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Alfred Noble Papers, 1863-1922

2 linear feet (partially microfilmed) — 1 oversize folder

Soldier in the 24th Michigan Infantry during Civil War, later civil engineer concerned largely with construction of bridges and canals, especially improvements of St. Mary's Falls Canal, and consultant engineer to Panama Canal project. Correspondence, Civil War diaries, essays on proposed Nicaraguan Canal, printed materials, maps, and other miscellanea; also photographs.

The Alfred Noble Papers collection consists of several letters and diaries documenting his service with the 24th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War and correspondence, construction documents and other material relating to his work as a civil engineer on a number of major projects including the St. Mary's Canal, the Harlem Tunnel in New York, Panama Canal, Alton Bridge on the Mississippi and a proposed Nicaraguan Canal. The collection is organized in two series, Papers and Printed Works, 1853-1906. The Papers series is available on microfilm.


Edward Jones and Helen B. Williams letters, 1908-1912

10 items

This collection consists of 10 letters Edward Jones Williams and his wife, Helen Burton Williams, wrote to her mother and sisters in Wisconsin between 1908 and 1912, while the couple lived in the Panama Canal Zone, where Edward worked for the Isthmian Canal Commission. The correspondence provides insight into their daily lives in Central America.

This collection consists of 10 letters Edward Jones Williams and his wife, Helen Burton Williams, wrote to their relatives in Wisconsin between 1908 and 1912. Helen wrote 4 letters and Edward wrote 6.

Helen Burton Williams first wrote her sister, Margaret Breese, on January 1, 1908, describing her surroundings and life in the Panama Canal Zone. She expressed some of her frustrations with housekeeping and the local cuisine, and provided detailed descriptions of the environment and the people, especially the women. In her other 3 letters - one dated December 9, 1909, and two undated letters - she discussed Christmas celebrations, travel plans, and news about the Williams' daughter, Charlotte Mary.

Edward Jones Williams wrote the remaining 6 letters in the collection to his mother-in-law, Abbie M. Burton, and to other family members, including three addressed to "Mother," and one to his sister, Mary Hooker of Wausau, Wisconsin. He described daily life in the Panama Canal Zone, including Fourth of July preparations (June 7, 1909), Christmas celebrations at the local YMCA (December 21, 1909), local military tensions (December 21, 1909), increasing tourism (December 21, 1912), and family news. In his letter of December 21, 1912, he mentioned preparations for a visit by President William Howard Taft.

Edward composed a 3.5-page letter to his mother-in-law Abbie M. Burton (July 23, 1909), in which he mentioned the finances of the Isthmian Canal Commission. This letter also contains thoughts on Theodore Roosevelt's upcoming visit to Panama.


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.


Harlan Henthorne Hatcher Papers, 1837-1998 (majority within 1891-1986)

72 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 1.1 GB (online)

Harlan Henthorne Hatcher (1898-1998) was president of the University of Michigan from 1951 to 1967. The papers span the years 1837-1998 and document Dr. Hatcher's University of Michigan presidency, Ohio State University career, literary career, organizational involvement, personal life, and family history. Includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, speeches, yearly datebooks, oral history interview transcripts, magnetic audio tape recordings, an audiocassette recording, and photographs.

The Harlan Henthorne Hatcher Papers document his University of Michigan presidency, Ohio State University career, literary career, organizational involvement, personal life, and family history. The collection spans the years 1837-1998, with the bulk of the materials covering 1891-1986. It includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, speeches, yearly datebooks, oral history interview transcripts, magnetic audio tape recordings, an audiocassette recording, and photographs. The collection is strongest in its documentation of Dr. Hatcher's presidency at the University of Michigan, especially in correspondence and speeches. Documentation is weakest on the subjects of his Ohio State University career before 1944 and organizational involvement before 1967. The collection may be useful to researchers interested in the history of the University of Michigan from 1951-1967, the duties of university administrators and their spouses, authors of the 1920's to 1950's, and environmental activism in Michigan in the 1970's and 1980's.

