Edwin Jesse De Haven Papers, 1832-1928: Finding Aid
Published in August 2008
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 211
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: Edwin Jesse De Haven Papers
- Dates: 1832-1928
- Size: 0.83 linear feet
- Container Summary: 2 manuscript boxes containing 131 items
- Creator: De Haven, Edwin Jesse, 1816-1865
- Language(s) of material: English
- Abstract: The Edwin Jesse De Haven papers, spanning from 1832 to 1928 document the naval career of Edwin De Haven, with special focus on the Grinnell Arctic Expedition of 1850 to 1851 and subsequent service with the Coast Survey until 1857. The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, photographs and a print periodical.
Biographical Sketch of Edwin Jesse De Haven
Edwin Jesse De Haven was born on May 7, 1816 to parents William and Maria (McKeever) De Haven in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On October 2, 1829, De Haven entered the Navy as a midshipman, serving on the U.S.S. Natchez (sloop-of-war) in the West Indies. Upon transferring to the Brazil Squadron (1832-1835), De Haven served aboard the U.S.S. Lexington (sloop-of-war) and again aboard the Natchez, whereupon he achieved the rank of passed midshipman.
In 1839, De Haven received his first lessons in polar exploration after joining the sloop-of-war U.S.S. Vincennes, flagship of the United States Exploring Expedition under the command of Lieutenant Charles Wilkes. The U.S. Exploring Expedition explored Antarctica, as well as the islands of the Pacific and the west coast of North America. It is during this expedition that De Haven is reputed to have saved the lives of several crew members of the U.S.S. Peacock (sloop-of-war) when it was wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia River. After being promoted to lieutenant in September 1841, De Haven served a succession of yearlong posts with the Home Squadron, including stations aboard the brigs Oregon (1842), Truxtun (1843), and Somers (1845), serving as recruiting officer aboard the latter. In 1848, he was assigned to the steamer U.S.S. Mississippi, seeing action in the Mexican War, including duties charting the Gulf of Mexico.
After a brief tenure at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, De Haven was chosen to command the first Grinnell Expedition (1850-1851) in search of Sir John Franklin and his party, who had disappeared during an expedition in the Arctic in 1845. In May 1850, the American expedition, consisting of the brigs Advance and Rescue, sailed from New York. While finding only traces of the Franklin Expedition, De Haven and his crew did discover and name Grinnell Land, now part of Ellesmere Island, Canada. The expedition returned to New York on September 30, 1851.
In 1852, De Haven sailed aboard the sloop-of-war U.S.S. Decatur in the North Atlantic, guarding American fishing interests. Shortly thereafter, in 1853, De Haven transferred to the Coast Survey, commanding a survey team consisting of the schooners Arago and Belle. After four years of service with the Coast Survey, which included, among other duties, conducting deep-sea soundings off the southern coast of the U.S., De Haven was detached from the Coast Survey on February 19, 1857 due to deteriorating eye sight, and was officially placed on the retired list in 1862. Edwin Jesse De Haven died in Philadelphia on May 1, 1865 and was buried in Old Christ Church Burial Ground, Philadelphia. He was survived by his wife, Mary Norris De Haven, and at least two children, a son Norris and a daughter Kate.
Description of Contents
The Edwin Jesse De Haven Papers, comprising 0.83 linear feet of documents, spans from 1832 to 1928. The papers document, in varying levels of detail, the naval career of Edwin De Haven, with special focus on the Grinnell Arctic Expedition of 1850 to 1851 and De Haven's subsequent service with the Coast Survey until 1857.
The collection consists largely of correspondence and journals, with a smaller number of official navy records, reference materials, a single photograph, and a single publication.
The Edwin Jesse De Haven Papers are organized into five series based on document type. CORRESPONDENCE, 1835-1878, consists of incoming and outgoing letters of both a professional and personal nature. Absent from this series are any official orders, which despite their resemblance to general correspondence, are filed elsewhere with the official naval records. DIARIES AND JOURNALS, 1843-1926, consists of three diaries/journals originally written by Edwin De Haven, as well as excerpts from a journal by English explorer W. Parker Snow. U.S. NAVY FILES, 1832-1857, includes a sampling of De Haven's official orders, service record, reference material, and winter regulations aboard the U.S.S. Advance during the Grinnell Expedition. PHOTOGRAPHS contains a single portrait of Edwin De Haven, and PUBLICATIONS, 1928, contains a single issue of Proceedings of the United Sates Naval Institute.
In addition to the personal history of Edwin Jesse De Haven, research topics served by the De Haven papers include the history and methods of early Arctic exploration, especially the search for English explorer Sir John Franklin, and the hydrographic activities of the Coast Survey.
- Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE, 1835-1878
- Series 2: DIARIES AND JOURNALS, 1843-1926
- Series 3: U.S. NAVY FILES, 1832-1857
- Series 4: PHOTOGRAPHS, undated
- Series 5: PUBLICATIONS, 1928
Access and Use
Access is unrestricted.
Copyright and Permission
The Edwin Jesse De Haven 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.
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.
Acquisition and Appraisal
De Haven's diaries were initially donated to the Naval Historical Foundation by Mrs. H. Parker Rolfe via Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves in June 1927.
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of Edith Rolfe, Mary R. Allen, and Katharine Grosholz in 1960 and transfer from Naval Academy Museum in February 1975.
