Tiggy’s Diaries

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1925-45 Handwritten Diary Wife of Admiral Thébaud WWII


  • Sold Date: 04/26/2011
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I most definitely won’t be able to do this diary justice by my description but will do my best to give you an idea of it’s very historical contents and provenance.

There is also an entry from the University of Wisconsin, at Madison:
Thebaud, Eleanor Laurie, 1899-1980.
University of Wisconsin, Madison – Archives and Special Collections
… of their travels and events over the years On the front flyleaf is a list of Bud’s ships and dates Thebaud Leo …
Diary of the wife of Admiral Leo Hewlett Thebaud. It begins March 6, 1925 traveling from Anapolis [sic] to Bremerton, Washington where here husband “Bud” sails on his first ship. The well-written diary is full of their travels, people, events, and arrangements relating mostly to their Navy life. Some of the journal summarizes entire seasons and years; personal events are interspersed with national and world events. Eleanor has underlined many names with some marginal comments. At the end are lists of names associated with social events and lists compiled of those who have died, remarried, etc. There is a list titled “Things worth while” listing highlights of their travels and events over the years. On the front flyleaf is a list of Bud’s ships and dates.

Much more below from http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/petstore/1925-45-Handwritten-Diary-Wife-of-Admiral-Thebaud-WWII_170630709885.html

1925-45 Handwritten Diary Wife of Admiral Thébaud WWII:

I most definitely won’t be able to do this diary justice by my description but will do my best to give you an idea of its very historical contents and provenance.
The diary belonged to the wife of US Navy Vice Admiral Leo Hewlett Thébaud (b. 1880, d. 1951)  (b. 1890, d. 1980) who was eventually the Director of Naval Intelligence from 1944-45. Her name was Eleanor Laurie Thébaud  [known to all her friends as ‘Babs’] (b. 1899, d. 1980).
Her husband Léo, (whom she calls Bud, [his Naval Academy nickname]), was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, class of 1913, served tours of duty at the Naval Academy and with several destroyer Squadrons spanning both World Wars. To give you an idea of his accomplishments, the following site shows one of the awards given to Admiral Thebaud. [ no link evident]
Great photo of him at the following site (??) and then the web site after (??) that is a photo of each of their graves..
The diary is FULL of incredible entries and many have to do with following her husband around as he is stationed on various ships. It spans the years 1925 through 1945 (although the label on the front of the diary says 1925-1939) and written in a large notebook measuring about 8″ x 10 ½”.
Home base seems to be around Harrisburg Pennsylvania [?? Philadelphia/Haverford] but because of his job they also live in Washington D.C., California, Paris, and more. The diary actually starts off with a trip to California and then on to Panama where she meets Follett Bradley and he becomes a friend of theirs.
The diary has 136 pages of handwritten diary entries and then 14 handwritten pages in the back with names and miscellaneous social notes. One of the great things about this diary is that she underlines many of the names within the entries and then in the side margins she’ll write a note about the people and or events that have taken place.
Some times she writes as though summing up events a month at a time and then other times she writes daily. She’s an amazing writer too. There is talk of the Hindenburg, Hitler, Lindberg, a speech she has to make on board one of the ships [the USS McCawley, named for her grandfather; she was the ship’s sponsor] , dinners at the White House, the California [Long Beach] Earthquake of 1933, the riots in Paris in 1934, trips to Canada, all the different ships her husband is in charge of, and so much more. Plus, in 1939 she gives birth to her baby girl, Diana Marie [Maris]. She also loves to drink and at one time mentions getting her first visit by a bootlegger.
I’ve taken a few excerpts here to give you a better idea of the contents of this amazing diary.


March 10th,
We arrived in Seattle on the 10th. Had breakfast at the station and then got the ferry to Bremerton. Puget Sound is lovely and when it’s clear and it was this morning, we could see the Olympics and Mt. Rainer, snow covered and looking not quite real. Bremerton and the Kitsap Inn were not very promising but our rooms are comfy and the food better then we hoped for. The New Mexico and the Pennsylvania are in the yard .. Bud went to the ship this afternoon and the trunk arrived. Early bed for we are weary. The following days have been much alike .. Mrs. Perkins who is managing the Inn is the widow of Fred Perkins who was killed in an airplane accident. He wrote “Don’t Weaken” and other poems. She’s very sweet and rather helpless. Our first Saturday we went to Seattle and spend the night at the Olympia, a very nice place. Like the Commodore on a small scale. We wandered around and looked the city over and it’s a nice new clean city with nice shops.We returned to Bremerton on the 3:30 ferry.

