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Harry Shepard Knapp Papers, 1874-1924: Finding Aid

Published in July 1986

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
  • Call number: MS 225
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Harry Shepard Knapp Papers
  • Dates: 1874-1924
  • Size: 1.83 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box, 1 flat box, 1 oversize folder
  • Creator: Knapp, Harry Shepard, 1856-1923
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Harry Shepard Knapp was an admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1878. The Knapp Papers focus primarily on Knapp's time at the Naval Academy, mandatory sea service following graduation, and diplomatic mission to Haiti following his retirement.

Biographical Chronology of Harry Shepard Knapp

  • On June 27, is born in New Britain, Connecticut to Frederic and Mary Eunice (Burritt) Knapp.
  • On June 26, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • Is attached to U.S.S. Pensacola.
  • Is appointed a Midshipman in the United States Navy.
  • Is commissioned an Ensign.
  • Is promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade).
  • Is promoted to Lieutenant.
  • During the Spanish-American War, serves aboard U.S.S. Dorothea of the North Atlantic Fleet as Executive Officer.
  • Is promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • Is promoted to Commander.
  • Is detailed to the Army War College.
  • Is appointed Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet.
  • Assumes command of U.S.S. Charleston.
  • Is promoted to Captain.
  • Is detached from U.S.S. Charleston.
  • Is assigned to duty as a member of the Navy General Board.
  • Assumes command of U.S.S. Tennessee.
  • Assumes command of U.S.S. Florida.
  • Is assigned to duty as a member of the Navy General Board.
  • Is appointed a member of the Joint State and Navy Neutrality Board with Dr. James Brown Scott and Captain James H. Oliver.
  • Is promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • In November, is appointed military governor of Santo Domingo and commander of the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser Force.
  • In November, is sent to the Paris Peace Conference as a naval expert and delegate to the inter-allied commission on aeronautics.
  • Assumes command of U.S. Naval Forces in European waters with the rank of Vice Admiral.
  • On June 27, is transferred to the Retired List.
  • Travels to Haiti to conduct a four-month investigation of affairs and defend American military occupation.
  • Attends the first, and later second, session of the Institute of Politics at Williamstown, Massachusetts.
  • Consults with the General Board of the Navy during the Washington Naval Conference.
  • Receives an honorary degree from Trinity College.
  • On April 6, dies in Hartford, Connecticut.
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Description of Contents

The Harry Shepard Knapp Papers, comprising 1.83 linear feet of documentation, span from 1874 to 1924. While spanning the entirety of Knapp's career in the United States Navy, the Knapp Papers focus primarily on Knapp's time at the Naval Academy, mandatory sea service following graduation, and diplomatic mission to Haiti following his retirement.

The Knapp Papers consist of dispatches, photographs, notebooks, journals, certificates, journal articles, a news clippings, and a letter.

Nearly half of the Knapp Papers are composed of various journals and notebooks written by Knapp. These volumes include two navigation notebooks spanning Knapp's final year at the Naval Academy and first two years at sea. Another product of this time period, Knapp's journal of his experiences aboard U.S.S. Pensacola, offers lengthy entries on the progress of the War of the Pacific (1879-1884) between Chile and Peru. A final volume, the Watch-, Quarter-, and Station-Bill of U.S.S. Dorothea dates to Knapp's service as her Executive Officer during the Spanish-American War. Another sizeable portion of the collection's textual documents, namely dispatches and a letter, date from a diplomatic and investigative mission to Haiti undertaken by Knapp during the American military occupation of Haiti, shortly after his official retirement from the Navy.

In addition to textual documents, the collection also includes a number of photographs. Consisting mostly of portraits in the form of cabinet cards and cartes-de-visite, the photographs are primarily of Knapp's Naval Academy classmates. A number of portraits of other midshipmen and U.S. Navy officers, as well as several group portraits, are unidentified.

The collection is rounded out by several of Knapp's certificates and his obituary, as well as two of his published writings on the Washington Naval Conference and the Panama Canal.

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The Harry Shepard Knapp Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Harry Shepard Knapp 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.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of the Hartford Seminary Foundation in July 1957.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Harry Shepard Knapp's career and time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy may be found in his Conduct Record and Alumni Jacket in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Harry Shepard Knapp Papers, MS 225

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

"Knapp," Army and Navy Journal (1923 April 14).

