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John Hubbard Memoirs, 1909-1930 (bulk 1916): Finding Aid

Published in June 2015

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 424
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: John Hubbard Memoirs
  • Dates: 1909-1930
  • Bulk Dates: 1916
  • Size: 0.21 linear feet
  • Container Summary: 2 folders containing 4 items
  • Creator: Hubbard, John, 1849-1932
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: John Hubbard was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1870. Hubbard's memoirs, entitled Log, were dictated by Hubbard in 1916, and span his entire U.S. Navy career, from his entry into the Naval Academy in 1866 to his retirement in 1911. Included in the memoirs are descriptions of Hubbard's actions and experiences in the Squadron of Evolution, the Spanish-American War, the 1903 revolution in Panama, and the cruise of the Great White Fleet. Accompanying documents include the dedication speech for the United States Naval Academy's Hubbard Hall, a photograph of a Japanese naval officer, and a chronology of Hubbard's career.

Biographical Chronology of John Hubbard

  • On May 19, is born in South Berwick, Maine.
  • On July 25, appointed a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, having been appointed from Arizona.
  • In June, graduates from the United States Naval Academy.
  • In August, attached to U.S.S. Brooklyn (Screw sloop) of the European Squadron.
  • On July 13, commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy.
  • In September, granted a leave of absence.
  • In January, assigned to special service aboard U.S.S. Guard (Steamer).
  • On September 15, promoted to Master.
  • In May, attached to the receiving ship U.S.S. Sabine (Frigate).
  • In September, assigned to the Coast Survey.
  • In November, assigned to duty in the Hydrographic Office.
  • In January, attached to U.S.S. Supply (Store ship) in support of the Paris Exposition of 1878.
  • On December 28, promoted to Lieutenant.
  • In May, assigned to ordnance instruction.
  • In December, attached to U.S.S. Swatara (Sloop-of-War) of the Asiatic Station.
  • In February, granted a leave of absence.
  • In April, assigned to the Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island.
  • In September, assigned to the Bureau of Navigation.
  • In July, attached to U.S.S. Despatch (Steamer), then serving as President Chester A. Arthur's yacht.
  • In October, returns to the Bureau of Navigation.
  • In December, assigned to the Fifth Lighthouse District out of Baltimore.
  • In October, transferred to the Seventh Lighthouse District at Pensacola.
  • In July, assigned to special duty at the Bureau of Navigation developing a secret cable-code.
  • In January, attached to U.S.S. Chicago (Protected cruiser) of the Squadron of Evolution.
  • In July, assigned to the E. W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn as Assistant Inspector of Ordnance for torpedoes.
  • In July, attached to the training ship U.S.S. Essex (Screw steamer).
  • In April, assigned to recruiting duty out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
  • In April, appointed Executive Officer aboard U.S.S. Yankee (Auxiliary cruiser).
  • In October, assigned to ordnance duty at the New York Navy Yard.
  • On October 6, promoted to Lieutenant Commander.
  • In January, appointed Executive Officer of the training ship U.S.S. Amphitrite (Monitor).
  • In February, assigned to the Fourth Lighthouse District at Philadelphia.
  • On April 2, promoted to Commander.
  • In February, receives command of U.S.S. Nashville (Gunboat), and later, naval forces in the Isthmus of Panama.
  • In May, assigned to temporary duty at the Bureau of Navigation.
  • In June, receives command of U.S.S. Boston (Protected cruiser) of the Pacific Squadron.
  • In November, attached to the Bureau of Ordnance.
  • On July 8, promoted to Captain.
  • In January, receives command of U.S.S. Minnesota (Battleship : BB-22) and takes part in the cruise of the Great White Fleet.
  • In March, assigned to special duty as the Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and member of the General Board.
  • On October 25, promoted to Rear Admiral.
  • In January, receives command of the Third Division of the Pacific Fleet.
  • In February, receives command of the Asiatic Fleet.
  • On May 19, transferred to the Retired List.
  • On May 28, dies in Washington, DC.
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Description of Contents

