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Alexander J. Rice papers, 1847-1851

31 items

The papers of Alexander J. Rice consist of letters written by Rice while service as a medical officer in the United States Navy during the Mexican War.

The papers of Alexander J. Rice consist of 31 letters, all but one of which were written by Rice to members of his family, and nearly all of which were written during his service in the Mexican War. These letters, addressed to his father, John (a cashier at the Bank of New Hampshire), sisters Lizzie (d. 1850) and Augusta, and a brother (who was eventually disowned as a wastrel) form a small, but nearly complete record of a little known facet of the war, the naval operations off the Gulf Coast, and they make for captivating reading. Rice's intelligence, his fascination with the country and people, and his aptitude for close description and a good story make the collection a particularly rich resource for study of the activities of an average naval ship in a distant theater, and for American attitudes toward the war, Mexico, and Mexicans.

Other than a constant concern for the unhealthy climate, the prevalence of chills, fevers, and pestering insects, there is very little specific information on Rice's duties as a medical officer. The group of 13 letters written from the Coatzacoalco River include fascinating discussions of the hardship of being the only medical officer aboard ship, and document Rice's frustration in attempting to get the Navy to alleviate the poor sanitary conditions aboard ship, and the problems with the ship's officers, poor provisions, and inadequate medical supplies. The letter of July 22-26, 1847, is a particularly long and extraordinary account of the effect of the harsh conditions and poor sanitation in tropical waters and its effects upon the crew. These letters, too, document the frustration and inactivity of blockade duty in a stagnant backwater, but at the same time, Rice's continuing fascination with the country and people.

A series of seven letters written from Ciudad del Carmen (Camp.), Campeche (Camp.) and Sisal (Yuc.) document Rice's experiences as witness to the Caste War in Yucatán. Before being sent to Campeche to protect white refugees, Rice's sympathies clearly lay with the white population, but he and his shipmates came to sympathize with the Indians, arguing that not only had the whites provoked the crisis, but they were lazy, selfish, and ungrateful even for the protection the Navy afforded. Rice's opinions were strengthened upon receiving news of atrocities committed by whites upon the Indian population, the first when an armed force slaughtered a group of women and children, the second when Indians were killed by poisoned food left in deserted villages.


Benajah Ticknor papers, 1818-1852

3 linear feet — 3 microfilms

Graduated from Berkshire Medical Institute ca. 1810; joined U.S. Navy ca. 1816; first tour of duty in 1818; retired from the Navy in 1852 from post of chief Surgeon of the Boston Navy Yard. Journals, letter book, medical notes, correspondence, and essays of Benajah Ticknor, doctor and surgeon with the U.S. Navy. Of primary importance are the journals which describe journeys made by Ticknor with the Navy to South America, the Far East, and Europe.

The Ticknor collection consists of photocopied and microfilmed papers from various institutions with Ticknor materials. The materials were gathered together by individuals involved in the restoration of Ticknor's Ann Arbor home, now known as Cobblestone Farm. The collection, subsequently donated to the Bentley Historical Library, includes Biographical material, journals, a letter book, writings, letters to his friend Congressman Elisha Whittlesey in Ohio, and State Department records from his diplomatic missions to the Far East.


Charles H. Foster collection, 1898-1967

3 linear feet

This collection is made up of correspondence, military records, photographs, newsletters, scrapbooks, and other items pertaining to the military career of Charles H. Foster, who served in the United States Navy from 1898-1934.

The Charles H. Foster collection consists of correspondence, military records, photographs, newsletters, scrapbooks, and other items pertaining to the military career of Charles H. Foster, who served in the United States Navy from 1898-1934.

The collection's correspondence (144 items) primarily relates to Foster's naval service after 1902. Letters, memorandums, orders, and reports concern his ship assignments and work at the Naval Gun Factory (Washington Navy Yard) during World War I. One group of letters from the early 1920s relates to the acquisition of dependent's pay for Foster's mother. A series of World War II-era documents respect Foster's fitness for active duty. After World War II, he received letters from military acquaintances and veterans of the Spanish-American War.

Charles H. Foster's 1918-1919 diary concerns his travel on the Huron between the United States and France. Notes, newspaper clippings, and a telegram laid into the volume regard deaths, the military, and historical inquiries.

The papers include 4 of Charles H. Foster's scrapbooks, which contain materials related to the USTS Alliance's 1897-1898 training mission; naval ships, personnel, and theatrical and musical programs and performances; the Mexican Revolution and Mexican politics in the mid-1910s; and naval equipment, camps, and weapons tests.

Sixty-three photographs depict U.S. Navy sailors and vessels. One group of pictures show scenes from the Huron's voyage between France and the United States during World War I. The collection also features photographic postcards sent by Charles H. Foster and others from Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, Germany, and Borneo.

Financial records, legal documents, and service records primarily pertain to Charles H. Foster, with a focus on his time on the USS West Virginia in the 1920s and his mother's financial dependency. Documents, blueprints, photographs, and other items relate to devices patented by Charles H. Foster and others. Two service ribbons appear in the collection, mounted onto a wallet printed with "United States Battle Fleet, Sydney, 1925," which also contains a travel pass and membership card for Charles H. Foster.

The collection includes 429 typescripts about early American history, the Civil War, South Carolina Confederate soldiers, the Spanish-American War, aviation, and the US Navy. Rosters of American Navy ships and personnel include information on Union vessels during the Civil War; casualties from the 1898 USS Maine explosion; USTS Alliance naval apprentices in 1898; USS West Virginia officers in 1926; and the names and addresses of members in several naval veterans' associations.

A "Personal Log" by Royal Emerson Foster relates to his service on the SSAC Bedford in early 1919, with descriptions and illustrations of naval equipment, ship construction, signaling, personnel, and other subjects. The navy publication Rules to Prevent Collisions of Vessels also appears in the Log.

US Naval Ex. Apprentices Association materials include copies of Trade Winds, the association's newsletter, from 1939-1964. The newsletters are accompanied by a list of Alliance apprentices in 1898. A copy of Rocks and Shoals, a publication for former crewmen of the USS Memphis, is also present. Other printed works include military publications about equipment and procedures, a handbook on medicine, the Mariner's Pocketbook, A History of Guantanamo Bay, newspaper clippings, a souvenir book from the US Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island, a death announcement, and a map of Arlington National Cemetery.

Notes, reports, and a bound volume concern the history of the Foster, Yates, and Lindstrom families.


Charles K. Cummings, Voyages in the U.S.S. Mount Vernon, 1921

1 volume

This volume is a history of the USS Mount Vernon's service as a troop transport ship during World War I, written by United States Navy Lieutenant Charles K. Cummings, who served on the ship during the war. Cummings's narrative relates daily incidents as the Mount Vernon carried troops between New York City and Brest, France, during and after the war. Cummings noted the names of prominent passengers and included several diagrams and drawings depicting naval formations and the Mount Vernon.

This volume is a 137-page typed history of the USS Mount Vernon's service as a troop transport ship during World War I, written by United States Navy Lieutenant Charles K. Cummings, the ship's communications officer. Cummings presented this copy, entitled Voyages in the USS Mount Vernon, 1917-1919, to James Madison Doyle, the ship's gunnery officer, in December 1921. The title page has an intricate drawing of the ship by Harleston Parker.

The narrative is structured as a diary and opens with 4 pages of introductory material with information on the Mount Vernon's history prior to its first voyage as a United States Navy transport vessel. The daily entries cover the period between October 11, 1917, and April 24, 1919, during which time the ship made 12 round-trip voyages between New York City and Brest, France, carrying members of the American Expeditionary Forces. Many of the entries record the day's weather, compiled from the author's personal diaries and the ship's official logs; lists of military units being ferried across the Atlantic Ocean; and notable incidents or the names of distinguished passengers. The Mount Vernon traveled as part of a heavily guarded convoy and Cummings routinely noted the camouflage and deceptive sailing patterns employed to guard against German submarine and torpedo attacks, as well as news of other ships throughout the convoys. On February 11, 1918, he provided a list of distress calls the ship received on its most recent voyage (pp. 51-52). In addition to military officials and diplomats, the ship also carried a 13-year-old stowaway mascot of the 132nd Infantry Regiment (p. 89), a group of African American soldiers (pp. 101-102), and several wounded soldiers, including two Red Cross nurses suffering from shell shock (p. 117). On September 5, 1918, the Mount Vernon was struck by a torpedo, which killed 35 members of the ship's crew (pp. 126-129). Cummings frequently mentioned his activities while in port at Brest, Southampton, and Boston, which included social calls and spending leave time with his family.

The book includes several partially colored diagrams and illustrations pertaining to events mentioned within the text:
  • USS Mount Vernon (title page)
  • "Collision Between Agamemnon and Von Steuben" (pp. 26-27)
  • "Torpedoing of Finland" (pp. 26-27)
  • "Torpedoing of Antilles" (pp. 26-27)
  • "Intensive Lookout Station on Mount Vernon" (pp. 40-41)
  • "Types of Camouflage on U.S. Destroyers" (pp. 60-61)
  • "Manoeuvre for Practice with Submarine Target" (pp. 96-97)
  • "Sinking of British S.S. Instructor, July 15, 1918 (pp. 96-97)
  • "Torpedoing of U.S.S. Mount Vernon, September 5, 1918 (pp. 126-127)
  • "Mount Vernon Showing Camouflage on Port Side" (pp. 128-129)
  • "Diagrams of Mount Vernon Showing Effect of Torpedo Explosion (pp. 128-129)


David Nash collection, 1928-2008

3.25 lin. ft.

This collection is made up of diaries, correspondence, documents, scrapbooks, photo albums, negatives, yearbooks, awards, artifacts, and regalia of career U.S. Navy officer David Nash. Much of the content relates to Lieutenant Nash's naval career and his time as a prisoner of war in the Pacific during World War II.

This collection is made up of diaries, correspondence, documents, scrapbooks, photo albums, negatives, yearbooks, awards, artifacts, and regalia of career U.S. Navy officer David Nash. Much of the content relates to Lieutenant Nash's naval career and his time as a prisoner of war in the Pacific during World War II.

The Diaries include two volumes (380 pages) by David Nash, detailing his experiences as a prisoner of war for over three and a half years during World War II. These are illustrated copies made after the war from original diaries and notes (one of his shipmates buried the first portion of the original diary in a 5-gallon tin can on Luzon in order to recover it later). Lieut. Nash's almost daily entries reveal his activities, health, mentality and moods, plus information on the activity around him and any rumors or gossip. Most entries conclude with a note to his "darlings," his wife Honoria and daughter Julie. Detailed illustrations of the prison camps and ships appear throughout the diaries. Nash also included relevant drawings in the margins (guards, a shower, turkey dinner, himself reading, playing cards, etc.).

The first diary is an alphabet-sectioned ledger with 300 lined pages, covering December 1, 1941, to May 29, 1944. It also contains lists of USS Mindanao personnel and occupants of Barrack #9 Camp. The diary opens with two watercolor maps of the China Sea entitled "Cruise of U.S.S. Mindanao, 1941" and "Corregidor and Vicinity, 1942." David Nash described his time on Mindanao, stationed at Corregidor during its surrender and capture by the Japanese forces, and as a prisoner of war at Bilibid Prison, Cabanatuan, USAFFE Camp 91st Division, a second time at Bilibid Prison, and the Davao Penal Colony.

The second diary has 80 lined pages and spans October 13, 1944, to October 10, 1944. This volume continues Nash's account of life as a prisoner of war. He described his experiences on the hell ship Oryoku Maru, at Hoten Camp in Mukden, Manchuria, and during the camp's liberation on August 19, 1945.

The Naval Documents, Correspondence and Articles series contains letters, reports, newspaper clippings, personal notes, awards, an illustration, and ephemera relating to David Nash's naval career and POWs in general; the bulk of which ranges between 1934 and 2005. A portion of the documents in this series relate to the family of a fellow naval officer named Heisinger.

  • USS Hornet files: Nash's correspondence requesting aircraft reports, aircraft action reports from the Hornet's carrier air group 11 bombing the hell ships Nash was held on, and Hornet Club ephemera, 1944-1945, 1972-2000.
  • Prisoner of War files: Nash's postwar correspondence with a fellow POW, who wrote on the band and entertainers at one of Nash's camps. Other papers include reports on how to survive as a prisoner of war, healthcare for survivors, articles relating to prisoners of war, pamphlets on American Japanese internment camps and the misuse of the term 'internment,' and Nash's personal notes, 1972-2008.
  • Heisinger files: Correspondence between the Heisinger family and David Nash, printed materials relating to World War II, official Navy photographs, and personal photographs.
  • Awards and Commendations: Awards given to David Nash by the Navy and the President of the United States and correspondence upon his retirement from the Navy.
  • Illustration of USS Mindanao
  • Map of a Western Pacific Cruise and a pin-up.

The Scrapbooks series consists of two scrapbooks.

  • [Personal Moments, 1928-1948]. This scrapbook tracks David and Honoria's life from high school until 1948. Much of it focuses on David Nash's career and his time as a prisoner of war. It contains photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, awards, telegrams, and ephemera, with captions or notes on most pages. Of particular note are letters and telegrams to Honoria Nash from the Navy informing her on her husband's status as missing and later as prisoner of war.
  • "Scrapbook, Hong Kong 1939-Dec. 1964." This scrapbook primarily traces David Nash's naval career through photographs, newspaper clippings, invitations, and ephemera from 1939 to 1964. It includes a few references to his wife Honoria's volunteer work and his daughter Julie's engagement.

The Photographs series contains four photo albums and many negatives.

Subseries: Photo Albums

  • "Aug. 1939 to 1941 En Route and at Hong Kong." This album consists of personal photographs from David and Honoria's honeymoon in the Grand Canyon in 1939, their travels to Hong Kong by way of San Francisco and Honolulu, life in Hong Kong up until the evacuation of dependents in 1940 and his assignment on USS Mindanao in 1941. Other locations photographed include Kowloon, Shameen, Canton, and New Territories. Each page is captioned with a date and/or description. Also included in this album is an envelope with duplicates and a telegram to David Nash's father informing him that his son's name was on a list of personnel at Camp Hoten in Mukden, Manchuria.
  • [Navy Photos, 1952-1960]. This album contains 40 photographs from 1952 to 1960, highlighting various events in David Nash's career, changes in command, reunions, an inspection trip, and naval ceremonies. It also includes individual and group portraits with fellow officers and staff. Some photographs include descriptions and dates.
  • [Navy Photos, 1960-1961, 1966]. This album is comprised of U.S. Navy photographs, largely from the period of David Nash's Naval Intelligence posting. Additional images include aerial photographs, Navy ships, two postcards from 1966, a Navy certificate, and an envelope containing miscellaneous negatives and photographs. Many of the photographs include notes with names and descriptions.
  • "Navy 1959-1965." This album consists of personal photographs from David Nash's Navy assignments. The three primary groupings include "Corregidor & Ft. Hughes 1959," "Comdesron 5 Deployment 1960," and "District Intelligence Officer 1961-65." Locations featured are Thailand (including Bangkok), Singapore, Saigon, Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, and California. Most photographs include notes on locations and names.

Subseries: Negatives. This subseries contains negatives from photographs of wide-ranging dates and topics, all related to David Nash's personal life and career.

