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John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks, 1898-1901: Finding Aid

Published in January 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
  • Call number: MS 282
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks
  • Dates: 1898-1901
  • Size: 5 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 3 flat boxes
  • Creator: Claybourn, John G., 1886-1967
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: The John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks focus almost exclusively on the Spanish-American War of 1898, its campaigns, key individuals, and outcomes, but also touches upon the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.

Biography of John G. Claybourn

The scrapbooks are likely the product of civil engineer John Geronold Claybourn. John G. Claybourn was born in Minnesota in 1886 to John B. and Ellen Clink Claybourn. After failing to graduate from the University of Minnesota, Claybourn found work as a surveyor for the Panama Canal. Claybourn was subsequently transferred to the Canal's dredging division in 1914, of which he became Superintendent in 1921. In addition to working for the Canal, Claybourn also consulted on various harbor improvement projects in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Florida, and Panama. In 1948, Claybourn retired from the Panama Canal, but continued to take consulting positions in Burma, Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, and Venezuela. John G. Claybourn died in 1967.

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Description of Contents

The John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks comprise 5 linear feet of documentation in five scrapbooks, spanning from 1898 to 1901. The scrapbooks focus almost exclusively on the Spanish-American War of 1898, its campaigns, key individuals, and outcomes, but also touches upon the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.

The scrapbooks consist almost entirely of newspaper clippings, including articles, illustrations, and editorial cartoons. Also included are occasional pamphlets, maps, advertisements, and sheet music. Publications represented in the scrapbooks include Harper's Weekly, Leslie's Weekly, The Keystone, The Epworth Herald, St. Paul Dispatch, Chicago Democrat and Dispatch, and Collier's Weekly.

The scrapbooks cover various aspects of the Spanish-American War, exclusively from an American perspective. Battles covered by the scrapbook's clippings include the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, the Battle of Manila, the Battle of San Juan Hill, and Battle of El Caney, and the landings at Baiquiri, Cuba. A number of pages throughout are devoted to the American and Spanish naval fleets, including the dynamite cruiser U.S.S. Vesuvius sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. The scrapbooks are replete with illustrations and portraiture of key individuals from the war, most notably Rear Admiral George Dewey, Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, then Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, and Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera. Political and editorial cartoons throughout focus on the rationale for war, key outcomes, and American ambitions.

A number of items throughout the collection focus on topics other than the war. Most notably, Scrapbook 5 includes four hand-written American Press Association messages written on Western Union telegram forms concerning the assassination of President William McKinley. There are also several articles pertaining to logging on the Mississippi River and the Baker-Howard Feud.

All five scrapbooks are constructed from Chicago area tailor advertising books.

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The John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks have no discernible original order and were numbered one through five during processing.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks 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 Mrs. John G. Claybourn in July 1970.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Papers related to the life and career of John G. Claybourn, including an additional Spanish-American War scrapbook, can be found in the John G. Claybourn Papers, 1908-1966, 85953 Aa 2, at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

John G. Claybourn Scrapbooks, MS 282

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Coombs, Leonard A.. Finding Aid for John G. Claybourn Papers, 1908-1966. Ann Arbor: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, undated.

Processing Information

This collection was originally processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1993 and reprocessed by David D'Onofrio in January 2014. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in January 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Cervera y Topete, Pascual, 1839-1909
  • Claybourn, John G., 1886-1967
  • Dewey, George, 1837-1917
  • Maine (Battleship)
  • Manila Bay, Battle of, Philippines, 1898
  • McKinley, William, 1843-1901
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
  • Santiago Campaign, 1898
  • Schley, Winfield Scott, 1839-1911
  • Spanish-American War, 1898
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Campaigns -- Cuba
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Campaigns -- Philippines
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Naval operations, American

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Manuscripts
  • Scrapbooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Scrapbook 1, 1898, undated

Coverage of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, troop landings at Baiquiri, the Battle of El Caney, ships of the U.S. fleet, views of Manila, views of San Juan, President William McKinley, Spanish Premier Antonio Canovas del Castillo, U.S.S. Maine, defences in Havana, fortifications in San Juan, and Major General William R. Shafter.

Box 2 Folder 1

Scrapbook 2, 1898, undated

Materials pertaining to log sorting on the Mississippi River, the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, memorials for the U.S.S. Maine, the Rough Riders, American infantry in Manila, U.S. Marines in Santiago, the use of barbed wire, John Jacob Astor's battery, the Baker-Howard Feud in Kentucky, American troops at Baiquiri, American artillery, the American Third Infantry, and disease and sanitation in Cuba.

Box 2 Folder 2

Scrapbook 3, 1898, undated

Documents regarding the dynamite cruiser U.S.S. Vesuvius, scenes from Manila, Admiral Dewey's victory at Manila, Admiral David Farragut, general overviews of the war, the South Dakota Volunteers, Brigadier General Frederick Funston, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Minnesota Volunteers. Includes a copy of the music and lyrics for "The Volunteer's Army."

Box 3 Folder 1

Scrapbook 4, 1898, undated

Primarily political cartoons and illustrations regarding the Holland submarine, Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, Rear Admiral George Dewey, Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, General Nelson A. Miles, General Calixto Garcia, Admiral Cervera, and views of Santiago de Cuba, Manila, and Puerto Rico.

Box 3 Folder 2

Scrapbook 5, 1898-1901

Materials concerning the ships of the U.S. Navy, landings at Baiquiri, the Maine Board of Inquiry, the Howell Rocket-Torpedo gun, the remains of Admiral Cervera's fleet, the bombardment of Santiago, the memorial to unknown Union soldiers at Arlington, the Maria Teresa, Spain's Cape Verde Armada, Commodore Winfield Scott Schley's fleet, and the dynamite cruiser U.S.S. Vesuvius. Included in the scrapbook are several handwritten telegrams regarding President William McKinley's condition after by shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo by Leon Czolgosz.

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