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Henry Lincoln Peckham Papers, 1883-1889: Finding Aid

Published in 1996

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 322
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Henry Lincoln Peckham Papers
  • Dates: 1883-1889
  • Size: 0.42 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 manuscript box
  • Creator: Peckham, Henry Lincoln, 1865-1946
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Henry Lincoln Peckham was a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1887. The Peckham Papers consist of a journal, five notebooks, and a requisition book, focusing on Peckham's studies at the United States Naval Academy and his mandatory two years of sea service aboard U.S.S. Galena prior to graduation.

Biography of Henry Lincoln Peckham

Henry Lincoln Peckham was born on July 7 or 9, 1865 in Rhode Island. Peckham entered the United States Naval Academy on May 17, 1883 and graduated as a member of the Class of 1887 on June 10, 1887, ranked twentieth among forty-four graduates. During his two years mandatory sea service prior to final graduation from the Academy, Peckham served aboard U.S.S. Richmond (Steam sloop-of-war) and U.S.S. Galena (Steamer). While serving aboard the latter, Galena, which served as the flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron, was stationed in Haitian waters, providing an active U.S. response to the disruptions, turmoil, and blockade engendered by the Haitian revolution. As stated in the 1889 Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, Galena and her companion ships "at Port-au-Prince, upon several occasions, brought about a prompt and equitable arrangement of misunderstandings which might otherwise have resulted in long and tedious controversies." Naval Cadet Henry Lincoln Peckham was honorably discharged from the Navy on June 30, 1889 in accordance with the August 5, 1882 Act of Congress. Henry L. Peckham died in 1946.

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Description of Contents

The Henry Lincoln Peckham Papers, spanning from 1883 to 1889, comprise 0.42 linear feet of documentation in seven volumes. Consisting of a journal, five notebooks, and a requisition book, the collection focuses on Peckham's studies at the United States Naval Academy and his mandatory two years of sea service prior to graduation.

The Peckham Papers are arranged in rough chronological order into a single series with no subdivisions. The first five volumes are the product of Peckham's time as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. Four of the volumes are notebooks, consisting of class notes on seamanship, mathematics, physics, chemistry, English, Spanish, and biology, as well as notes from a trip to the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The sections devoted to seamanship are often accompanied by detailed drawings of sails and rigging. The accompanying requisition books consists of the stubs for all of the clothing and supplies requisitioned by Peckham while at the Academy. The remaining two volumes are the product of Peckham's two years of mandatory sea service aboard U.S.S. Galena, including a navigation work book and Peckham's cruise journal, which details daily shipboard routine as well as notable shipboard events.

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The Henry Lincoln Peckham Papers are arranged in rough chronological order.

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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Henry Lincoln Peckham 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

Provenance of the navigation work book and seamanship/Portsmouth notebook unknown. U.S.S. Galena Journal purchased in January 1995. Remaining three notebooks and requisition book purchased from Richard's Antiques and Art in October 2014. Accession Nos. 95-02, 15-10.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Peckham's time at the United States Naval Academy may be found in his Conduct Record in Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Henry Lincoln Peckham Papers, MS 322

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

Henry Lincoln Peckham's journal and notebooks were processed by Mary R. Catalfamo as two separate collections in 1996. Original finding aids written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1996. Finding aids combined and revised by David D'Onofrio in January 2014. Additional processing by David D'Onofrio in December 2017.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Haiti -- Foreign relations -- United States
  • Galena (Steamer)
  • Peckham, Henry Lincoln, 1865-1946
  • United States Naval Academy -- Curricula
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1887

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
  • Ships' logs
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Contents List

Box  1 Folder  1

Requisition Book, 1883-1887

Requisition stubs for Peckham's clothing, uniforms, and supplies while a midshipman.

Box  1 Folder  2

Notebook - Seamanship Notes, 1884-1885

Kept in part aboard the practice ship U.S.S. Dale, consisting of seamanship, English, and steam engineering notes. The seamanship notes include sections on head booms, mast heads, masts and yards, standing rigging, types of sails, the mizzen masts and spars, and the flying jib. The English notes include sections on contractions, provincialisms, vulgarisms, and the misapplication and misuse of words. The steam engineering notes consist of notes from lectures by Assistant Engineers J. K. Barton and G. H. T. Babbitt.

Box  1 Folder  3

Notebook - Seamanship and Skinny Notes, 1885

Consists of sections on seamanship, . The first half of the notebook includes sections on fore stays, main sails, the Dahlgren shell gun, tables of Aryan and Semitic nations, and a list of the presidents. The second half of the notebook is dedicated to physics, chemistry, and Spanish.

Box 1 Folder 4

Notebook - Seamanship and Portsmouth Notes, 1886-1887

Notes from the Naval Academy cadets' July 1886 trip, aboard a practice ship, to the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The notebook also contains sections entitled Preparing Ships for Sea, Bringing to Chain, Securing Anchor for Sea, Hoisting in Boats, Reefing Topsails, Tacking Ship, To Let and Take in Studding Sails, and Carrying out Bower Anchors, as well as several pages of mathematical equations.

Box  1 Folder  5

Notebook - Cell Biology, undated

Includes notes on the physiological properties of cells and the structure of and reaction to impulses by muscles.

Box 1 Folder 6

Notebook - Navigation Work Book, 1887-1889

The notebook includes navigational readings and calculations, including Peckham's navigation work while serving aboard U.S.S. Richmond and U.S.S. Galena.

Box 1 Folder 7

Journal of the U.S.S. Galena, 1888 December-1889 April

Many of the journal's entries pertain to everyday shipboard activities, such as Peckham's duties, drills, practices, ship maintenance, sail settings, weather, news of other North Atlantic Squadron ships, Haitian ports visited, and leisure activities. More detailed entries cover the military/diplomatic efforts of the Galena to secure the release of the steamer Haytien Republic, which had been seized by Haitian authorities for alleged blockade violations; the purchase of the steamer Carondelet for conversion to a Haitian gunboat; and the farewell ceremonies for Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce upon his detachment as squadron commander, noted in the journal entry of February 13, 1889.

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