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Lorenzo Semple Papers, 1879-1885: Finding Aid

Published in 1998

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 334
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Lorenzo Semple Papers
  • Dates: 1879-1885
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 1 half-manuscript box containing 3 items
  • Creator: Semple, Lorenzo, 1861-1928
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Lorenzo Semple was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1882. The papers, consisting of three volumes, focus on Semple's midshipman cruise aboard U.S.S. Constellation, navigation instruction at the Naval Academy, and service aboard U.S.S. Marion.

Biography of Lorenzo Semple

Lorenzo Semple was born in Montgomery, Alabama on August 31, 1861. Lorenzo was the son of Henry C. Semple, attorney-at-law. He was appointed from Alabama as a Cadet-Midshipman to the United States Naval Academy on September 11, 1877. A member of the Class of 1882, Semple graduated on June 9, 1882.

Following his two years of at-sea training, Semple was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy on July 1, 1884. Six years later, he resigned his commission on June 30, 1890. During his career in the Navy, Semple served aboard U.S.S. Powhatan (Side wheel steamer), U.S.S. Vandalia (Screw sloop-of-war), U.S.S. Marion (Sloop-of-war), and U.S.S. Minnesota (Steam frigate).

Lorenzo Semple, possibly the grandfather of screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr., died on April 23, 1928.

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Description of Contents

The Lorenzo Semple Papers, comprising 0.21 linear feet of documentation, span from 1879 to 1885. The papers consist of three handwritten volumes kept by Semple during his Naval Academy and U.S. Navy career. The volumes include Semple's notebook from a practice cruise aboard U.S.S. Constellation (Sloop-of-war), a navigation notebook (which includes entries from Semple's two years of mandatory sea service before graduation), and a journal from the commissioning and cruise of U.S.S. Marion (Sloop-of-war).

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The Lorenzo Semple Papers are organized into the following three files:

  • File 1: U.S.S. Constellation Notebook, 1879
  • File 2: Navigation Notebook, 1881, 1883-1884
  • File 3: U.S.S. Marion Journal, 1885 January 15-July 31
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Lorenzo Semple 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 Mrs. Richard C. Martin in August 1997. Accession No. 97-54.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Semple's time at the Naval Academy may be found in his Midshipman Conduct Record, and a photograph of Semple is available in Photo Album 98, both at 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

Lorenzo Semple Papers, MS 334

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1998. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 1998 and revised by David D'Onofrio in April 2014.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Constellation (Sloop-of-war)
  • Marion (Sloop-of-war)
  • Navigation
  • Semple, Lorenzo, 1861-1928
  • United States Naval Academy -- Curricula
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises

Genre Terms

  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

U.S.S. Constellation Notebook, L. Semple, Cadet-Midshipman, 3rd Class, 1879

Descriptive notes and drawings of rigging, masts, sails, lines, rails, etc. Description of H.M.S. Bellerophon. Account of Semple's visit to Boston Navy Yard. Inscribed May 15, 1978 "I believe these notes and drawings were made by my father in the summer of 1879 while on a Midshipman's cruise from Norfolk to Halifax aboard the old sailing ship Constellation. There are several letters of this date describing this cruise written to his brother Darrington Semple. The drawings and description are of the old Constellation." Note: the letters referred to in the inscription are not held by Special Collections & Archives.

Box 1 Folder 2

Navigation Notebook, 1881, 1883-1884

Notes, problems, observations, drawings, etc. 1881: Marked as submitted by L. Semple, Cadet-Midshipman, 1st Class to Lt. H.W. Schaefer, USN, Instructor in Navigation. 1883-1884: Appears to be Naval Cadet Semple's navigational observations while on cruises aboard U.S.S. Powhatan (Side wheel steamer) and U.S.S. Vandalia (Screw sloop).

Box 1 Folder 3

U.S.S. Marion Journal, 1885 January 15-July 31

Ensign Semple's description of commissioning and fitting out of U.S.S. Marion and her subsequent cruise from Hampton Roads to Hong Kong. Journal entries of cruise plus descriptions of ports visited, including: Hampton Roads; Valletta, Malta; Port Said; Ismailia; Suez; Suakin, Egypt; Aden, Arabia; Colombo, Ceylon; Singapore; and Hong Kong.

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