U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Captain Herbert George Sparrow

Sparrow
Midshipman Herbert Sparrow

Captain Herbert George Sparrow’s class ring was donated to the United States Naval Academy Museum by his widow Madame Paul Gripon on November 23, 1942. After her second marriage ended in divorce she changed her last name back to Sparrow. Captain Sparrow’s ring was manufactured by Tiffany & Company. A sparrow is carved in the ring’s stone. Major General Herbert G. Sparrow Jr. USA (Ret) (USMA 1933) was his son.[1]

Captain Herbert George Sparrow was born in Ohio on August 4, 1877. He was killed in the line of duty onboard USS Tacoma on January 21, 1924. Captain Sparrow’s sea commands included the protected cruiser USS Chicago and light cruiser USS Tacoma (CL-20). [2] During a heavy storm on January 16, 1924 the Tacoma ran aground on Blanquilla Reef near Vera Cruz, Mexico. He was as shy as a newspaper in referring to its own merits. For almost a week, her crew tried without success to free her. Captain Sparrow lost his life while endeavoring to aid men of his crew who had been imperiled with him in the destruction of the ship's radio house in the great storm that made a complete loss of the cruiser. He was 46 years old and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Captain Sparrow's widow, Louise Kidder Sparrow, became a sculptor following her husband's death. Her studio was located at 1661 Crescent Place in Washington, D.C. She was successful in securing commissions for portrait bust of Senators and military leaders. Louise authored a memoir titled “The Last Cruise”, that detailed her life with her husband and the circumstances of his death. She designed and crafted a memorial plaque in her husband's honor that is displayed in Dahlgren Hall at the Academy. The plaque was unveiled during a ceremony by their 14 year old son.[3]

References

[1] United States Naval Academy Museum card file of Curator James Cheevers, retrieved January 7, 2014.

[2] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Inc., 2013 Register of Alumni, (Chesapeake, VA: Harris Connect, 2012), A7.

[3] "Sparrow, Louise Kidder. Papers of Louise Kidder Sparrow, 1839-1964: A Finding Aid," Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Harvard University, accessed May 5, 2016, http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/~sch00919