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Frank N. Pilling papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0370
Frank N. (Francis Nelson) Pilling was born in Baltimore, October 17, 1908. The papers consist largely of his personal writings, some in typescript and some in published form. Other items include correspondence, photographs, genealogical records, and documents and notes from his wartime service in London.

Dates

  • 1923-1984

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

1.25 Cubic Feet (1 record center carton)

Biographical / Historical

Frank N. (Francis Nelson) Pilling was born in Baltimore, October 17, 1908. He was educated at the Boys Latin School and graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 1930. During the 1930s, Pilling worked briefly as a high school English teacher and later as a social worker with the Baltimore Emergency Relief Commission. Between 1937 and 1941, he concentrated on what he described as a "self-financed study and writing in human organization and human relations." When the war began, Pilling worked for a time at the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Baltimore before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1942. In 1943, Pilling was ordered to England, and during the Atlantic crossing, his ship was torpedoed and sunk. Pilling was rescued at sea and was so affected by the event, he formed a life-long friendship with Albert Hocken, captain of the British rescue ship.

Eventually Pilling was posted in London and assigned to public relations work, mainly to establish a collegial relationship between British and American service people. He organized dinner-discussion groups in London with prominent British speakers and was a member of the organizing committee for the British and American Forces Dining Club. Leaving London, he was posted to Washington where he did publicity work for the Bureau of Ships public relations section.

Pilling returned to civilian life and resumed his personal writings. Government, history, politics, and social issues were favorite subjects. For a time, he concentrated on the construction of a house in Maine where he summered with his wife, Muriel L. Pilling. Their primary residence was in Waynesboro, PA. Mrs. Pilling compiled and had privately printed many of her husband's essays and observations.

Frank N. Pilling and Muriel L. Pilling are deceased.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Johns Hopkins alumnus, Frank N. Pilling, consist largely of his personal writings, some in typescript and some in published form. Other items include correspondence, photographs, genealogical records, and documents and notes from his wartime service in London. Some correspondence and records of his wife, Muriel L. Pilling, are also part of the collection. Of particular interest is Pilling's narrative account of his rescue at sea during service in World War II and his experiences as an American naval officer stationed in wartime London. Pilling's typescript is entitled "The Battle of Grosvenor Square" and is a description of attempts of British and American officers to find common interests as allies. To introduce fellow Americans to British thought, Pilling arranged for prominent speakers including J.B. Priestley and Harold Laski to attend dinner-discussion groups. In the narrative is a depiction of "life-as-usual" in London during emergency conditions, and he tells too of short trips to villages and areas outside the city. Other references to this period include memos and orders, receipts, and club memberships. A selection of correspondence between Pilling and the skipper who rescued him at sea, Albert Hocken, is included. Hocken continued his career as a merchant seamen, and the two men shared their views on world events and personalities during the period 1951-1981. Pilling wrote and organized alphabetically a collection of aphorisms. The notebook of aphorisms, several essays, and three bound volumes of essays complete the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were a gift to the University from Garner Ranney, Archivist of the Episcopal Diocese of Baltimore, in April 1995.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in April 1995.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA