Paul Weiss, 1867-1945.
Paul Weiss, 1867-1945.

Guide to the Paul Weiss Papers, 1905-1907, 1937

MS 385

A collection in the
Special Collections & Archives Department,
Nimitz Library

Naval Academy Seal

United States Naval Academy
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5029

Prepared by: Jennifer A. Bryan

November 2009

Descriptive Summary

Provenance:
Unknown.
Size:
62 items.
Access:
Access to the Paul Weiss Papers is unrestricted.
Copyright:
The Paul Weiss Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.
Permission:
It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information
Preferred Citation:
Paul Weiss Papers, MS 385
Special Collections & Archives Department
Nimitz Library
United States Naval Academy

Biographical Sketch

Paul Louis Weiss, a Commander of the Legion of Honor, was born in Strasbourg, France on February 5, 1867. He graduated from the École Polytechnique and the École des Mines de Paris (School of Mining). He was a member of the Corps of Mines. In 1905, as the Engineer of Mines, Inspector of Quarries for the Department of the Seine, he played an instrumental role in the recovery of the remains of John Paul Jones. He was the Inspector General of Mines for France from 1911 to 1916.

After World War I, Weiss left the ministry to become director of the Compagnie Industrielle des Travaux et Entreprises Électriques. He was the consulting engineer to the Compagnie des Mines de Vicoigne, Noeux et Drocourt from 1919 to 1930 and then president of the Compagnie Française des Essences Synthétiques, which built a factory to convert coal into gasoline. He died in Paris on December 25, 1945.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mostly of material related to the recovery of John Paul Jones' body in 1905. Weiss oversaw the excavations at the former cemetery for foreign Protestants in Paris where research indicated Jones' remains were interred. Included in the collection are calling cards with brief notes to Weiss from General Horace Porter, American Ambassador to France. It was Porter who, in 1899, began the quest to find Jones' body and bring it back to the United States.

Items of interest include Weiss' plan of the site of the Saint Louis cemetery; three photographs of the body taken on April 11, 1905, two days after the autopsy; two invitations to the memorial service in Paris; the published proceedings of the Commission du Vieux Paris regarding the discovery and identification of the remains; and a program from the commemoration exercises for Jones held at the Naval Academy on April 24, 1906.

The collection also contains a set of photo post cards of the ceremonies in Paris to mark the transfer of Jones' body to the United States. There is an American and a European edition of the Century Magazine from October 1905, containing General Porter's article entitled "The Recovery of the Body of John Paul Jones." A set of thirteen photographs, some of which accompanied General Porter's article, record the excavation site and the activities there. From a French publication is an offprint of an article on the Protestant cemetery and the discovery of John Paul Jones' remains. There is also a copy of John Paul Jones Commemoration at Annapolis April 24, 1906 (Washington: GPO, 1907); General Porter's calling card is pinned to the front free endpaper of this volume.

Arrangement Note

The Weiss Papers have been digitized in their entirety. In addition to following the links in the Container List below, the materials can be accessed through the Nimitz Library Digital Collections.

Container List

Box Folder  
1 1 Correspondence and Ephemera, 1905-1906; 1937
2 Photo Post Cards, 1905
Box Folder
2 1 Century Magazine, American edition, October 1905
2 Century Magazine, European edition, October 1905
3 Proceedings of the Commission du Vieux Paris, 1906
4 John Paul Jones Commemoration at Annapolis April 24, 1906 (Washington: GPO, 1907)
Box Item
3[OS] 1 Photograph - Head of John Paul Jones, undated
2 Photograph - Body of John Paul Jones [Upper Torso], undated
3 Photograph - Body of John Paul Jones, undated
4 Photograph - Scene of the Search for the Body of John Paul Jones in the Rue Grange-Aux-Belles (1 of 3), undated
5 Photograph - Scene of the Search for the Body of John Paul Jones in the Rue Grange-Aux-Belles (2 of 3), undated
6 Photograph - Scene of the Search for the Body of John Paul Jones in the Rue Grange-Aux-Belles (3 of 3), undated
7 Photograph - View of the Yard over the buried St. Louis Cemetery (1 of 5), undated
8 Photograph - View of the Yard over the buried St. Louis Cemetery (2 of 5), undated
9 Photograph - View of the Yard over the buried St. Louis Cemetery (3 of 5), undated
10 Photograph - View of the Yard over the buried St. Louis Cemetery (4 of 5), undated
11 Photograph - View of the Yard over the buried St. Louis Cemetery (5 of 5), undated
12 Photograph - The First Shaft, undated
13 Photograph - Refilling the Galleries and Restoring Property, undated
14 Photograph - Excavated Area, undated
15 Photograph - The Workman Holds the Point of his Pick Over the Spot Where he had Struck the Lead Coffin, undated
16 Photograph - Lead Coffin Containing the Body of John Paul Jones, undated
Box Folder
MSOS 1 Plan of site of Saint Louis Cemetery, undated