapter 2 

1 13

"Favorite Son" Chapter 3 

1 14

"Favorite Son" Chapter 4 

1 15

"Favorite Son" Chapter 5 

1 16

"Favorite Son" Chapter 6 

1 17

"Favorite Son" Chapter 6 

2 1

"Favorite Son" Chapter 7 

2 2

"Favorite Son" Chapter 7 

2 3

"Favorite Son" Chapter 8 

2 4

"Favorite Son" Chapter 8 

2 5

"Favorite Son" Chapter 9 

2 6

"Favorite Son" Chapter 9 

2 7

"Favorite Son" Chapter 10 

2 8

"Favorite Son" Chapter 10 

2 9

"Favorite Son" Chapter 11 

2 10

"Favorite Son" Chapter 11 

2 11

"Favorite Son" Chapter 12 

2 12

"Favorite Son" Chapter 12 

2 13

"Favorite Son" Chapter 13 

2 14

"Favorite Son" Chapter 13 

2 15

"Favorite Son" Chapter 14 

2 16

"Favorite Son" Chapter 14 

2 17

"Favorite Son" Chapter 15 

3 1

"Favorite Son" Chapter 15 

3 2

"Favorite Son" Chapter 16 

3 3

"Favorite Son" Chapter 16 

3 4

"Favorite Son" Chapter 17 

3 5

"Favorite Son" Chapter 17 

3 6

"Favorite Son" Chapter 18 

3 7

Short stories and plays - "Chasing the Wild Goose" and "?" 

3 8

Short stories and plays - "Justice is a Peeping Tom," "John Randall and the Public Life" 

3 9

Short stories and plays - "Miracle at Five-Mile Rock" 

3 10

Short stories and plays - "My Sister, Death," "Death Faces the Music" 

3 11

Short stories and plays - "Decline and Fall," "Occupation Dreamer," "This Side Sanity" 

3 12

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (drafts) 

3 13

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (prologue) 

3 14

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (prologue) 

3 15

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (February) 

3 16

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (March) 

3 1

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (April) 

3 2

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (May) 

3 3

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (June) 

3 4

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (July) 

3 5

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (February & March) 

3 6

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (April & May) 

3 7

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (June & July) 

3 8

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (August & September) 

3 9

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (October & November) 

3 10

"Ugly Year, Lonely Man" (epilogue & appendices) 

Volume
1-2

"The life and times of Los Angeles: candid history of a newspaper's first 100 years...," 1977 


M213.3: Naval records, 1941-56. 

Series Description:

Contains naval records from Bassett's service during WWII. Also included are scrapbook items.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
4 11

Naval Documents 27 Jan 1941 - 18 Nov 1943 

4 12

Naval Documents 4 Jan 1944 - 15 Aug 1956 


M213.4: Photographs, 1941-1967, n.d. 

Series Description:

Contains photographs from Bassett's time in the Navy as well as when he worked on the Nixon Campaign. This series also contains a scrapbook of a Naval trip to Hawaii.

Arrangement:

Alphabetical by subject.

Box Envelope
5 1

Bassett being decorated 

5 2

Bassett - Navy portrait 

5 3

Bassett - portrait 

5 4

Bassett - portrait 

5 5

Bassett - portrait (1950s) 

5 6

Bassett - portrait reading 

5 7

Bassett receiving award 

5 8

Bassett w/Admiral Halsey 

5 9

Bassett w/Admiral Halsey 

5 10

Bassett w/B. Jones 

5 11

Bassett w/Bill Henry, Waldo Drake & Walter Claussen (1942) 

5 12

Bassett w/Buster Keaton (27 Jun 1956) 

5 13

Bassett w/Commanding Officer and others 

5 14

Bassett w/co-pilots 

5 15

Bassett w/crew 

5 16

Bassett w/James Roosevelt(?) 

5 17

Bassett w/Richard Nixon (18 Feb 1959) 

5 18

Bassett w/Richard & Pat Nixon & Group 

5 19

Bassett w/shipmates (formal uniform) 

5 20

Battleships at sea 

5 21

Bosworth (Lt. Cmdr.) w/Bassett 

5 22

Boyington, Gregory (Major) (29 Dec 1943) 

5 23

Boyington, Gregory (Major) with airplane 

5 24

Drake, W.W. - Navy portrait 

5 25

Eisenhower, Dwight (1952) - autographed 

5 26

Halsey, W. F. (Admiral) - autographed 

5 27

Halsey, W. F. (Admiral) decorating Marine 

5 28

Halsey, W. F. (Admiral) 

5 29

Halsey, W. F. (Admiral) w/group 

5 30

Halsey, W. F. (Admiral) in receiving line; Admrl. Carnly deboarding 

5 31

Instrument of surrender (1/2) 

5 32

Instrument of surrender (2/2) 

5 33

Knox, Frank, w/C. W. Nimitz 

5 34

MacArthur Signing the Instruments of Surrender 

5 35

Moyer, A. J. (Capt.) w/Bougainville natives 

5 36

Navigation officer of heavy cruiser 11 Dec 1943 

5 37

Naval officers at event 

5 38

Nixon, Richard and Pat, w/group 

5 39

Nixon, Richard and Pat, w/group 

5 40

O'Hare (Lieutenant) in Airplane 

5 41

Parade (w/Admiral Halsey?) 