The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. Clifton, N.J. : J. T. White, c1926-.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in July 1986 and reprocessed by David D'Onofrio in February 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in February 2014, partially adapted from a finding aid written in July 1986.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Bartlett, Frank William, 1856-1932
  • Biddle, Spencer Fullerton Baird, 1859-
  • Cahoon, James Blake, d. 1907
  • Clark, George Ramsay, 1857-1945
  • Conference on the Limitation of Armament (1921-1922 : Washington, D.C.)
  • Dorothea (Ship)
  • Drayton, Percival Langdon, 1858-1892
  • Elseffer, Harry Smith, d. 1886
  • Haiti -- Foreign relations -- United States
  • Holcombe, John Hite Lee, 1857-1906
  • Jamestown (Sloop of war)
  • Knapp, Harry Shepard, 1856-1923
  • Lloyd, Edward, Jr., 1857-1948
  • Navigation
  • Panama Canal (Panama)
  • Pensacola (Screw steamer)
  • Rodgers, C.R.P. (Christopher Raymond Perry), 1819-1892
  • Rodgers, William Ledyard, 1860-1944
  • Rogers, Allen Grey, 1859-1932
  • Rush, Charles W.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- Haiti
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1878
  • War of the Pacific, 1879-1884
  • Welsh, George Silvis, 1857-
  • White, William Porter, 1859-1926

Genre Terms

  • Certificates
  • Diaries
  • Dispatches
  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
  • Periodicals
  • Photographs
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Contents List

Certificates, 1878-1919

Drawer MSOS Folder 1 Item 1

U.S. Naval Academy Diploma, 1878 June 20

Drawer MSOS Folder 1 Item 2

Commission as Rear Admiral, 1917 March 16

Signed by Woodrow Wilson and Josephus Daniels.

Drawer MSOS Folder 1 Item 3

Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur, 1919 September 26

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Box 1 Folder 1

Dispatches, 1920 September-November

From H.S. Knapp to OPNAV for SECNAV and Secretary of State regarding diplomatic mission to and protection of American interests in Haiti.

Box 1 Folder 2

Dispatches, 1920 December-1921 January

From H.S. Knapp to OPNAV for SECNAV and Secretary of State regarding diplomatic mission to and protection of American interests in Haiti.

Box 2

Journal, 1879 November-1880 March

Journal kept aboard U.S. Flagship Pensacola. Includes entries on the Whitehead Torpedo, signals, repair of main injection valves, weather summaries, and the war between Chile and Peru.

Box 1 Folder 3

Letter: Leo Stanton Rowe to Harry S. Knapp, 1920 October 12

Letter from Rowe, Director General of the Pan American Union, to Knapp regarding Knapp's diplomatic mission to Haiti.

Box 1 Folder 4

Navigation Notebook, 1877-1878

Navigation notebook kept by Knapp as a Cadet Midshipman, 1st Class.

Box 1 Folder 5

Navigation Notebook, 1878 November 14-1879 November 1, 1882 March 4-1883, 1896-1899

Includes navigational readings and calculations (including a Cruise of the U.S.S. Jamestown from Mare Island to Newport, Rhode Island), a repair log for an unspecified vessel in 1896, notes on Steel B.L. Rifles, and algebra materials.

Box 1 Folder 6

Obituary, 1923 April 14

From Army and Navy Journal.

Box 1 Folder 7

Photographs - Building Interior, undated

Box 1 Folder 8

Photographs (Groups), undated

Box 1 Folder 9

Photographs (Individuals) - Bartlett, Frank William (1856-1932), undated

Box 1 Folder 10

Photographs (Individuals) - Biddle, Spencer Fullerton, 1876

Box 1 Folder 11

Photographs (Individuals) - Cahoon, James Blake (d. 1907), undated

Box 1 Folder 12

Photographs (Individuals) - Clark, George Ramsey (d. 1945), undated

Box 1 Folder 13

Photographs (Individuals) - Drayton, Percival Langdon (d. 1892), undated

Box 1 Folder 14

Photographs (Individuals) - Elseffer, Harry Smith (1855 1886), undated

Box 1 Folder 15

Photographs (Individuals) - Holcombe, John Hite Lee (d. 1906), undated

Box 1 Folder 16

Photographs (Individuals) - Lloyd, Edward, Jr. (d. 1948), undated

Box 1 Folder 17

Photographs (Individuals) - Rodgers, Christopher Raymond Perry (1819-1892), undated

Box 1 Folder 18

Photographs (Individuals) - Rodgers, William Ledyard (d. 1944), undated

Box 1 Folder 19

Photographs (Individuals) - Rogers, Allen Grey (d. 1932), undated

Box 1 Folder 20

Photographs (Individuals) - Rush, Charles W., 1885

Box 1 Folder 21

Photographs (Individuals) - Welsh, George Silvis, undated

Box 1 Folder 22

Photographs (Individuals) - White, William Porter (d. 1926), 1874

Box 1 Folder 23-24

Photographs (Individuals) - Unidentified, undated

Box 1 Folder 25

Watch-, Quarter-, and Station-Bill, U.S.S. Dorothea, 1898

Writings, 1910, 1924

Box 1 Folder 26 Item 1

"The Real Status of the Panama Canal as Regards Neutralization", 1910

Reprinted from Volume 36, No. 1 of United States Naval Institute Proceedings.

Box 1 Folder 26 Item 2

"Treaty No. 2 of the Washington Conference", 1924 June

Reprinted from Volume 32, No. 2 of Political Science Quarterly.

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