Scope and Content
Title: Nimitz (Chester W.) Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1885-1962
Collection number: Mss144
Extent: 0.5 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Nimitz (Chester W.) Collection, Mss144, Holt-Atherton
Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
Chester William Nimitz (1885-1966) was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet
during World War II. At the age of 15 he received a congressional appointment to the U.S.
Naval Academy from which he graduated with distinction in 1905. After two years of duty
in the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, Nimitz was sent to the Philippines, where he commanded a
gunboat, and later a destroyer. When the destroyer ran aground, Nimitz was
court-martialed and found guilty, but was let off with a reprimand. Returning to the U.S.
in 1908 he commanded a succession of submarines and became an expert on diesel engines
and undersea warfare. During World War I, Nimitz was Chief of Staff to the Commander of
the Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Following the War he organized the Naval
Reserve Officers' Training Corps at the University of California, was Assistant Chief at
the Bureau of Navigation and commanded a battleship division. In 1938 he was promoted to
When the Japanese raided Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Nimitz was chief of the Bureau of
Navigation. Called frequently into consultation during the next few days by the Secretary
of the Navy, he was appointed Admiral in command the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and, in 1942, he
was also appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Ocean Area. By 1943, Nimitz,
exploiting his growing amphibious and carrier strength, opened a new, shorter line of
advance in the Central Pacific. After capturing Japanese positions in the Gilberts, the
Marshalls, the Marianas and the Palaus, Nimitz' forces supported Gen. Douglas MacArthur's
forces in their re-conquest of the Philippines. The U.S. Pacific Fleet in the Battle of
the Philippine Sea (June 1944) and the Battle for Leyte Gulf (October 1944) further
reduced the Japanese Navy until, in 1945, Nimitz' forces captured Iwo Jima and Okinawa
and his carriers began to raid Japan. On September 2, aboard the battleship Missouri in
Tokyo Bay, Nimitz was a signer of the instrument of Japanese surrender. An expert judge
of men, Nimitz gave the officers under him as little interference as possible. His tact
and serenity were proverbial. Confident in himself, he inspired confidence in others.
Following World War II, Admiral Nimitz became Chief of Naval Operations and was
instrumental in unifying the armed services under the National Military Establishment,
forerunner of the Department of Defense. Nimitz retired from active service on Dec. 16,
1947, but in 1949 he was named by the United Nations to be administrator of a plebiscite
designed to settle the dispute between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. Admiral Nimitz took
up residence in California, first at Berkeley, where he served as a regent of the
University of California (1947-1955) and later at official quarters on Treasure Island in
San Francisco Bay. He died there on Feb. 20, 1966.
Scope and Content
Transcript copies of correspondence, orders, reports, speeches (1943-1948), and press
clippings. Speeches also on microfilm. CINCPAC (Comander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet)
reports from Nimitz on operations and battles. Includes 79 photographs (1885-1957) of
Nimitz' career and signed photographs of Navy ships.