(From there they head to San Francisco)

April 5th,
So the days have gone on. Sunday the 5th the fleet came in. I went to mass it being Palm Sunday and got back just as the ships started in but not much could be seen because of the fog. As usual. After lunch Maj. Cummings drove me in and I got our room. About 3:30 Bud came in, after 10 days and all the fuss and excitement of the possibility of orders east to Ad. Voglegesang‘s staff [Commander, Battleship Division 2 of the Scouting Fleet], we had more then a little to say. Also Bud was doing much telephoning about the parade. Went for a walk later and late dinner at the St. Francis.
April 14th,
I wandered about town. Bought presents for the families. Bud came ashore early and for awhile we just sat and talked. Later Mrs. Lanning called and when I came up, found Edgar Thébaud and the Australian cousin Sea Captain. When they left we tried to cheer ourselves up by finishing off the scotch but we were too sunk. Dined in the Grill and afterward dressed for the ball. I wore the black. Saw lots of people we knew but went to bed early as did most of the Navy.
September 14th,
On the 14th Ma and I came to N.Y. and Ted met us at the Pennsylvania. We went to see “Louis the 14th” and next day did errands until lunch on which we had at the Vanderbilt. Then to the dock. Our first moments aboard were rather depressing for all the Canal Zone school teachers are returning to their work. Lord! What a mob. Also found I had two of them in the room with us. Ted went off to see if he knew anyone aboard and ma bribed the stewardess to look after me. Presently Ted [McCawley, her brother who had been Bud’s roommate at USNA] came back with a very presentable man, Follett Bradley , Major USA, late class of  ’10 U.S.N.A. who had stood Ted on his head for thumbing his nose at him. Remarkable memory, my brother has, praise be. F. is now in command of the Flying Field at Cristobal – France Field – and is returning from leave. Ted turned me over to him and asked him to look after me.
September 16th,
Woke to find it clear and calm. There are only about five presentable people on board. The Thompsons, a bride and groom, Herb Jones and Annabelle his wife, married one week! Polly Hartz, whose pa commands at Ft. Anador on the Pacific side and a Mrs. Anderson. There’s a General and Mrs. Russell, U.S.M.C., going to Haiti but they are stone face[d].  The Capt. is a rough diamond, no doubt. I care not for him, tho he’s asked me up to the cabin for kts.

(Short stop at Port-Au-Prince Haiti) [ No mention of the fact that the first sight that greeted her at Port-au-Prince was a large warehouse with the name Thébaud? – this was the beginning of the saga of tracing the Haitian side of the family]

September 23rd,
They got us up early so saw all of the coast line coming to Panama. Very lovely and a little like Haiti. F. appeared in uniform looking very swagger. Two palms on his decoration. We came in very slowly and about an hour or so out two planes came scouting for the ship and a little later the whole bunch, 3 bombers, 3 observation and 3 pursuit planes came and flew all around and dropped a message for Follett welcoming him back from leave. Very impressive.
(She gets off here and then takes a train for Tivoli and meets up with Bud)
September 27th,
After late breakfast we sat about until time for the train back at 12. As we were getting on we met McCullough (New York Times) the writer who has been on the [USS] Pennsylvania all summer. He was filthy and untidy but so interesting. I’m sure he hasn’t bathed in weeks! ..At 4 we swam and then “Kimono” tea and after that K.T.s at the club. The Bradleys and Maj. and Mrs. Jones came to dinner and afterwards we had “Quaker Meeting”, the men all on the porch and the females inside. That bores me. I don’t allow it at my parties.Bud and I moved to the Washington which is lovely. A beautiful room over looking the harbor and the pool. Had a swim before lunch and ordered dinner for six this evening. Slept and read all afternoon.

(She eventually heads back to spend time with her mother in Philadelphia. On the way (??) has dinner with Sir Charles and Lady Fitzpatrick in Montreal)

1926 (Another trip back to Panama)

February 3rd,
We are 12 hours late and I want to get out and shove. Saw a bit of the fleet in the haze around 2:30 and sighted land about 5. Saw two subs coming in. The Moltens and Bradleys met me and took me to the “Washington” where I got a room for the night. They are hurried off home for the war is on and they are busy.
March 7th,
Went to mass on Sunday with Bud and then came home to loaf. Went to the club about 2 and had cheese sandwiches and beer. Saw Karl and he came and talked for awhile. Slept all afternoon and then back to the club. Love Berrieu and an aviator named Allison came and sat and insisted on buying champagne and beer! Later Phil joined us and I met Capt. Lindley of the [USS] McCawley who asked us to lunch on Thursday the 11th. Bud and I went to the Union to dinner alone and had a lovely time and danced with Capt. Dick, Capt. Downs, Capt. Ferguson and George Hull.
March 11th,
I finished the white linen dress and Emily pressed it for me to wear to luncheon. I met Bud at the landing at 11:15 and went out to the USS McCawley. Everyone was all dressed up with swords and gloves and the crew lined up at attention. Capt. Lindley made a little speech and then I had to! Awful moment. Then they gave me three cheers and I then made Capt’s inspection of the whole ship. She is perfectly immaculate and I was very proud of her. We had a very nice luncheon.