The Yearbooks series contains four Lucky Bag United States Naval Academy yearbooks from 1932, 1933, 1934, and a 50 Year Rendezvous USNA-1935 anniversary yearbook.

The Artifacts and Regalia series contains objects from David Nash's career including his desk name plate, two plaques, a naval uniform belt, a bronze star, dog tags, and various other uniform accessories (ribbons, medals, pins, buttons, etc.).


Edwin Denby papers, 1845-1846, 1880-1927

2.4 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

United States Representative and Secretary of the Navy; collection includes correspondence, 1880-1927, concerning personal matters, business affairs, and political activities; letters to Mrs. Denby regarding Denby’s death; articles, speeches, notes and memoranda on various topics including the Teapot Dome Scandal, Panama Canal, relations with China, and the United States Navy; photostats of letters exchanged between Nathaniel Denby and George Bancroft, 1845-1846; and photographs.

The Edwin Denby papers, dating from 1845-1846 and 1880-1929, are organized into five series: Correspondence, Articles and Speeches, Topical Files, Personal/Biographical, and Photographs. Denby's papers document his political career as United States Representative and Secretary of the Navy, and include relevant information on such topics as the United States Navy, the Panama Canal and the Teapot Dome Scandal.


Elizabeth Bonney van den Bosch collection, 1943-2002 (majority within 1943-1951)

32 items

This collection is made up of military documents, photographs, and ephemera related to Lieutenant Elizabeth Bonney van den Bosch's service in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve during and after World War II.

The Documents series (15 items) contains official military records from Bonney's service in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve. They relate to her training at the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Smith College and the Naval Training School at Mount Holyoke College; her promotions to ensign and lieutenant; and her formal resignation from the naval reserve in 1951. Also included are an identification card verifying her active duty in the United States Navy and certificates acknowledging her military participation in World War II.

Photographs (11 items) include black-and-white portraits of Elizabeth Bonney and other women in naval uniforms. Govert van den Bosch sent Bonney pictures portraying soldiers and a military funeral from his service in Indonesia with the Royal Netherlands Marines.

The Printed Materials series (6 items) consists of commencement programs for the United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School and the Naval Training School for communications, a commemorative book with photographs of navy officers in training at the Midshipmen's School, and a page from the Sundial with humorous cartoons and quips. Two items form 2002 are a printed poem dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Bonney van den Bosch and her obituary from the Ann Arbor News.


George William Taylor papers, 1823-1862

103 items

The George William Taylor papers contain correspondence, documents, photographs, and a journal related to the life of Civil War general George W. Taylor. The collection mainly consists of letters Taylor wrote during his periods in military service and travels abroad.

The George William Taylor papers contain 103 items, ranging in date from 1823 to 1862. The collection includes 92 letters, 1 diary, 4 legal documents, 2 photographs, several sheets of obituary clippings, and some miscellaneous items.

Taylor wrote most of the letters to his family during his periods abroad. The first major section of letters contains letters he wrote home to his parents and family during his time in the Navy while sailing the Mediterranean from 1828 to 1831 on the U.S.S. Fairfield. In these letters, Taylor gave descriptions of naval life, as well as observations of the ports he visited around the Mediterranean, including Gibraltar, Smyrna, Minorca, Venice (July 23, 1829: ". . . that most supurb city so appropriately stiled the 'Ocean Queen' at once spread out before us and free to feast our eyes on her unequaled singularity of beauty."), Palermo, and Marseilles (January 10, 1831: "The French are indeed a very warlike people you see it everywhere, every body is a soldier and there is no doubt that the military science is more generally diffused in France than in any other country.").