5 42

Pearl Harbor - Admiral on boat 

5 43

Pearl Harbor - Admiral on boat 

5 44

Pearl Harbor - Airplane 

5 45

Pearl Harbor - Airplane 

5 46

Pearl Harbor - Airfield 

5 47

Pearl Harbor - Airplane wreckage 

5 48

Pearl Harbor - Battleship 

5 49

Pearl Harbor - Battleship 

5 50

Pearl Harbor - Battleship 

5 51

Pearl Harbor - Battleship w/crew 

5 52

Pearl Harbor - Battleships 

5 53

Pearl Harbor - Battleships 

5 54

Pearl Harbor - Battleships 

5 55

Pearl Harbor - Bow of Ship w/Aircraft Carrier in Background 

5 56

Pearl Harbor - Crew 

5 57

Pearl Harbor - Japanese plane 

5 58

Pearl Harbor - Japanese plane on boat 

5 59

Pearl Harbor - Japanese submarine HA 19 

5 60

Pearl Harbor - Japanese submarine HA 19 

5 61

Pearl Harbor - Japanese submarine HA 19 

5 62

Pearl Harbor - Ship at dock 

5 63

Pearl Harbor - Ships 

5 64

Pearl Harbor - Ships and Airplane 

5 65

Pearl Harbor - USS Arizona 

5 66

Pearl Harbor - USS Downes 

5 67

Pearl Harbor - USS Oklahoma 

5 68

Pearl Harbor - USS Oklahoma 

5 69

Pearl Harbor - USS Oklahoma w/USS Maryland 

5 70

Pearl Harbor - USS Pennsylvania, Destroyers Cassin & Downes. 

5 71

Pearl Harbor - USS West Virginia 

5 72

Pearl Harbor - USS West Virginia 

5 73

Pearl Harbor - USS West Virgina w/USS Tennessee 

5 74

Pearl Harbor - View of sky w/airplane 

5 75

S. Pacific Force Commander w/Bassett & group; Senators Plane 

5 76

Shea, D.F.J. (Lt. Cmdr.) w/Cmdr. Leland P. Lovette 

5 77

Shea, D.F.J. (Lt. Cmdr.) w/Cmdr. Leland P. Lovette 

5 78

Silver Foxes Poster - autographed 

5 79

Supply ships arriving at Bougainville 22 Nov 1943 

5 80

Unidentified 

5 81

USS Kidd, destroyer 11 Dec 1943 

5 82

View of Seabee's 24th Construction Battalion Camp 

5 83

Wounded Marine 11 Nov 1943 

Volume
1

Album of Naval trip to Hawaii, 1967 


M213.5: Memorabilia, 1929-1977 

Series Description:

Series includes scrapbooks documenting Bassett's time as a student at Bowdoin (1930-34) and a naval officer in the Pacific during World War II (1945), as well as Bassett's travels to the Indies (1940) and participation in the "Trans World Airlines Super G Constellation California to Europe Preview Flight" (1955).

Box Folder
5 84

Certificate of Commendation from Los Angeles, California, 1963 

Volume
1

Diary 1929 

Box Folder
5 85

Inaugural materials (Eisenhower) 

5 86

Los Angeles Times (27 Aug 1945) 

5 87

Mamaroneck High School annual 1930 

5 88

Map of anchorages in the Solomon Islands 

Volume
2

Scrapbook "Bowdoin Quill," 1932-1934 

Volume-folio
3

Scrapbook of Bowdoin College, "collected and Owned by James Basset, Jr.," 1930-1934 

Volume
4

"The Bowdoin Bugle, 1935; published in Junior Year by the Class of 1935" 

Volume-folio
5

Scrapbook of WWII in the Pacific Theater, 1945 

6

Scrapbook, 1977 

Ovsz-Box
7

Scrapbook: "To the Indies," August 10 - September 19, 1940 

8

Scrapbook: "Trans World Airlines Super-G Constellation California to Europe Preview Flight, Oct 23 - Nov 3, 1955"