The Harlan Hatcher collection has been divided into two subgroups of files: those which were created or accumulated from his tenure as president of the University of Michigan (1951-1967) and those materials (mainly personal) dated either prior to or subsequent to Hatcher's presidential years.

The library, as archives of the University of Michigan, is the repository for all of the files of its presidents. For historic reasons, all of the papers of presidents up to and including Harlan Hatcher have been treated as personal collections and cataloged under the name of the president. Beginning with Hatcher's successor - Robben Fleming - and continuing to the present, the files of individuals occupying the president's office have been considered both personal and institutional. Records created from an individual's responsibility as president, usually materials from the years when he was president, are treated as office files and have been cataloged as part of the University of Michigan President's Office record group. Materials from either before or after an individual's tenure as president have been treated separately and have been cataloged under that president's name.


Jesse Siddall Reeves Papers, 1853-1942 (majority within 1901-1942)

14 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Chairman of the department of political science at University of Michigan. Correspondence, reports, manuscript articles, book reviews, lecture notes, and miscellaneous papers concerning family affairs and his academic interests in political science and international law.

The Reeves papers largely concern JSR's activities as professor (also chairman) of the University of Michigan Department of Political Science from his appointment in 1910 until his retirement in 1937. The great bulk of the collection consists of Reeves' correspondence. With this is a smaller series of such other materials as lectures, research materials, professional organizational materials. As an aid to accessing the correspondence, a selective index of correspondents and subjects has been prepared and is appended to the following containing listing.


John G. Claybourn Panama Canal Library: Pictorial review of the Canal, 1670-1947, circa 1907-1950

24 Volumes (24 post binders containing 8,276 photographic prints. )

The John G. Claybourn Pictorial Review of the Canal contains 8,276 black and white photographs of the work done to build the Panama Canal, and its locks and infrastructure, under the jurisdiction of the United States government between 1907 and 1947. The photographs, taken by Ernest "Red" Hallen, official photographer of the Canal Zone for 30 years, also include images of workers, officials, foreign dignitaries, and numerous visitors.

The Claybourn photograph collection contains 8,276 black and white photographs of the work done to build the Panama Canal, and its locks and infrastructure, under the jurisdiction of the United States government between 1907 and 1947. The images capture the excavation and dredging of the Isthmus of Panama and the equipment used to accomplish these tasks; the construction of the locks; the development of the cities of Colón, Balboa and Gamboa; dignitaries, administrators, politicians, and visitors such as Samuel Gompers (Volume 12); infrastructure designed to improve the wuality of life; and events such as mudslides and fires. Photographs of barges, dredging boats, tugboats, ocean-going cargo and historical ships, naval vessels and submarines are also documented passing through the locks.

The 24 cloth-covered post binders that comprise the collection contain, in addition to photographs, maps and introductory typescripts written by John Claybourn. Each volume also opens with a "Table of Contents" listing the number of photographs, and brief or detailed caption information. As a supervising engineer, and later, Dredging Division Superintendent for the Canal, Claybourn compiled this material to complement his annual reports to Canal administrators. Despite the fact the Canal was considered complete in 1914, and that year is documented in volume 8, Claybourn continued compiling these binders for the remainder of his career, ending with a total of 24 volumes. Although the Canal was considered complete, for another 16 volumes, the photographs document the neverending tasks of improvements, disaster clean-up, and infrastructure development to handle a growing population.

Most, if not all, of the photographs were taken by the official photographer of the Isthmina Canal Commission, Ernest "Red" Hallen (1875-1947). In addition, there are a number of formerly classified aerial photographs taken by the United States Navy, a number of which show a munitions/armory location along the Canal.


John G. Claybourn Papers, 1908-1966

5.5 linear feet (in 7 boxes) — 1 oversize folder

Civil engineer, consultant on marine development and dredging, and superintendent of the dredging division of the Panama canal. Topical files relating to the maintenance and development of the Panama Canal and dredging problems in Burma, Colombia, and other Latin American countries; scrapbook relating to the Spanish-American War; and photographs.