The next section of letters contains correspondence written during his time in the army in the Mexican War, from 1847 to 1848, and over the course of his trip to California during the Gold Rush, from 1849 to 1851. Though he saw little action during the Mexican War, his letters give some rich descriptions of a traveler’s view of the country (in particular, see July 21, 1847). Taylor’s California letters detail life in a California mining town, as well as his struggles to make money. After a fire destroyed part of San Francisco, Taylor wrote, "Confidence is destroyed and many will gather together what little they can and go home tired of the struggle . . . Thank God I owe nobody here I have never compromised my honour or self respect and if I carry home nothing it will be with some satisfaction to come out of the ordeal of Ca. untarnished" (May 5, 1851). A large portion of the letters during this period are from Taylor to his wife Mary, who remained in New Jersey during his travels. The collection also contains occasional responses from her, in which she gave news from home and expressed her loneliness over Taylor’s absence.

In the final section are several documents and letters from 1862, during Taylor’s brief time in the Union Army before his death. Several letters are addressed to Taylor from Union General Philip Kearny (1815-1862). Included are Taylor’s will (March 2, 1862) and an October 1862 letter of condolence, addressed to his daughter Mary.

Also in the collection are a 144-page journal from Taylor’s time in the Mediterranean, in which he wrote daily observations about his travels and life in the Navy; two photos of Taylor in Civil War uniform; and a collection of obituary clippings.


Gilbert L. Thompson papers, 1842-1872

1 linear foot

This collection contains correspondence, documents, financial records, reports, and other items pertaining to Gilbert L. Thompson. The material relates to Thompson's work as the United States Navy's chief engineer from 1842-1844, and his involvement in the coal and transportation industries in the mid- to late 19th century.

This collection (1 linear foot) contains correspondence, documents, financial records, reports, and other items pertaining to Gilbert L. Thompson. The material relates to Thompson's work as the United States Navy's chief engineer from 1842-1844, and his involvement in the coal and transportation industries.

The Correspondence series (155 items) is mostly made up of incoming business letters to Gilbert L. Thompson; outgoing drafts by Thompson and business letters between other persons are also present. The first group of items concern Thompson's service as the United States Navy's chief engineer from 1842-1844, addressing many topics related to naval engineering and United States Navy vessels. The remaining correspondence, dated 1850-1861 and 1865-1872, largely pertains to Thompson's business interests and his stake in various ventures. Thompson wrote and received letters about coal and oil industries, railroads, domestic commerce, and attempts to establish regular steamship trade between the United States and Europe after the Civil War. Many of the latter items pertain to the Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company and to commerce in the South during the early years of Reconstruction. Thompson's prominent correspondents included Secretary of the Treasury Walter Forward, Secretary of the Navy Abel Parker Upshur, and Virginia governor Francis Harrison Pierpont.

The Documents series is divided into two subseries. The Legal Documents (34 items), which include copies of legislation, by-laws, indentures, and other items, pertain to naval engineering, transatlantic trade between the United States and Europe, and Gilbert L. Thompson's business affairs. Several items relate to the Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company and to the American Iron Shipbuilding, Mining, and Manufacturing Company. One indenture relates to land that Thompson and his wife owned in Fairfax County, Virginia, and includes a manuscript map of the property (December 13, 1844). Financial Documents (14 items) are made up of accounts and other items pertaining to the Western Virginia Coal Company, the Coal Oil and Paraffin Company of Baltimore, steamship construction and operation, the USS Missouri, and other subjects.

Reports and Drafts (53 items) pertain to the Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company, steam boiler explosions, coal lands in Pennsylvania and Virginia, the United States Navy, and transportation. Some memorials addressed to the United States Congress mention relevant legislation.

The Notes and Drawings series (90 items) contains technical drawings, manuscript maps, and notes about steam engines, mining and drilling equipment and practices, and other subjects.

Three Newspaper Clippings from the early 1870s concern the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, a property dispute involving General Bradley T. Johnson, steamships, and the sale of an iron furnace.


Harold Frederick Stotzer photograph collection, 1917-1919

1 folder

Harold Frederick Stotzer (1898-1979) was a University of Michigan alumn, Ohio businessperson, and politician. Consists of photos of university bands and of a naval parade on South Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The collection consists of photos of university bands and of a naval parade on South Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.