Vice Admiral Howard Fithian Kingman

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
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Vice Admiral Howard Fithian Kingman

Post by charlesv »

I have a fitted compartmental box or case with Vice Admiral Howard Fithian Kingman's name on it. In it are antique embroidered shoulder
military epaulets with Captains rank, a US Naval Bicorne cocked hat, a sword belt and buckle [no sword], and an aiguillette. All in fairly good condition.

I was told that they reflect an 1890 to 1910 dating and would be the time Admiral Kingman was attending Annapolis and probably was a part of his first dress uniform.? The hat was made by Joseph Starkey.

I am trying to figure out what to do with these items. Is this an item best donated to a military museum, or returned to the family? Or perhaps it is just another and best to be offered to a collector? Or even another idea that I can't think of.

I would be grateful for any information or suggestions that help me make a decision what to do with these items. I am open to providing more info and pics if it is helpful.

Thank you.
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R Leonard
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Re: Vice Admiral Howard Fithian Kingman

Post by R Leonard »

I have the same set up, a small carrying case designed and compartmented to hold the full dress fore and aft cap, epaulets and sword belt, all my father’s as an ensign in 1938; even have a picture wearing the entire get up aboard USS Arkansas circa 1940. See below.

Kingman was promoted to captain in June 1938, so the uniform was still a required item. But that uniform was no longer required, nor an item specified for wear, after 1942. I presume you have seen this ... rt%20I.pdf

What to do with it? From your post I presume you are not family. Although returning it to the family would be my first choice, I suspect that the family at some point gave it up, probably to an estate auction, as an article no one in the family wanted.

That happens. I can tell you from experience that disposing of these things is fairly routine. My father retired a rear admiral in 1971. In 2001 when he came to live with me, all his children got as many shots as they would take at what they wanted and everything else went to an estate sale. I was specifically directed to remove all ribbons, aviator wings, etc from a closet full of uniforms that were to go, which I did and I have retained possession. Among the uniforms that went was the full dress, for an ensign. Sometimes I wish I had dug in my heels, but these were his uniforms and he wanted them disposed and, frankly, I had no place to store same. I suppose some of the uniform articles are wandering around in someone or others collections, but I’ve never seen them on line.

Next choice for your articles would be a museum, probably related to Navy communications would be best; the US Navy Historical Command might be able to help with that. Lastly, if you’re not going to keep it yourself, you could try to sell it. Your call.

Here is the photo from 1940 aboard USS Arkansas . . . Left to right - Merrill Day, USMCR; Bradley Sullivan, USNR; William Leonard, USN (my father); and George Street, USN (whom those familiar with USN submarine operations might be familiar).
Steve Crandell
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Re: Vice Admiral Howard Fithian Kingman

Post by Steve Crandell »

I'd try to contact the family. If you can get in touch, offer it to them and suggest that if they would like you would donate it to a historical organization like a museum.
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