The memoirs of Rear Admiral John Hubbard, comprising 0.21 linear feet of documentation, consist of a bound memoir and several accompanying documents. The memoirs, entitled Log, were dictated by Hubbard in 1916, and span his entire U.S. Navy career, from his entry into the Naval Academy in 1866 to his retirement in 1911. The accompanying documents include the dedication speech for the United States Naval Academy's Hubbard Hall, a photograph of a Japanese naval officer, and a chronology of Hubbard's career.

The bound memoirs comprise a chronological account of Hubbard's life and career, with no chapters or subdivisions. The volume opens with Hubbard's early life and family history (pages 1A-4A), followed by his experiences as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, which includes discussion of the 1867 and 1868 practice cruises, as well as a crew race against the Quaker City Club of Philadelphia (pages 4A-12A).

Hubbard's experiences as an Ensign open with mention of Admiral Farragut's funeral (page 3), after which Hubbard recounts his European station tour aboard U.S.S. Brooklyn (1870-1872), with port calls in Cadiz, Gibraltar, Kronstadt, Stockholm, Ville Franche, and various ports in Italy (pages 3-13). Following his promotion to Master, Hubbard's memoir turns to his Coast Survey duty (1874-1877) aboard Endeavor and Gedney (pages 13-15), and his assignment to U.S.S. Supply, which carried American Exhibits to the Paris Exposition of 1878 (pages 15-21). Hubbard also notes at this time the christening of U.S.S. Jeannette and his travels through France.

As a Lieutenant, Hubbard first notes his service on the Asiatic Station aboard U.S.S. Swatara from 1879 to 1883 (pages 21-67). His reminiscences aboard Swatara include transiting the Suez Canal; port calls and receptions at Singapore, Bangkok, Saigon, Hong Kong, Chefoo, Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe, Yokohama, and Vladivostok; hikes through Japan, the Nagasaki kite festival, treaty negotiations with the Koreans at Chemulpo (Incheon), his employment of the photographer Ogawa Kazumasa, and crossing-the-line ceremonies. Following service aboard the Presidential Yacht Despatch under President Chester A. Arthur in 1884 (pages 69-70), Hubbard turns to his service with the Fifth Light House District in Baltimore and the Seventh Lighthouse District in Florida (1884-1887) (pages 70-80), including work with botanist Charles Sprague Sargent and John E. Pillsbury's studies of the Gulf Stream.

Following a brief discussion of his special duty at the Navy Department developing a secret cable-code (page 80), Hubbard recounts his assignment to U.S.S. Chicago and the Squadron of Evolution in 1889 (pages 81-106). During his first cruise, he recalls port calls at Lisbon, various ports of Italy, Corfu, Malta, Algiers, and Rio de Janeiro, as well as a fox hunt with officers of H.M.S. Undaunted. During his second cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, he notes Carnival in New Orleans, a meeting with John Julius Pringle (USNA 1846), and a mafia killing in New Orleans. On his third cruise aboard Chicago to South America, Hubbard recalls port calls at Montevideo and Ensanada (Argentina).

Hubbard's lengthy experiences as a Lieutenant continue with his duties as inspector of torpedoes at the E. W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn (pages 106-110), with an aside on the gaining popularity of golf. This duty is followed by his experiences as navigating officer aboard the training ship Essex (pages 110-124), with port calls at Lisbon, Madeira, Southampton, Le Havre, Nevis, St. Kitts, Santa Cruz, and Jamaica. Hubbard's final pre-war recollection is his recruiting duty in Maine (page 124).

On the eve of the Spanish-American War, Hubbard was appointed Executive Officer of U.S.S. Yankee (page 125-137). Hubbard first notes Yankee's inappropriateness for naval service and the challenges of manning the ship, followed by discussions of the blockade of Cuba, engagements in Guantanamo Bay, and the blockade of Cienfuegos.

