The Turner-Harlan family papers are made up of correspondence, legal and financial documents, photographs, scrapbooks, genealogical information, and other materials spanning multiple generations of the Turner and Harlan families of Newport, Rhode Island, and Maryland. The collection particularly regards US Navy Surgeon Dr. William Turner (1775-1837), Commodore Peter Turner (1803-1871), Hettie Foster Harlan née Turner (1850-1937), and their relations.
Collection Scope and Content Note:
The Turner-Harlan family papers are made up of correspondence, legal and financial documents, photographs, scrapbooks, genealogical information, and other materials spanning multiple generations of the Turner and Harlan families of Newport, Rhode Island, and Maryland. The collection particularly regards US Navy Surgeon Dr. William Turner (1775-1837), Commodore Peter Turner (1803-1871), Hettie Foster Harlan née Turner (1850-1937), and their relations. The papers are arranged into five series: Turner Family Papers, Harlan Family Papers, Photographs, Printed Materials, and Turner-Harlan genealogical papers
The Turner Family Papers seriesconsists of 112 letters to and from members of the Turner family and their associates, five log books, and assorted ephemera, with most items dating between 1790 and 1860.
The Turner family Correspondence and Documents subseries contains 112 incoming and outgoing letters and documents of members of the Turner family between 1749 and 1871 (bulk 1799-1840s).
The largest coherent groups within this subseries are 40 letters and documents of Dr. William Turner (1775-1837), revolving largely around his military and medical careers between 1799 and 1837; and 49 letters and documents of Peter Turner (1803-1871), most of them letters to his parents while in naval training and service, 1820-1844. Selected examples from William Turner's manuscripts include:
- August 2 and 13, 1752, letter by William Turner (1712/13-1754) to his father, written with mirrored lettering. He discussed his fears of small pox in Newark; the tremor in his right hand, which forces him to write with his left; and a 30-pound debt.
- Christopher R. Perry's appointment of William Turner (1775-1837) as chief surgeon of the frigate General Greene, August 31, 1799.
- An October 10, 1799, letter by Dr. William Turner from Cap François, Saint-Domingue, in which he relates Captain Perry's description of Toussaint Louverture.
- A September 20, 1800, letter by Dr. Turner defending his assessment and actions relating to a yellow fever outbreak originating from the General Greene on its arrival in Newport, Rhode Island.
- Oliver Hazard Perry ALS to his mother, ca. 1807-1808, informing her of the death of Benjamin Turner, who was killed in a duel over an argument about Shakespeare's plays.
- A letter from Henry Fry respecting the personal effects of Dr. Peter Turner, who died of wounds sustained at Plattsburgh (October 17, 1813).
- Three letters to Hettie Foster Turner from siblings Lillie and George Turner relate information about the health of family members in E. Greenwich, Rhode Island. One of these letters is dated October 18, 1813, the others are undated.
- William Turner's December 23, 1814, letter to General Thomas Cushing, explaining that one condition of his current appointment must be permission to continue his private practice while also tending to garrison duty.
- Three manuscript Portsmouth Marine Barracks countersign-watchword documents from August 22 and 24, and October 31, 1849. The August 24, 1849, countersign "Revolution" matched watchword "Cuba."
- Family letters of Henry E. Turner, William C. Turner, George Turner, and others
The 49 letters and documents of Peter Turner are largely comprised of correspondence with his parents. Turner wrote as a midshipman aboard vessels in the West Indian and Mediterranean squadrons during the 1820s. He sent his most robust letters from Rio de Janeiro on July 10, 1826, and aboard the US Ship Falmouth on a voyage to Vera Cruz in 1828. Turner met the Erie at Vera Cruz, expecting to find his brother William C. Turner aboard, but the sibling had been left at Pensacola for unspecified reasons. Peter Turner received the disconcerting news of the death of a family member and wrote about his distress at not being able to return home. He updated his parents as he traveled to Pensacola and then the Navy Yard at Charleston, South Carolina. Later in 1828, he joined the US Ship Hornet on a voyage to Brooklyn; yellow fever took the lives of three midshipmen on the trip (November 19, 1828).
From 1828 to 1829, Peter Turner wrote from Brooklyn, where he became an officer in March 1829. The remainder of Peter Turner's correspondence and documents are scattered, including for example:
- A May 4, 1828, letter respecting the estate of Dr. William Turner of Newport, Rhode Island.
- A May 11, 1844, letter by Peter Turner from Rio de Janeiro on stationery bearing an engraved view of the "Praca do Commercio" [Praça do Comércio] by Friedrich Pustkow.
