This collection represents the
largest and finest personal collection from a single
individual of the Great White Fleet. Frank Lesher
was a unique participant of the cruise, he documented
his trip in great detail, and he preserved those items
once he returned. He understood the historical
context of the trip and the role he played. This
extraordinary collection was found and preserved by his
granddaughter Leslie Joan Lesher almost 100 years
later. "This Great White Fleet Collection sat untouched in my
grandparentís attic for over 90 years. The death of my parents led me to clean
out the attic and drag back home an old chest whose contents were unknown to me.
As with too many people, we fail to know our ancestors. My
grandfather died before I was born. In finding this collection I have been able
to get acquainted with him for the first time."
Frank Lesher was born August 19, 1884 in Chambersburg, PA., and was the son
of Isaac and Lily Porter Lesher. He was a graduate of the former Chambersburg
Academy, attended Purdue University and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta
fraternity. He served in the Navy from 1906 to 1913 achieving a rank of Chief Petty Officer
before leaving the Navy to start his own electrical contracting business which
to this day continues to prosper in Chambersburg, PA under the name Frank B.
Lesher, J.D. Lindsay and M.E. Thibedeaux
The collection assembled by Frank includes more than 50 letters mailed home, certificates, photographs, booklets, postcards, and souvenirs that were meticulously collected and stored in a truck upon arrival back home, It also includes a typewritten account of the trip prepared by Frank after returning. Some of his photos contained typed labels for displaying the photos indicating that Frank prepared a presentation of his trip given after his return, probably within the community of Chambersburg.