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John B. Hattendorf collection of John L. McCrea papers

Identifier: MSC-356

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence and photographs relating to Admiral McCrea’s professional career and personal interests. Of particular interest are photographs with President Franklin D. Roosevelt upon their return from the Casablanca Conference in 1943.


  • 1918, 1942-1953


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical Note

John Livingstone McCrea (1891-1990), son of Dr. Henry and Lilly Livingstone McCrea, was born in Marlette, Michigan on 1891 May 29. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1915, following his graduation from the United States Naval Academy, until his retirement in 1953 as a vice admiral.

Admiral McCrea served in both world wars. During World War I, he served in the battleship New York, which was a unit of the Sixth Battle Squadron and operated with the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea throughout the last year of the war. In the interwar period, McCrea served on a series of different ships and attended the U.S. Naval War College graduating in 1924. He also worked in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Navy Department, and was the aide to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark. He also served as naval secretary at the first meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the Arcadia Conference in December 1941.

At the start of World War II, he was appointed naval aide to the President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In this role, he accompanied the President to wartime conferences at Casablanca, Cairo and Tehran. He also established the White House Map Room and Shangri-La (current day Camp David). In August 1944, McCrea was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and assumed command of Cruiser Division ONE and a task force in the Aleutian waters in the North Pacific. Upon the death of President Roosevelt in April 1945, McCrea was recalled to Washington and served in various positions in the Navy Department, later rising to the rank of vice admiral.

McCrea retired from the Navy in 1953 and began work in the private sector. He worked as a vice president for client relations at John Hancock Life Insurance Company in Boston, retiring in 1966. Admiral John L. McCrea died on 1990 January 25 in Needham, Massachusetts.

Chronology of Naval Service Note

Born May 29 in Marlette, Michigan
Graduated from United States Naval Academy
U.S.S. New York (BB-34)
U.S.S. New Mexico (BB-40)
Aide to Admiral Hugh Rodman, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Executive officer, U.S.S. Ramapo (AO-12)
Student at U.S. Naval War College
Commander, U.S.S. Bittern (AM-36)
Assigned to the Office of the Judge Advocate General
Bachelor of law degree, George Washington University
Aide and flag secretary to the Commander, Special Service Squadron operating in Central American waters
Aide to Orin G. Murfin, Judge Advocate General
Masters of law degree, George Washington University
Navigator, U.S.S. Astoria (CA-34)
Promotion to Commander
Executive officer of naval station and aide for civil administration, Guam
Executive officer, U.S.S. Pennsylvania (BB-38)
Aide to Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations
Naval secretary at the first meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff
Promotion to Captain
Naval aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Commander, U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61)
Promotion to Rear Admiral
Commander, Cruiser Division One in attacks on Japanese installations in the Aleutian and Kurile islands
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations
Deputy Commander, United States Pacific Fleet
Director of Staff, Personnel Policy Board, United States Navy
Retirement from U.S. Navy
Vice-president for client relations, John Hancock Life Insurance Co.
Died January 25 in Needham, Massachusetts


.25 Linear Feet (1 half archival box, 1 oversize folder)


Vice Admiral John Livingstone McCrea (1891-1990) served in the Navy from 1915 until his retirement in 1953. These papers include correspondence and photographs relating to his professional career and personal interests.


This collection is arranged in alphabetical order by type.

Custodial History

Dr. Hattendorf purchased this collection from online auctions, 2018 March.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dr. John B. Hattendorf, 2018 March (Ms.Ac.2018.3).

Processing Information

This collection was processed in accordance with archival and local standards by Elizabeth Delmage, 2018 July.
Guide to the John B. Hattendorf collection of John L. McCrea papers
Dacs Finding Aid
Elizabeth Delmage
2018 Nov 7
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Naval Historical Collection Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US