Hubbard's recollections as a Lieutenant Commander open with his duty aboard U.S.S. Amphitrite in 1900 (pages 137-138) and close with his return to lighthouse duty in 1901 as Lighthouse Inspector for the Fourth District in Philadelphia (page 138).

As a Commander, Hubbard first discusses his command of U.S.S. Nashville (pages 138-176) from 1903 to 1904. Among his experiences, Hubbard recounts surveying land for Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, the pirating of an American Railway Company tugboat by Colombians trying to foment rebellion in Nicaragua, the prevention of Colombian troops from interfering in the Panamanian revolution, landing bluejackets in Colon, steaming to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, and racial relations aboard Nashville. Following his command of Nashville, Hubbard recalls his command of U.S.S. Boston (pages 176-183) and Bureau of Ordnance duty (pages 183-184).

Following his promotion to Captain, Hubbard recalls his command of U.S.S. Minnesota from 1907 to 1909 (pages 184-243). Aboard Minnesota, he notes the Jamestown Exposition, the death of six Naval Academy midshipmen, and the cruise of the Great White Fleet, including port calls and receptions at Rio de Janeiro, Punta Arenas, Lima, Callao, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Seattle, Hawaii, Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Manila, Yokohama, Tokyo, Colombo, Messina, Villa Franche, and Gibraltar. Following his detachment from Minnesota, Hubbard briefly discusses his time as Aide to Assistant Secretary of the Navy (pages 243-245).

As a Rear Admiral, Hubbard served as Commander, 3rd Division of the Pacific Fleet and as Command-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet. In these roles, Hubbard recounts his diplomatic visits, inspection tours and social calls at Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chefoo, and the German port of Tsingtao, as well as rumors of the Japanese shipping arms to the Philippines, and his relations with Japanese Admiral Ijichi (pages 245-299).

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The John Hubbard Memoirs are organized into the following two files:

  • Files 1: Log, 1916
  • Files 2: Enclosures, 1909-1930, undated
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Access and Use


Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The John Hubbard Memoirs 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 Thomas F. Bliss in February 2011. Accession No. 11-01.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Hubbard's time as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy can be found in his Midshipman Conduct Record and U.S.N.A. Photographic Class Book, '70, both available at Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library, United States Naval Academy.

Materials Cataloged Separately

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

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

John Hubbard Memoirs, MS 424

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Selected Bibliography

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

Cogar, William B. Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by David D'Onofrio in June 2015. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in June 2015.

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Subject Headings

Name and Subject Terms

  • Amphitrite (Monitor : BM-2)
  • Asia -- Description and travel
  • Brooklyn (Screw sloop)
  • Chicago (Protected cruiser)
  • China -- Description and travel
  • Despatch (Steamer)
  • Essex (Screw steamer)
  • Europe -- Description and travel
  • Exposition universelle de 1878 (Paris, France)
  • France -- Description and travel
  • Hubbard, John, 1849-1932
  • Japan -- Description and travel
  • Lighthouses
  • Minnesota (Battleship : BB-22)
  • Nashville (Gunboat : PG-7)
  • Panama -- History -- 20th century
  • Sargent, Charles Sprague, 1841-1927
  • South America -- Description and travel
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Blockades
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Naval operations, American
  • Swatara (Sloop-of-war)
  • Training-ships -- United States
  • United States Naval Academy. Class of 1870
  • United States. Navy -- Cruise, 1907-1909
  • United States. Navy. Asiatic Fleet
  • United States. Navy. European Station
  • United States. Navy. Squadron of Evolution
  • Yankee (Steamer)

Genre Terms

  • Manuscripts
  • Memoirs
  • Photographs
  • Speeches (documents)
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Log, 1916

Box 1 Folder 2

Enclosures, 1909-1930, undated

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