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Catalog Number 2002.3.36
Object Name Report
Accession number 2002.3
Description A report of work aboard the U.S.S. Orizaba during June, 1918

Switzer believed that this was the best and most profitable of all the trips he had been on yet. The Captain and Executive officers were cordial. He liked that he was given his own room which included a hot and cold shower bath. He was used to unrestricted movements on the other ships such as the Agamemnon but he liked the trip abroad the U.S.S. Orizaba more so because there was no Chaplin to prevent him from doing things. Entertainment provided by the U.S.S. Orizaba is limited to some Victrolas and some records. The Y.M.C.A. however gave him checkers, picture screens, film cement, thumb tack, and pencil sharpeners. He wasn't allowed to get the stuff aboard until the day of sailing and he wasn't able to check it until they were already out to sea. He notes that on the return trip he will make sure to get everything ready long before the ship sets sail. For the troops he ran movies in the afternoon and song slides in the evening. Since the troops wanted to stay on deck as long as possible due to the heat of the night he would also show a movie at night in the officer's ward room. The soldiers spend a lot of time singing when reels were being changed and even during the movies. Some officers had stringed instruments to play so he gave them sheet music. On Sunday they set sail, showed a picture, and sang songs. The songs were only religious in nature. After the singing he gave a talk and passed out testaments. After the dinner he passed out religious song books, and gave a short talk which the soldiers enjoyed The officers also sang religious songs on their own time. He gave several personal conferences and was presented with so many questions that he became rather tired. The soldiers wrote many letters. He was able to make sure every man was able to write at least one letter. He also has to limit the number of letters that some of the soldiers could write because they wanted to write so many. A few of the officers offered to censor the mail so that it wouldn't end up being rejected. It was his opinion that at least three thousand letters were written. The most popular sheets and book given out where the French ones. He was able to distribute all of the American Library Association books, so any of the soldiers that wanted books to read go one. He was given free rein over the crew but they were too busy. In order for the crew to see at least one movie a day, He made sure to have two showings of each movie a day. He remarks that every division is organized into soldiers who want to focus on physical, social educational or religious activities. The Soldiers also wanted a French class so that they could learn the language for when they arrived in Europe. He is also in the process of organizing concerts, mintrels, and vaudeville shows.
Date June, 1918
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1918
Subjects Ocean travel
Ship captains
Religious meetings
Young Men's Christian associations
Letter Writing
Officers' quarters
Minstrel shows
Vaudeville shows
Search Terms YMCA