- A letter to Turner respecting a check for $25, which was bequeathed to Turner from commodore Uriah P. Levy, December 1862.
- Three letters and documents respecting the transfer of ownership for pew 83 in Trinity Church, Newport, Rhode Island, in January 1862.
- Two documents regarding $1,387 owed to the estate of William Mathews by the US Naval Asylum in June 1863.
The Turner family Logbooks subseries includes five log books from three different United States Navy vessels:
- US Schooner Nonsuch, August 8, 1821-May 19, 1823. Daniel Turner commanded this vessel on its voyage from the New York Navy Yard to Port Mahon [Minorca] and subsequent service in the Mediterranean. The volume includes five watercolor coastal profiles or views (Corsica, Cape St. Vincent, Milo, and Corvo).
- US Schooner Nonsuch, September 9, 1824-December 14, 1824. Daniel Turner, commanded this ship from Palermo Bay, south along the African coastline, past the Canary Islands, and to the Navy Yard at New York.
- US Schooner Nonsuch, November 1, 1824-December 3, 1824; December 11, 1826-December 31, 1826. The remainder of the volume contains illustrated mathematical propositions related to conic sections and spherical geometry.
- US Schooner Shark, August 5, 1827-October 24, 1827. Isaac McKeever served as commander of the Shark during this voyage from the coast of Nova Scotia to the United States Naval Seminary at the New York Navy Yard. The remainder of the book, beginning at the opposite cover, is comprised of question and answer format essays on aspects of seamanship. The author was an unidentified individual at the Naval Seminary. The essays are followed by a celestial map.
- US Ship Southampton, December 15, 1850-October 31, 1851. Lieutenant Peter Turner commanded the Southampton during the ship's December 30, 1850-October 31, 1851, voyage. The ship set sail from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, traveled around Cape Horn, and arrived at San Francisco harbor.
The remainder of the Turner family series includes miscellaneous writings and cards. The three pieces of writing include a recipe for "Dr. King's Diarrhoea Mixture" (undated); a note from "Daughter" to her mother, secretly pleading with her to change the daughter's teacher (undated), and "Lines on the Death of Miss Martha Turner" (September 17, 1870). Five calling and visiting cards date from the 1850s to the late 19th century.
The Harlan Family Papers series includes approximately 250 items relating to the lives of the Harlan family. The series includes correspondence, legal and financial papers, and scrapbooks.
The Harlan family Correspondence subseries contains 45 letters to and from members of the Harlan family, 1846-1925, with the bulk of the materials falling between the 1880s and the 1910s. A majority concerns the everyday lives of the Henry and Hettie (Turner) Harlan family, including their siblings and children. The most prevalent writers and recipients include Hettie's brother James Turner Harlan of Philadelphia; William H. Harlan of the law firm of Harlan & Webster in Bel Air, Maryland; and Hettie's aunt Ada H. Turner.
One item of particular interest is a letter from "David" [Harlan?] to Henry Harlan, dated August 12-14, , and written aboard the US Steamship Princeton (during the US-Mexico War). David summarized and speculated about current political matters, including tensions relating to the ousting of President Salinas, the assumption of the presidency by Paredes, and the anticipation of the return of Santa Anna. He also provided a lengthy anecdote about the laborious process of loading sheep and cattle from the shores of Sacrificios onto the Princeton.
The Harlan family Legal and Financial documents subseries contains 165 items, dating primarily between 1815 and 1924, and consisting of land deeds and contracts, estate-related materials, and assorted receipts, accounts, checks, and other financial materials. The bulk of the real property referred to in the documentation was in Harford County, Maryland.
One bundle of 21 telegrams, manuscript notes, and newspaper clippings trace the April 1902 Disappearance and Suicide of James V. P. Turner, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and son of Commodore Peter Turner.
A group of 12 miscellaneous Writings, Cards, and Invitations date from the 1870s to the 20th century. These include 1877 New Year's resolutions by Hettie F. Turner; an 1886 "Journal of Jimmie & Pansie Harlan's Doings and sayings" [By Hettie Foster Turner Harlan?]; a handwritten program for Darlington Academy commencement entertainments, June 18, 1897; and a typed graduation speech titled "We Launch To-night! Where Shall We Anchor?" ([James T. Harlan?], Darlington Academy, class of 1899).
The Photographs series includes six cyanotypes, three cartes-de-visite, four snapshots and paper prints, and three negatives depicting members of the Turner and Harlan families. The CDVs are portraits of Commodore Peter Turner (unidentified photographer), a 16 year-old Henry Harlan (by Richard Walzl of Baltimore), and Hettie Foster Turner Harlan in secondary mourning attire (by Philadelphia photographers Broadbent & Phillips). The cyanotypes, prints, and negatives include 1890s-1910s images of the family's Strawberry Hill estate, Henry and Hettie Harlan, "Pansy" (Hettie F. Harlan), and other family members.
