The personal papers of Charles Lang Freer, the industrialist and art collector who founded the Freer Gallery of Art. The papers include correspondence, diaries, art inventories, scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeil Whistler and other press clippings, and photographs.
The personal papers of Charles Lang Freer, the industrialist and art collector who founded the Freer Gallery of Art. The papers include correspondence, diaries, art inventories, scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeil Whistler and other press clippings, financial material, architectural drawings, and photographs.
Correspondence, circa 1860-1921, includes Freer's correspondence, 1876-1920, with artists, dealers, collectors, museums, and public figures; letterpress books contain copies of Freer's outgoing letters, 1892-1910; correspondence collected by Freer of James McNeill Whistler, and his wife Beatrix, 186?-1909, with Lady Colin Campbell, Thomas R. Way, Alexander Reid, Whistler's mother, Mrs. George W. Whistler, and others; correspondence of Whistler collector Richard A. Canfield, 1904-1913, regarding works in Canfield's collection; and correspondence of Freer's assistant, Katharine Nash Rhoades, 1920-1921, soliciting Freer's letters from his associates, and regarding the settlement of his estate.
Also included are twenty-nine pocket diaries, 1889-1890, 1892-1898, 1900-1919, recording daily activities, people and places visited, observations, and comments; a diary kept by Freer's caretaker, Joseph Stephens Warring, recording daily activities at Freer's Detroit home, 1907-1910. Inventories, n.d. and 1901-1921, of American, European, and Asian art in Freer's collection, often including provenance information; vouchers, 1884-1919, documenting his purchases; five volumes of scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeill Whistler, 1888-1931, labeled "Various," "Peacock Room," "Death, etc.," "Paris, etc.," and "Boston...London" ; three volumes of newsclippings, 1900-1930, concerning Freer and the opening of the Freer Gallery of Art.
Correspondence regarding Freer's gift and bequest to the Smithsonian Institution, 1902-1916; and photographs, ca. 1880-1930, of Freer, including portraits by Alvin Langdon Coburn and Edward Steichen, Freer with others, Freer in Cairo, China and Japan, Freer's death mask, and his memorial service, Kyoto, 1930; photographs of artists and others, including Thomas Dewing, Ernest Fenollosa, Katharine Rhoades taken by Alfred Stieglitz, Rosalind B. Philip, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Abbott H. Thayer, Dwight Tryon, and Whistler; and photographs relating to Whistler, including art works depicting him, grave and memorial monuments, works of art, the Peacock Room, and Whistler's memorial exhibition at the Copley Society.
Organization of the Papers:
This collection is organized into twelve series.
Series 1: Genealogical and Biographical Data
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Diaries
Series 4: Freer Colleague Materials
Series 5: Art Inventories
Series 6: Financial Materials
Series 7: Exhibition Loan Files
Series 8: Biblical Manuscripts and Gold Treasure Files
Series 9: American School of Archaeology in China
Series 10: Printed Material
Series 11: Outsize Material
Series 12: Photographs
1854 February 25 -- Born in Kingston, New York
1873 -- Appointed accountant and paymaster of New York, Kingston and Syracuse Railroad by Frank J. Hecker (1846-1927)
1876 -- Moves to Indiana to work, with Hecker, for the Detroit and Eel River and Illinois Railroad
1880 -- Moves to Detroit, participates in organization of the Peninsular Car Works with Hecker
1883 -- Becomes vice president and secretary of Peninsular Car Company when it succeeds Peninsular Car Works
1883 -- Begins collecting European prints
1884 -- Peninsular Car Company constructs plant on Ferry Avenue
1887 -- Meets Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)
1887 -- Acquires proofs of 26 etchings, Venice, Second Series(1886), by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