The collection documents the professional life of John G. Claybourn, superintendent of the Dredging Division of the Panama Canal from 1921 to 1948 and a consultant on matters of river and harbor improvement. In addition to the Panama Canal, the collection illustrates the role of the United States in infrastructure development in the Third World.

The papers include materials created and collected by Claybourn in his work on the Panama Canal, materials relating to personal business activities away from his primary work, materials relating to consulting jobs and to Claybourn's activities in professional engineering societies, and personal correspondence, much of it with some business connection.

The collection is not clearly divided by topic: papers relating to a particular topic may be divided among topical files, files arranged by correspondent or company, and the general personal correspondence file. Some of the topics of interest include the following:

Burma: The papers document Claybourn's consulting work in the early 1950s, on contract with the U.S. government, to rebuild commerce on the Irrawaddy River destroyed during World War II and to develop the Dalla Dockyards near Rangoon.

Claybourn, Elsie Greiser: A scrapbook documents her activities as a long-distance swimmer and canoeist. Her retirement years are described in detail in the personal correspondence file.

Claybourn, Leslie W.: Claybourn's correspondence with his brother, an inventor and printing industry executive, provides some documentation of the development of that industry.

Colombia: In the 1920s Claybourn was involved in the development of the Dique de Cartagena, a ship canal serving that city. The papers document his relations with the Colombian government.

Florida: Claybourn was a consultant in the early 1930s for a projected canal across Florida. The collection includes surveys and other papers relating to this project.

Panama Canal: The papers reflect both Claybourn's work on the Canal and his interest in the history of its construction. Most papers on this topic have been drawn together in processing, but many are found under the names of correspondents and in the general correspondence file. The topics documented in the greatest detail are maintenance of the canal, especially clearing of landslides, and planning for additional locks and later for a sea-level canal. Information about dredges used on the canal is also included. A collection of photographs, most of them from official sources, parallels these strengths.

The papers also document Claybourn's moonlighting on private dredging operations during the 1920s. This material is found under the names of companies and projects.

Retirement: Claybourn's retirement years were spent in Ann Arbor. The personal correspondence describes in great detail his and his wife's retirement activities.

Rumania: Correspondence with Bill Arthur includes a copy of Arthur's diary of events during a 1940 rebellion in that country.

World War II: In addition to the Rumanian material described above, the collection contains much relating to defensive activities on the Panama Canal. The Burma project described above includes information about war damage to transportation in that country.

Other consulting activities: Consulting projects in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Venezuela are documented less fully than those described above.


Latin America and Caribbean Travel photograph album, ca. 1900-1920

1 volume

The Latin America and Caribbean travel photograph album (17.25 x 21 cm) contains 36 captioned views of Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and Chile taken by an unidentified photographer. The majority of the photographs are of landscapes but local people are also depicted.

The Latin America and Caribbean travel photograph album (17.25 x 21 cm) contains 36 captioned views of Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and Chile taken by an unidentified photographer. The majority of the photographs are of landscapes but local people are also depicted. A photograph of the S.S. Limari is present in the album. Of note are a series of photographs documenting a trip on the Peruvian Central Railway, including a view of Infiernillo Bridge.


Lyman E. Cooley papers, 1865-1917

4 linear feet

Chicago, Illinois engineer, editor The American Engineer, member of the International Deep Waterways Commission. Professional correspondence relating to the Chicago Drainage Canal, the St. Lawrence Waterway, the Lakes-to-the-Gulf Deep Waterway Association, the controversy over the location of an isthmian canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, 1897-1898, and other public works consulting projects.

The Lyman Cooley papers reflect his interest in the Chicago Drainage Canal, the St. Lawrence Waterway, the Lakes to the Gulf Waterway, the Nicaragua vs. Panama Isthmian Canal controversy, and public works in the period 1880-1915. Comprised mainly of correspondence, the collection does include a few miscellaneous notes and reports.


Shaw family collection, 1905-1925 (majority within 1915-1925)

1.75 linear feet

This collection is primarily made up of letters that brothers Charles B. and Clarence F. ("Freeman") Shaw wrote to their mother, Hattie C. Shaw of Swampscott, Massachusetts. Charles discussed his life in Schenectady, New York, prior to World War I and his life in Washington, D.C., in the early 1920s, when he was a clerk for General John J. Pershing. Freeman Shaw wrote to his mother about his experiences with the United States Army's 103rd Aero Squadron in the United States and France during World War I.

