Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 20
Fall 1991
Alumni Profile; Naval history uncovered in attic

     Imagine uncovering a bit of U.S. Navy history in your attic and
holding a part of the nation's past in your hands.
     This was the experience of Lori Schwarz Jakubek, Delaware '82,
and her husband, Drew, when they found a log authored by a midshipman
of the oldest Navy ship, the USF Constellation, in the attic of their
19th-century home in Lawrenceville, N.J.
     According to the ship's curator, Hugh Benet Jr., the log is rare
because most of its kind were thrown away. "It is valued highly
because of the insight it provides about the vigorous training
midshipmen experienced and the extensive knowledge they had to attain
before they advanced in rank," he says.
     The leather-bound book is engraved with the name of its author,
John M. Berrien, a midshipman who eventually reached the rank of
commodore. In it, he meticulously recorded hourly weather reports, the
location of the ship and materials brought on board between 1825 and
     In January, the Jakubeks returned the midshipman's log to the
Constellation so it could be shared with the public. The
Constellation, which served the country faithfully for 150 years, is
now a floating museum at a specially designed pier in Baltimore's
Inner Harbor, not far from the site of her original launching in 1797.
The log will be displayed in the ship's visitor center beside a plaque
recognizing the Jakubeks.
     The Jakubeks found other unusual items within the boxes and
trunks in the attic of their home. A letter from Lincoln's secretary
of state, John Hay, and books written and autographed by Thornton
Wilder were also among the contents. The couple bought the almost
100-year-old Victorian house from the only surviving member of a
family who had occupied it for three generations.
     Lori Jakubek, a staff supervisor at AT&T's market research
division in Somerset, N.J., says she felt very good about returning
the book. "During my college years, I grew as a person and learned the
importance of giving as well as taking," she says. "I felt it was
ironic yet appropriate, that on the third day of (the Persian Gulf)
war, we gave back to the Navy a small token of our appreciation as
they fight for America today."
                                   --Colleen Magliari, Delaware '92