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Nimitz Library

Franklin Hanford Papers, 1870-1899: Finding Aid

Published in 1994

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 290
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Franklin Hanford Papers
  • Dates: 1870-1899
  • Size: 1.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 flat box
  • Creator: Hanford, Franklin, 1844-1928
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Franklin Hanford was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1866. The Franklin Hanford Papers, spanning from 1870 to 1899, pertain to Hanford's service aboard U.S.S. Pensacola and ordnance matters, such as the testing of the Ericsson Torpedo.

Biographical Chronology of Franklin Hanford

  • On November 8, is born in Chili, New York.
  • On November 29, enters the United States Naval Academy as a midshipman on an appointment by Alfred Ely.
  • In June, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • In June, is attached to U.S.S. Saco (Gunboat), cruising in the West Indies and Gulf of Mexico.
  • In January, is attached to U.S.S. Kearsarge (Sloop-of-war) of the South Pacific Station.
  • In April, is promoted to Ensign.
  • In September, is transferred to U.S.S. Tuscarora (Sloop-of-war) of the South Pacific and West India Stations.
  • Is promoted to Master.
  • Is promoted to Lieutenant.
  • In February, is detached from U.S.S. Tuscarora.
  • Is ordered to U.S.S. Wabash (Screw frigate), flagship of the European Station.
  • In May, is detached from U.S.S. Wabash.
  • In July, is assigned to torpedo duty at Newport, Rhode Island until November.
  • Is attached to the receiving ship U.S.S. Vermont in New York.
  • In May, is transferred to U.S.S. Tennessee (Screw frigate), flagship of the Asiatic Station.
  • In July, returns to the United States aboard U.S.S. Ashuelot (Gunboat).
  • Is assigned to ordnance duty at the New York Navy Yard.
  • In June, is attached to U.S.S. Pensacola (Steamer), flagship of the Pacific Station, as navigator.
  • In May, is detached from U.S.S. Pensacola.
  • Is assigned to ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard.
  • In October, is promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • Is appointed Inspector of Ordnance at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York.
  • Is attached to U.S.S. Pensacola (Steamer) as Executive Officer. During this cruise, the U.S.S. Pensacola served on special duty in South America, conveyed a scientific expedition to West Africa, and served as flagship of the South Atlantic and South Pacific Stations.
  • Is appointed Senior Aid to the Commandant of the New York Navy Yard.
  • Is promoted to Commander.
  • In June, receives command of U.S.S. Alert (Gunboat), on the Pacific Station.
  • In August, is detached from U.S.S. Alert.
  • In January, is appointed Assistant Inspector of the Tenth Lighthouse District, headquartered at Buffalo, New York.
  • In March, is appointed Inspector of the Tenth Lighthouse District.
  • In October, is ordered to the Naval Station at Cavite, Philippines, as Commandant.
  • On January 29, is promoted to Captain.
  • On January 3, is transferred to the Retired List with the rank of Rear Admiral.
  • On February 8, dies at Scottsville, New York.
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Description of Contents

The Franklin Hanford papers, comprising 1.42 linear feet of documentation, span from 1870 to 1899. The papers consist of Hanford's scrapbook, clippings, correspondence, and mechanical drawings.

The Papers reflect Hanford's heavy involvement and interest in naval ordnance, including the development of rifled canon and the testing of Captain John Ericsson's torpedo system at Sandy Hook while Hanford was performing ordnance duty at the New York Navy Yard. The papers also briefly touch upon Hanford's service aboard U.S.S. Tennessee and U.S.S. Pensacola.

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The Franklin Hanford Papers are arranged alphabetically by document type and topic.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Franklin Hanford 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

Purchased in November 1993. Accession No. 93-63.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Material pertaining to Hanford's time as a midshipman may be found in his Conduct Record and Alumni Jacket in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Additional material pertaining to the career and life of Franklin Hanford can be found in the Franklin Hanford papers, ca. 1860s-1927, MssCol 1305 ( at the New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division and in the Franklin Hanford Papers, 1864-1936 ( at the University of Rochester Department of Rare Books & Manuscripts.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Franklin Hanford Papers, MS 290

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1994. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1994 and revised by David D'Onofrio in February 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Bombshell (Ordnance scow)
  • Ericsson, John, 1803-1899
  • Flash (Powder sloop)
  • Hanford, Franklin, 1844-1928
  • Ordnance, Naval
  • Pensacola (Screw steamer)
  • Torpedoes

Genre Terms

  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Manuscripts
  • Scrapbooks
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Contents List

Letters and Memoranda, 1879-1899

Included with the letters and memoranda are several undated envelopes.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 1

Memoranda of ten trials of Ericsson Torpedo from XV inch gun, 1879 July-August

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 2

From Franklin Hanford to Commodore William Jeffers, Chief of Bureau of Ordnance, 1879 August 2

Regarding Ericsson torpedo trails and related matters regarding ships Bombshell and Flash, and mentions of Ericsson.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 3

From Franklin Hanford to Commodore J. W. A. Nicholson, Commandant, New York Navy Yard, 1879 August 20

Letter regarding fruitless attempt by Powder Sloop Flash to save Ordnance Scow Bombshell from sinking in storm at Sandy Hook.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 4

From Franklin Hanford to Captain John Ericsson, 1879 August 30

Regarding successful completion of experiments at Sandy Hook.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 5

From Herman S. Davis to Franklin Hanford, 1899 July 1

Request for recommendation by Davis, who worked with Hanford as a member of the Pensacola's African Expedition. Includes a copy of Davis' biography.

Box 1 Folder 1 Item 6

From Herman S. Davis to Franklin Hanford, 1899 July 18

Regarding recommendation request.

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Box 1 Folder 2

Maps and Drawings, 1879 October 8, undated

Includes two undated mechanical drawings (one of which is signed by Hanford) and a map of Naval Combat off Mexillones, Bolivia dated October 8, 1879.

Box 1 Folder 3

Newspaper Clippings, 1880-1885, undated

Newspaper clippings and photocopies of newspaper clippings, as well as a blank Torpedo Report and an advertisement for the The Sailor's Handy-Book and Yachtsman's Manual.

Box 1 Folder 4

U.S.S. Pensacola Files, 1883, 1890 December 3

Includes an image of the U.S.S. Pensacola passing through fields of Lara in Sunda Strait in December 1883 and a contract for repairs on U.S.S. Pensacola's steam launch at Montevideo, witnessed by Hanford.

Box 1 Folder 5

Scrapbook, 1870-1879

Clippings, notes, memos, and diagrams pertaining to the Hereshoff torpedo boat (page 1); proposed 6 inch B.L. rifle (pages 3-4); Ridgway system of mounting ordnance (page 9); pressure and velocity of cannon and hexagonal powder (page 10); 9 inch screw B.L. rifle (pages 11-12); spiral gauge used for determining pressures in bores of cannon at Experimental Battery, Annapolis, MD (page 13); printed instructions regarding magazines and shell-house (pages 15-18); printed U.S. Navy correspondence regarding Hill's invention of gun vent-stopper (page 19).

Box 1 Folder 6

Statement on Dissatisfaction Among Junior Line Officers Upon the Question of Pay, undated

Box 1 Folder 7

U.S.S. Tennessee - Duties and Stations in Case of Fire, 1876 April 25

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