Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Nimitz Library
Nimitz Library

William de Koven Seamanship Notes, 1845: Finding Aid

Published in April 2020

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 42
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: William de Koven Seamanship Notes
  • Dates: 1845
  • Size: 0.17 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 volume of 136 leaves
  • Creator: de Koven, William
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: William de Koven was a midshipman in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1847. The William de Koven Seamanship Notes were written by de Koven between March and August 1845, while he was serving aboard U.S.S. Brandywine. The notes pertain to such naval and seamanship topics as rigging of the sails, knot making, gunnery, anchor keeping, launching and recovery of boats, and readying the ship for action.

Biography of William de Koven

William de Koven was born on May 9, 1824 in Middletown, Connecticut. After initially enrolling at Wesleyan University in his home town of Middletown, de Koven left the school during his freshman year to join the United States Navy and was appointed a Midshipman on September 9, 1841. From May 1843 until September 1845, de Koven sailed aboard U.S.S. Brandywine (Frigate) while that vessel operated in Chinese waters, including the transportation of Caleb Cushing on a diplomatic mission to the Court of the Emperor of China. Beginning in May 1846, de Koven was attached to U.S.S. United States (Frigate) on that vessel's cruise to West Africa. His duties cut short by illness, de Koven was sent home aboard the bark Montgomery in April 1847. A member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1847, de Koven was promoted to Passed Midshipman on August 10, 1847. After being attached to the receiving ship U.S.S. North Carolina, de Koven spent an additional three years serving off the coast of Africa. Duty aboard U.S.S. Massachusetts (Steamer) off the coast of California followed, where de Koven died on May 13, 1851.

Back to Top

Description of Contents

The William de Koven Seamanship Notes, comprising 0.17 linear feet of documentation in a single volume of 136 leaves, were written by de Koven between March and August 1845, while he was serving aboard U.S.S. Brandywine. The notes pertain to such naval and seamanship topics as rigging of the sails, knot making, gunnery, anchor keeping, launching and recovery of boats, and readying the ship for action.

The volume is illustrated with detailed drawings of ships' yards, knots, rigging, cannon, and sails. Several loose drawings are located at the back of the volume.

Back to Top

Arrangement

The William de Koven Seamanship Notes comprise a single volume.

Back to Top

Access and Use

Access

Patron use restricted to microfilm.

Copyright and Permission

The William de Koven Seamanship Notes 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.

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.

Back to Top

Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of Commodore R. H. Wyman. Accessioned on March 18, 1878. Accession No. 19342.

Back to Top

Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

This collection also available on microfilm.

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to William de Koven in this repository can be found in his Alumni Jacket. Any potential conduct offenses committed by de Koven while a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy would be listed in Midshipman Conduct Rolls or Registers of Delinquencies, RG405.2.3 Entry 85.

Four volumes from de Koven's U.S. Navy career, including additional seamanship notes and journals from his cruises aboard U.S.S. Brandywine and U.S.S. United States, can be found in the William de Koven Naval Manuscripts, 1842-1848 at Wesleyan University.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

Back to Top

Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

William de Koven Seamanship Notes, MS 42

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

The following sources were consulted during preparation of the biographical note:

Callahan, Edward William. List of officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900. New York: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1901.

de Koven, William Alumni Jacket, RG 405, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in April 2020.

Back to Top

Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Masts and rigging
  • Seamanship
  • United States. Navy -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
  • de Koven, William

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
Back to Top

Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

William de Koven Seamanship Notes, 1845

Back to Top