[This site shows the USS McCawley in Panama in the early 1930s]

(She’s now sailing back. Heads to Jamaica – Port Antonio, St. Ann’s Bay to the Richmond Estate and then Montego Bay)

March 31st, – April 5th,
Went in to the Bay for a try at the Fruit Co. Nothing doing unless an old lady dies. Went back and packed anyway. Left about 9 in spite of the S. S. agent saying no hope. Beautiful ride all day over the mountains in the middle of the island and down on the south side. Drank much beer for lunch and fairly splashed the rest of the day. Stopped to see the Cooke’s and a drink but went on to the Turtle Tank for the night. After bath my head ached so I went to bed without sup[p]er ..Immediately after breakfast went to the F. Co. office and by golly the old lady died! So Libs and I got her room for $18 more and we sail about 5. Spent the day shopping. Went down to the dock about 4. Got the baggage on etc. Our room is next to the bar! Other passengers interesting. Sent Bud a radio (it never got to him). The radio officers the only nice people on board so we’ve talked only to them. Tablemates terrible!

(At this point in the diary and much of 1927 she spends a lot of time traveling up and down the New England coast, with much of her time in Newport and at a place she calls Faraway [Murray Bay, Quebec – where Bud’s mother lived?].  Then in 1928 Bud gets stationed on the [presidential yacht, USS] Mayflower in Washington D.C.)


January 6th – February 12th, (Which is all of page 35)
Arrived in Washington on the 6th and stowed ourselves at Mamma’s [her mother-in-law]. Next day hunted for an abode all morning with Miss Harlow and like a house at 2000 R. No houses but a very nice apartment at 1911 R. By Tuesday we’d decided on the flat and moved in on the 16th. Furniture came down from mother’s and we begin to feel settled..Wednesday night another very boring party on the Mayflower and Thursday a deck dinner at the Trains’ [Admiral Russell Train was 7 years ahead of LHT at USNA, a life-long friend and sometime mentor; he was also the father of Russell Train, the second administrator of the EPA, who helped create such landmark environmental laws as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act. ]  and , . Many callers (see list in back of book) and calls to be returned. On February 2nd, Congressional reception, almost the best Tacky Party [???] I ever saw! Not to mention the gum and Senator Heflin‘s gray spots.. Not so much more select gatherings however than the reception. Met Mrs. Hoover and young Hoover who looks like a child but is married and has two offspring by his own.


January 28th through February, (Summary)
I see I forgot to mention going to the Diplomatic reception on Nov. 15th which was most interesting and a musical also at the W.H. (White House). Very dull and Mr. Robinson kept me company yawning! In Feb. went to “The Bachelors”. Very dull. On January 22nd we dined at the McCs [McCawleys – probably refers to her uncle, Brigadier Charles Laurie McCawley USMC)]. 30 people. I sat next to Henry, 1st. Sec. French Embassy. After dinner had a long talk with Mrs. [Vincent] Massey, Canadian Minister’s wife. Charming. The end of Feb. the ship gave the annual reception and one day Mrs. Coolidge, [wife of President Calvin Coolidge], came down to lunch, informally.

(1930 is their trip to Paris and 1931 they are back on the East Coast of the US. See scanned photos of two of those pages above. Now it’s 1932 and Bud is stationed on the West Coast again.)


July though September (Summary)

Went to Coronado for the 4th and B. and I went to Aqua for the night. Had a heavenly time feeling very unmarried. Got home the 6th and Charlie Baker came in to tell us of Lee’s accident near Colorado Springs. Joan’s death. Very sad. Thursday the 7th Margot Weil arrived. Tuesday the 12th took apartment 401 at The Gaytonia, 212 Quincy. So did the Bells. Lee arrived the 15th very broken and pathetic. Moroffer state of mind. On the 19th I went east with Ma and was in Chicago, hot! Worked hard over things in apt at 2031 but had time to go to the country and see the Moltens. Also went to N.Y. for the day and dined with Henry and Marny. Left for the coast again with Skippy [their beloved wire-haired Fox Terrier], hating to leave the fresh green of the east. It’s so pretty after the dry brownness of California. The trip across the desert was awful, 123 degrees in Barstow. Skip stood it very well however and had no fits. B. met us and 212 looked very pretty. Settled down to listen to rumors of when we do or do not go home. Along in September we all got very homesick and thought and talked of fall at home. Went over to Polo and Santa Monica one Sunday with the Bells. Saw Will Rogers play. Heard from Capt. Ellis that we are definitely slated for Paris next June but someone often knocks you off your elbow before you have a chance to drink your cocktail.


