New book shares stories of admiral from Yates County and his family

Local historian and author Rich MacAlpine spent 11 years researching Frank Schofield and his family for the book "Admiral Frank H. Schofield: A Portrait in Letters of an American Navy Family (1886-1942)." He started with approximately 7,000 Schofield family letters that were donated to the Yates County History Center in 2005 and later discovered another 5,000 in the archives of a historical society in Talbot County, Maryland. Twelve thousand letters written by the same family over the course of 50 years (1880s-1930s) provided a rich starting point for reconstructing the career of Frank Schofield, from his days as a cadet in Annapolis to his retirement.

Schofield's 46-year career in the Navy included commanding vessels of all sizes, from torpedo boats to battleships. He later commanded squadrons of destroyers and then battleships before he commanded the entire fleet. Along the way he performed heroically in the Spanish-American War, headed a team to develop tactics to be used against German U-Boats during World War I, served as a naval advisor to the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference at the end of the war, and refined the war plan to be used against Japan in the Pacific as a member of the Navy's General Board in the late 1920s.

Although Schofield's naval career is the steering mechanism of the book, MacAlpine weaves around it the stories of the members of his family.

The book will be on sale at the Yates County History Center and Long's Cards & Books in Penn Yan, Crooked Lake Mercantile in Branchport, and online at and Barnes and Noble. It will soon be available in a digital version. The book is 460 pages, includes 160 photographs, and sells for $27.95.