Creator: Velma L. Croom, 1911-2001
Title: Stephens G. Croom Papers
Dates: 1936-1993 [Bulk 1963-1988]
Quantity: 1.25 cu. ft.
Abstract: Contains genealogical material, a scrapbook, and material on the acquisition and
arrival of the USS Alabama in Mobile.
Stephens G. Croom was born in 1906. Initially, Croom was active in the utility industry,
but ultimately devoted forty years of his life to building a successful career in the
insurance business. As a key member of the USS Alabama Development Committee Board,
Stephens played a pivotal role in bringing the South Dakota-class battleship USS Alabama
to Mobile and developing the site into a major tourist attraction. Both Stephens and his
wife, Velma Lassiter Croom, were politically and civically active in Mobile society. Velma
served as the president of the Junior League of Mobile, Inc., from 1950 to 1951. Stephens
G. Croom died in 1992.
Scope and Content
Consists of correspondence; genealogies, including charts, birth/death/ marriage records,
and newspaper and journal articles; histories; photographs; publications; a scrapbook
created by Velma Croom for her children; and typescripts and correspondence related to the
1837 wreck of the steamboat Home, which killed Hardy Bryan Croom and his family.
The bulk of the collection, however, pertains to Stephens Crooms work with the USS Alabama.
The material is arranged into 4 series: 1. Genealogy, 1936-1978; 2: USS Alabama,
1962-1987; 3: Scrapbook, 1962-1993; 4: Steamboat Wreck of 1837
This material is open for research.
Stephens G. Croom Papers, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series 1. Genealogy, 1936-1978, 1 folder
This series contains Croom genealogy in the form of typescripts and correspondence. It
also includes material on both the Howard and Marshall families. The typescripts are made
up of genealogy charts, birth/death/ marriage records, copies of newspaper and journal
articles, and short biographical sketches. Any correspondence that was directly related to
a particular typescript was kept with that typescript. All other correspondence was moved
to the subseries listed below. For additional genealogy, see series four, Steamboat
Wreck of 1837.
Subseries 1A. Correspondence, 1936-1988, 1 folder
The majority of the letters in this subseries were written from Stephens Croom to various
family members and contained genealogical inquires. In many cases, the response letter is
included. The letters are arranged chronologically.
Series 2. USS Alabama, 1962-1987 (Bulk 1973-1977), .5
This series will provide researchers with a well-rounded view of the process of acquiring
and relocating the USS Alabamafrom the initial idea in 1962, to the
preparation of the site and facility for exhibition, to the culmination of historical due
diligence in 1987. The correspondence within this series, dated from 1965 through 1987, is
primarily focused on understanding the history of the ship. Also included are personal
stories; minute-by-minute accounts of several military engagements, including a photocopy
of a book that recounts a major battle in which the ship was involved; information on the
crew and radar equipment; a declassified official military action report; and, lastly,
plan-of-the-day documents dating from November 15, 1943 to November 10, 1944.
Series 3. Scrapbook, 1962-1993 (Bulk 1963-1978), .5 cu. ft.
Compiled by Velma Croom for her children, the scrapbook contains memorial items such as
newspaper accounts published at the time of Stephens death. It also consists of
items related to Stephens being named Mobilian of the Year in 1976, speeches and
invitations to events in his honor, and newsletters and church bulletins from
organizations with which he was affiliated. There is also material from his time as a
member of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission, including photographs,
correspondence, and newspaper clippings, as well as invitations to various events related
to the ship. Of note is a photograph of the members of the USS Alabama Battleship
Commission with Governor George C. Wallace. Each folder in this series is made up of one
page from the original scrapbook, which was disassembled during processing.
Series 4. Steamboat Wreck of 1837, 1 folder
This series contains primarily typescripts and a few pieces of correspondence regarding
the wreck of the steamboat Home, which occurred in 1837 and took the life of Hardy
Bryan Croom and his three children. The bulk of the series relates to the Florida court
case determining who died first, father or son, and in turn, which side of the family was
entitled to the familys inheritance. Included in this series are letters (typed and
handwritten), journal and newspaper articles, and court documents, including genealogy
records. The series is arranged chronologically, when dates are known. (See Box 1 for
1. Genealogy, 1936-1978
2. Genealogy, Correspondence, 1936-1988
4.1. Steamboat Wreck of 1837
1. USS Alabama, Acquisition, Chronology and
2. USS Alabama, Audio Visual: Photographs, B&W
3. USS Alabama, Audio Visual: Color Postcards and Color Negatives
4. USS Alabama, Audio Visual: Art
5. USS Alabama, Correspondence: 1965-1972
6. USS Alabama, Correspondence: 1973
7. USS Alabama, Correspondence: 1974
8. USS Alabama, Correspondence: 1976-1977
9. USS Alabama, Correspondence: 1982-1987
10. USS Alabama, Confederate Navy Steel Engraving Plate Literature
11. USS Alabama, Development Committee Members
12. USS Alabama, History
13. USS Alabama, Legislative Documents
14. USS Alabama, News Clippings
15. USS Alabama, Publications
16. USS Alabama, USS Drum, Submarine
17. USS Alabama, USS Wisconsin Research
1-40. Scrapbook, 1962-1993