Pasted to the front cover of a scrapbook once belonging to my grandmother, Mattie Leighton Seavey (1906-1987) was this undated clipping from the Portland (Me.) newspaper, depicting a navigation class for would-be officers in the Merchant Marines.
According to the U.S. Merchant Marine website, this World War I training program began in June 1917, with headquarters in Boston. Within months, there were 43 schools in seaports from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.
A 6-week program trained 1,500 deck officers during the first 10 months. However, as depicted in this newspaper item, a land-based, 4 -week course was offered to train engineering officers. A total of 14,000 men received officer training between June 1917 and October 1920.
Among the students pictured in this photo is Lawrence Olsen (spelled Oleson in the caption), in the foreground on the left, my great grandmother and Mattie's mother, Alice Lovell Olsen's second husband.
I haven't found any evidence that Lawrence ever served in the Merchant Marine. The 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses all list his occupation as "house painter."
From left to right, the men pictured are:
Augustus A. Scofier
John A. Peterson
Frank W. Johnson
William H. Mason
Charles A. Gilmore
Capt. Frank A. Wilson, Instructor
Lawrence Oleson (sp?)
William A. McLean
Horace D. Griffin