(Great description of the Earthquake on March 10th, 1933. I’ve also scanned a photo of that page. It’s two pages long and she ends up leaving her home to go on board the ship where it’s safe)

July (Back on the East Coast)

Flew down at 10:30. Hot even flying. Got my hair done and rested until B. came home. We had to go over to the club to see about the seating. Katie and Bob and the Kilpatricks there on the same errand. Home to bath and dress and a good stiff drink before the party. Very hot night so wore my dear black net dress of Panama days and a feather fluff which stuck to my back during the evening and looked like Chinese writing. Punch was provided in the cellar. General Ball and his boys very beautiful in white uniforms and medals with peacock blue sashes but all were very tired and sleepy. Sat between Louis Denfeld and a Capt. Lipzi who couldn’t even speak French. P’s Powell at the same table so it was fairly amusing. Met Ad. “Ernie” King. Very nice to me.  [Notoriously difficult, ‘Uncle Ernie’ played an important role in LHT’s career following the events of 1918 when he won his Navy Cross. One of the beneficiaries of that action was E.J. King.  He also was apparently fond of  Babs and certainly was instrumental in obtaining permission for her and Diana to accompany LHT to Paris in 1945.]   Dinner took forever but finally got up to the roof and the cool air. Danced for awhile. Went home about 1:30 very tired.

(Sails to Paris on August 17th)


February 7th, (Paris)

With notice given two days ago that there would be riots on the 6th we woke to find it had happened. As ma and I came back to the Embassy yesterday at 2:30 many shops and hotels had already put up their shutters and there was just a “feeling” in the air of something about to happen. The papers this morning told us plenty. May killed, more wounded, though we heard nothing of it in this end of the village. I went down to the embassy to join B. at 12:45 and there were lots of people standing about. Also police. There were workmen repairing the Elysée Palace gate. In route to the Ritz to lunch with the Williamson Howells, we saw quite a bit of damage had been done. Lamp posts, clocks, some broken windows…

Another riot starts as they are heading back to their hotel. She tours much of Europe and has a great description of seeing the King and Queen and Prince of Wales. See scanned page above. Numerous pages devoted to her time abroad. She then sails home on “The Manhattan” on September 26th, 1935. Back touring the New England Coast all of 1936 and in the summer of 1937 they head back to California and by 1938 they are back in Washington D. C. [Annapolis, at the Naval Academy, where LHT was Executive Officer]  Then in 1939 their baby girl is born.


July-October (Summary)

..It was very hot and the waiting for my baby to be born was long and uncomfortable. The end of August I had a “false alarm” and went to Wash. Dr. Garnett didn’t want me 30 miles away so mums and I took an apartment at the Brighton on California Street and put in a weary time reading, sewing, playing cards or listening to the war news on the radio. The war began September 3rd, with Hitler attacking Poland. With Russia as an ally. Marnie came to see me and lent books. Katie Monroe was just around the corner and Bettie Envoy often took us for drives. Sweetie came every other day to see me, always hoping I wouldn’t be there. But not until 7 p.m. September 20th did I leave and our lovely 9 lb. 14 oz. girl was born at 4:20 P.M. September 21st. Dr. Garnett took wonderful care of me and I went home on October 3rd. We named our baby Diana Marie [Maris] and she is a perfectly lovely baby.

(Much more on the baby and the war in Europe)

The rest of the diary summarized up to 1945. Her husband during this time gets promoted to Admiral and then becomes the Director of the Naval Intelligence. I had so much more to quote but there is way too much to this diary and it would take up more time, time that I don’t have to devote to it.

The cover is rough, binding looks good and all in all it’s in good shape. Very important historical diary.

One Comment on "Tiggy’s Diaries"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson November 20, 2012 at 1:09 am ·

    Acquired by the University of Wisconsin:


    Thebaud, Leo Hewlett, 1890-1980.
    Navy spouses — United States — Biography.
    Navy spouses — United States — Diaries.
    American diaries.

    Publication Info
    Format: Manuscripts, Theses Manuscripts, Theses

    Publication info: 1925-1945.
    Physical details: 152 p. ; 27 cm.
    OCLC: ocn730285174

    Diary of the wife of Admiral Leo Hewlett Thebaud. It begins March 6, 1925 traveling from Anapolis to Bremerton, Washington where here husband “Bud” sails on his first ship [DTN note: This was certainly not his first ship as he graduated from USNA in 1913, 12 years previously]. The well-written diary is full of their travels, people, events, and arrangements relating mostly to their Navy life. Some of the journal summarizes entire seasons and years; personal events are interspersed with national and world events. Eleanor has underlined many names with some marginal comments. At the end are lists of names associated with social and diplomatic events and lists compiled of those who have died, remarried, etc. There is a list titled “Things worth while” listing highlights of their travels and events over the years. On the front flyleaf is a list of Bud’s ships and dates.
    Cairns Collection of American Women Writers
    University of Wisconsin–Madison. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections.
    Permalink: http://madcat.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=8557274

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