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

U.S.S. Constellation Collection, 1794-1972: Finding Aid

Published in March 2014

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 206
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: U.S.S. Constellation Collection
  • Dates: 1794-1972
  • Size: 2.42 linear feet (1 manuscript box, 1 flat box)
  • Creator: Polland, Leon D.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Leon D. Polland was an author and Chief of Construction and Repair for the Constellation Restoration Committee of Baltimore. The U.S.S. Constellation Collection is composed primarily of copies of historic documents pertaining to the Constellation's construction, repair history, and conversion into a museum ship.

Biography of Leon D. Polland

Leon D. Polland was a naval architect and author. Polland served as Chief of Construction and Repair for the Constellation Restoration Committee of Baltimore, directing the efforts to rebuild the Constellation after she was stricken from the Naval Register in 1955. Polland was also a proponent of the hypothesis that the current U.S.S. Constellation is the original frigate constructed in 1797, as opposed to the theory that the original frigate was broken up at the Naval Yard in Norfolk at the same time that the current sloop was constructed in 1853-1854. As a result, the Constellation was rebuilt to resemble a frigate when initially restored for use as a museum ship.

Leon D. Polland is the author or coauthor of several works on the Constellation, including The Frigate Constellation: An Outline of the Present Restoration, and The Constellation Question.

Back to Top

Description of Contents

The U.S.S. Constellation Collection, comprising 2.42 linear feet of documentation, spans from 1984 to 1972. Composed primarily of copies of historic documents, the collection pertains to the Constellation's construction, repair history, and conversion into a museum ship.

The collection documents Leon Polland's research into the design history, construction, and repair history of the frigate/sloop-of-war U.S.S. Constellation in his roles as author and Chief of Construction and Repair for the Constellation. Polland's research notes consist almost entirely of photocopies of historic documents and drawings from repositories and collections such as the National Archives (especially RG-45: Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library), the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the Peabody Museum (Massachusetts), and American State Papers. In addition to these historic documents, the collection is also home to documents pertaining directly to the ship's conversion to a museum ship, including Polland's block lists, material invoices, and documents regarding the acquisition of museum objects for the U.S.S. Constellation Museum. Also included is a copy of Polland's The Frigate Constellation: An Outline of the Present Restoration.

Due to claims that some of the supporting documents used in the rebuilding of U.S.S. Constellation were forgeries, the authenticity of the documents in this collection cannot be verified.

Back to Top

Arrangement

The U.S.S. Constellation Collection is arranged alphabetically by document type and title.

Back to Top

Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The U.S.S. Constellation Collection is 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 Leon D. Polland in July 1972.

Back to Top

Related Materials

Location of Originals

Originals of the materials in this collection are held by the National Archives and Records Administration (especially RG-45: Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library), the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the Peabody Museum (Massachusetts), and other repositories.

Related Archival Material

Material pertaining to the history of the U.S.S. Constellation may be found at the National Archives and Records Administration (especially RG-45: Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library). Material pertaining to Constellation's service at the U.S. Naval Academy may be found in RG-405: Records of the United States Naval Academy, Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

Back to Top

Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

U.S.S. Constellation Collection, MS 206

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in March 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in March 2014.

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

  • Constellation (Frigate) -- Conservation and restoration
  • Constellation (Frigate) -- History
  • Constellation (Sloop-of-war)
  • Polland, Leon D.

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Invoices
  • Manuscripts
  • Photocopies
  • Research notes
  • Schematic drawings
Back to Top

Contents List

Box 2[OS] Folder 1

Constellation Frigate Block List, 1967

Box 1 Folder 1

Constellation Restoration Notes, 1968-1972

Notes, drawings, and invoices relating to the restoration of the Constellation.

Box 1 Folder 2

The Frigate Constellation: An Outline of the Present Restoration, 1968

Box 1 Folder 3

Research Notes, 1794-1964

Copies of historic documents, most notably from American State Papers, pertaining to U.S.S. Constellation.

Box 1 Folder 4-5

Research Notes, 1795-1960

Copies and abstracts of historic documents, primarily from the National Archives and Records Administration (especially RG-45), pertaining to U.S.S. Constellation.

Box 1 Folder 6

Research Notes, 1795-1960

Copies of historic documents pertaining to U.S.S. Constellation from various sources, possibly representing materials donated to the U.S.S. Constellation Museum.

Box 1 Folder 7-8

Research Notes - Note Cards, undated

Copies of note cards of bibliographic citations.

Box 2[OS] Folder 2

Research Notes - Sails and Rigging, undated

Box 2[OS] Folder 3-9

Research Notes and Museum Files, 1794-1967

Oversize reproductions of historical documents relating to, as well as drawings and plans of U.S.S. Constellation. Also included are copies of correspondence and documents pertaining to efforts to acquire museum objects for the U.S.S. Constellation Museum.

Back to Top