Location of Copies or Alternate Formats
The De Haven 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 at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/ik5eus/alma991006447687206751
Related Archival Material
Additional material pertaining to Edwin Jesse De Haven may be found in the Edwin Jesse De Haven Papers, 1843-1854 at the Library of Congress and in the Edwin J. De Haven Arctic Expedition Papers, 1835-1853 at the New York Historical Society.
Materials Cataloged Separately
A Civil War era journal written by Second Assistant Engineer Charles H. Ball aboard the U.S. ships Kineo and Metacomet was removed and added to the Charles H. Ball Diaries, MS 147.
Processing and Other Information
Edwin Jesse De Haven Papers, MS 211
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
Johnson, Allen, et al, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Scribner, [1946?-58].
Navy Department. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1959-1981.
This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in August 2008. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in August 2008. Original guide by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1986.
Name and Subject Terms
- Arctic regions -- Discovery and exploration
- De Haven, Edwin Jesse, 1816-1865
- Grinnell Expedition (1st : 1850-1851)
- United States Coast and Geodetic Survey
- Orders (military records)
Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE, 1835-1878 8 foldersSeries Description
Letters, both official and personal, sent to and from Edwin J. De Haven. The letters pertain to the first Grinnell Arctic Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin and, later, De Haven's work for the Coast Survey. Included in the series are originals, photostats, typescripts and handwritten copies of incoming and outgoing letters, as well as several letter books. Featured correspondents include Henry Grinnell, Secretaries of the Navy William Ballard Preston and William A. Graham, Elisha K. Kane, Lady Jane Franklin, W. Parker Snow, George W. Childs, and Mrs. E.J. De Haven.
Included among the Arctic Expedition correspondence is a memorial to Henry Grinnell, submitted to Congress in 1852, as well as one letter sent to Mrs. De Haven following Edwin’s death regarding medals presented to him by the British government. Also included are two folders of Photostats of correspondence and enclosures from the New York Historical Society.Series Arrangement
Arranged alphabetically by topic, thereunder chronologically.
Arctic Expedition Letters, 1850
Includes a handwritten copy of "Instructions Given to Sir John Franklin."
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448073606751
Arctic Expedition Letters, 1851-1878 and undated
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448073506751
Arctic Expedition Letters (Copies of Items Held by New York Historical Society), 1835 August 26-1850 May 15
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448073206751
Arctic Expedition Letters (Copies of Items Held by New York Historical Society), 1850 May 16-1853 January 18
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448072906751
Coast Survey Letterbook - Volume I (Letters Received), 1853-1854
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448070006751
Coast Survey Letterbook - Volume II (Letters Received), 1855-1857
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448069906751
Coast Survey Letterbook - Volume III (Letters Sent), 1853-1857
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448069806751
Series 2: DIARIES AND JOURNALS, 1843-1926 5 foldersSeries Description
Diaries/journals kept by Edwin J. De Haven and two other authors. The diaries pertain to a cruise to Constantinople (Istanbul) aboard the Truxtun in 1843, the Grinnell Arctic Expedition (including De Haven's personal journal and personal copies of some log entries), and another expedition in search of Sir John Franklin led by W. Parker Snow. Included in the series are handwritten originals, as well as handwritten and typescript copies, of journals and logs.
Included with the 1843 diary (transcribed by Hannah De Haven) are typescripts of newspaper articles pertaining to the Grinnell Arctic Expedition, and letters (as well as congressional bills and testimony) regarding Mary De Haven’s attempts to collect Edwin's pension.Series Arrangement
Arranged alphabetically by author.
E.J. De Haven - [Arctic Expedition Position Log],  August- May
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448072306751
E.J. De Haven - Diary (Copy), 1850 November 1-1851 June 14
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448072006751
E.J. De Haven - Diary (1843), 1843-1926
Includes "Diary or Log Book of E.J. De Haven on Trip to Constantinople, 1843," "Copy of Newspaper Clippings Pasted in a Small Book (Re Grinnell Arctic Expedition)," and "On Appeal ... in the Matter of the Application for Pension of Mrs. Mary N. De Haven."
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448071906751
Series 3: U.S. NAVY FILES, 1832-1857 6 foldersSeries Description
Official orders and Navy records, as well as policy and reference documents used by Edwin De Haven. The limited documentation pertains to several of De Haven's duty stations, including his time assigned to the Home Squadron aboard the brig Somers and USS Cumberland (including duties charting the Gulf of Mexico), the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington DC, the Grinnell Arctic Expedition, and the Coast Survey aboard the US Schooner Arago. Included in the series are official orders, accounting documents, shipping articles, and a statement of service covering De Haven's entire career.
Also included in this series is an inventory of supplies used by Sir William Edward Parry during his Arctic expeditions, most likely used by De Haven as a reference in preparation for the Grinnell Expedition.Series Arrangement
Arranged alphabetically by document title or type.
[Inventory of Supplies Used by Sir William Edward Parry], undated
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448071706751
Orders, 1845-1857 and undated
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448071606751
Purser Records, 1846 and 1851
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448071506751
Regulations to be Observed on Board U.S.S. Advance, 1850 November 1
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448071406751
Shipping Articles, 1846
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006448071206751
Series 5: PUBLICATIONS, 1928 1 folderSeries Description
A single issue of Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, Volume 54, Number 305, July 1928, including an article entitled, "The De Haven Arctic Expedition: A Forgotten Page in American Naval History," by Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, beginning on page 579. Also included is a copy of the portrait of Edwin De Haven, plate xlvii.