This collection (1.75 linear feet) contains correspondence and other items related to Hattie C. Shaw of Swampscott, Massachusetts, and her two eldest sons, Clarence F. ("Freeman") and Charles B. Shaw.

The Correspondence series (approximately 400 letters) comprises the bulk of the collection. The earliest items are personal letters to Hattie C. Shaw from her son Charles and from other correspondents, between 1905 and 1911. Charles B. Shaw began writing regularly to his mother after he moved to Schenectady, New York, in July 1915. He wrote about his daily life, including initial homesickness and leisure activities, such as attending dances, attending sporting events, and participating in bowling leagues. He described public gatherings such as parades and pro-war rallies, Union College events, and festivals, and mentioned local efforts to enlist volunteers after the country's entry into World War I in April 1917. A few letters briefly reference a large workers' strike in October 1915 and the presidential election of 1916. Shaw's final letters from this period concern his intention to accept employment in Washington, D.C., which he did just before joining the United States Army. Enclosures in these letters include a printed advertisement, newspaper clippings, and a certificate authorizing Charles B. Shaw to work as a stenographer for the state of Massachusetts (June 16, 1915).

The bulk of the letters written during World War I consist of Freeman Shaw's letters to his mother pertaining to his experiences in the United States Army. His letter of December 2, 1918, provides details about his service history, including the names of the towns and bases where he was stationed. Shaw wrote a few letters from Fort Slocum, New York, in August 1917 before joining the 103rd Aero Squadron at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas. While in training, he shared details of camp life and conditions, often commenting about his uniform. After his arrival in Europe around December 1917, Shaw was briefly stationed in England before traveling to France. He commented on the scenery and the warm reception his squadron received from local citizens. His letters refer to his work digging trenches and performing guard duty, and his preference for working with the French army rather than the American army. By April 1919, he returned to the United States, where he awaited a discharge.

Charles B. Shaw wrote infrequently to his mother while serving at the American Expeditionary Forces' headquarters during the war, focusing mostly on his leisure activities, including concerts and sporting events held at the YMCA. From May-July 1919, he received a group of letters from the War Department Zone Finance Office, concerning the payment of his Liberty Loan bonds. Many of these letters enclose blank affidavits and similar forms.

From 1920-1925, Charles B. Shaw wrote weekly letters to his mother about his life in Washington, D.C., where he was a clerk in the office of John J. Pershing. He often used stationery of the American Expeditionary Forces' General Headquarters and the office of the General of the Armies. Shaw reported on Pershing's travels, the gradual downsizing of his office, and the general's retirement. Despite fears that he would lose his job, he remained employed until at least August 1925. Shaw also discussed his leisure activities, including bowling, playing tennis, going to the racetrack, and attending football and baseball games (including at least one contest that featured Babe Ruth). He occasionally wrote about his automobile. In his later letters, he referred to a female acquaintance named Mary, possibly his future wife.

The collection's Writings (2 items) are a typed copy of a speech by Chauncey Depew entitled "The Problem of Self-government," delivered by Charles B. Shaw in a prize speaking contest on May 26, 1911, and a brief essay regarding the "Fortification of the Panama Canal."

Five Financial Documents include a receipt to Charles Shaw for dental work (December 3, 1910), receipts for dues paid to the Swampscott Club (July 1, 1917) and the Supreme Temple of Pythian Sisters (February 8, 1922), and receipts related to Charles B. Shaw's policies with the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company (December 1, 1921, and undated).

The Photographs series (22 items) contains snapshots of unidentified men, women, children, and a cat at leisure outdoors. Four items show young men wearing sweaters with a large letter S sewn on the fronts.

The Printed Items and Ephemera series (4 items) is made up of a newspaper clipping with photographs of Russians in a queue and barracks in France, a social invitation for Charles B. Shaw, a wedding invitation, and a monogrammed napkin.