The Scrapbook subseries is comprised of six scrapbooks relating to different elements of the Harlan family.
- "Old Harlan Papers" scrapbook, 1750-late 19th century, bulk 1810s-1840s. Includes 19th century copies of 18th century land documents. Land documents, property maps, and other legal documentation largely respecting Harford County, Maryland, lands. The real property includes "Durbin's Chance," "Betty's Lot," "Stump's Chance," and other properties. The original and copied manuscripts are pasted or laid into a picture cut-out scrapbook belonging to Peter Smith, ca. 1960s (Smith may or may not have been the compiler of the "Old Harlan Papers").
- Harlan Family scrapbook, March 21, 1793-[20th century]. This volume includes land deeds, contracts, documents, letters, printed items, and genealogical materials related to multiple generations of the Harlan family, particularly in Maryland. Of note is a March 6, 1835, legal agreement respecting the sale of Emory, a 17-year old slave, by Anne Page to Dr. David Harlan, Kent County, Maryland.
- Harlan Family scrapbook, "Furniture References," 1860s-1960s, bulk 1890s-1920s. This volume contains interior and exterior photographs of the Harlans' "Strawberry Hill" farm near Stafford, Maryland. Some of these photographs include notes about the furniture depicted in them. Other significant materials include approximately 15 letters by Hettie F. Harlan, James V. P. Harlan, and others, 1898-1902.; and an 1864 "Great Central Fair" committee ticket for Hettie F. Turner (a "Lady's Ticket"), accompanied by a tintype portrait of two women.
- James T. Harlan, "Photographs" album, 1906-1913, 1948-1949. Harford and Baltimore County, Maryland. Interiors and Exteriors of Harlan and Stump family homes; travel photos to Perry Point (Perryville), Maryland, in 1910. 1909/1910 motorcycles, 1906, 1909, and 1910 snapshots from the Baltimore Automobile Show; a 1911 trip to Newport, Rhode Island; ca. 1905-1907 trip to Druid Hill Park; snapshots of James T. Harlan's Baltimore office, National Surety Company of New York.
- Cleveland Commission for the celebration of the Centennial of Perry's Victory on Lake Erie (Perry Centennial Committee of Cleveland, Ohio) scrapbook, 1913. Newspaper clippings, correspondence, real photo and picture postcards, a printed program "The Progress of Woman" (September 16, 1913); printed invitation card for a reception held by the "Committee on Women's Organizations of the Cleveland Commission Perry's Victory Centennial" September 15, 1913); mounted paper portrait photograph of William G. Turner, 1902.
- Handmade album titled "Harford" by an unidentified compiler. Through pasted-in postcards, snapshots, verses from newspaper clippings, and plant matter, the unidentified compiler documented their sentimental attachment for scenes and people in Harford County, Maryland (particularly Stafford and Darlington).
The Printed Materials series includes:
- Approximately 20 newspaper clippings (19th-early 20th century) and a single copy of the newspaper Public Ledger (v. 1, no. 1; Philadelphia, Friday Morning, March 25, 1836).
In Memory of Elizabeth Dale, Widow of Admiral George C. Read, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia, 1863).
- Henry E. Turner, M.D., Greenes of Warwick in Colonial History. Read Before the Rhode Island Historical Society, February 27, 1877 (Newport, RI, 1877).
- [The Quaker Calendar], Westtown 1907 (Philadelphia: Printed by Leeds & Biddle Co. [incomplete]).
University of Maryland Annual Commencement. Academy of Music. Monday Afternoon, May Thirty-First at Four O'Clock (1909)
- William Jarboe Grove, Carrollton Manor Frederick Country Maryland. By William Jarboe Grove, Lime Kiln, Maryland., March 29th, 1921 (198 pages [incomplete]).
- Charles D. Holland, Some Landmarks of Colonial History in Harford County, Maryland (Baltimore, 1933).
- "Commodores Belt of Blue Cloth and Gold Embroidery." Addressed to Commodore Peter Turner from the Navy Department. One page, showing design for a commodore's belt and sword sling, and including a manuscript notation "This is correct" (undated).
- One page "prayer."
The Turner-Harlan Genealogy series consists of a wide array of materials relating to genealogical research of the Turner-Harlan families. Items include handwritten family trees, familial biographies, and professionally-produced genealogical items. Also included are 20th century Harlan family newsletters.