1887 -- Purchases a small Japanese fan attributed to Ogata Korin(1658-1715)
1887 -- Buys land on Ferry Avenue
1889 -- Meets Frederick Stuart Church (1826-1900) and Dwight William Tryon (1849-1925) in New York
1890 -- Commissions Wilson Eyre (1858-1944) to design house on Ferry Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
1890 -- On first trip to London, meets James McNeill Whistler(1834-1903)
1892 -- Moves to Ferry Avenue house
1892 -- Tryon and Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) undertake decoration of reception rooms
1893 -- Lends American paintings to World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
1893 -- Purchases first piece of Chinese art, a small painting of white herons by an anonymous Ming dynasty (1368-1644) artist
1894 -- Begins yearlong trip around the world, which includes visit to the Whistlers in Paris and first trip to Asia, stopping in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, China, and Japan
1896 -- Meets Matsuki Bunkyo (1867-1940) in Boston
1899 -- Takes part in consolidation of railroad-car building companies then retires from active business
1900 -- Attends Exposition International Universelle in Paris
1900 -- Buys villa in Capri with Thomas S. Jerome
1901 -- Meets Siegfried Bing (1838-1905) in Paris and Ernest Fenollosa(1853-1908), who visits Freer in Detroit
1902 -- Meets Dikran Kelekian (1868-1951)
1902 -- Spends summer in Britain building Whistler collection
1902 -- Views Whistler's, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room
1904 -- Purchases Whistler's Peacock Room
1904 -- Offers his art collections and funds to build a museum in which to house them to the Smithsonian Institution
1905 -- Smithsonian committee visits Freer in Detroit
1906 -- United States government formally accepts Freer's gift on January 24
1906 -- Freer signs Deed of Gift to Smithsonian Institution on May 5
1907 -- On second tour of Asia, meets Hara Tomitaro 1868-1939) in Yokohama, Japan
1908 -- Takes third trip to Asia, specifically to West Asia to study Rakka ware
1909 -- Tours Europe to study art museums
1909 -- On fourth trip to Asia, attends memorial ceremony for Fenollosa (d.1908 September) at Miidera, Japan, and meets Duanfang (1861-1911) in China
1910 -- On last trip to Asia, visits Longmen Buddhist caves in China
1911 -- Suffers stroke
1912 -- Lends selection of objects for exhibition at Smithsonian Institution
1913 -- Meets Eugene (1875-1957) and Agnes E. (1887-1970) Meyer
1913 -- Commissions Charles Adams Platt (1861-1933) to design museum building in Washington
1914 -- Meets Katharine Nash Rhoades (1885-1965) in Detroit
1915 -- Settles in New York City
1915 -- Site of future Freer Gallery of Art is determined
1916 -- Platt's plans for Freer Gallery are approved by Smithsonian Regents and Commission of Fine Arts and ground is broken in September
1918 -- After falling ill in Detroit, Freer travels to New York for treatment
1918 -- Work on the museum building is delayed by the war
1919 -- Freer appends codicil to will permitting acquisitions of Asian, Egyptian, and Near Eastern (West Asian) art
1919 -- Dies in New York City on 25 September and is buried in Kingston, New York
1919 -- Construction of Freer Gallery completed
1920 -- John Ellerton Lodge (1876-1942) is appointed director of the Freer Gallery
1923 -- Freer Gallery opens to the public on May 9
1930 -- Memorial ceremony for Freer is held at Koetsuji, Kyoto
Charles Lang Freer was an American industrialist who founded the Freer Gallery of Art. He was a well-known collector of Asian art, and strongly supported the synthesis of Eastern art and Western art. One of his most famous acquisitions was James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room.
Index to cross-referenced correspondents in the series Charles Lang Freer correspondence
Beal, Junius E. -- See: -- Warring, Joseph Stephens
Black, George M. -- See: -- Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Board of Education (Kingston, New York) See: Michael, M. J.
Bonner, Campbell See: University of Michigan
Boughton, George H. See: Yardley, F. C.
British Museum See: Binyon, Laurence; Hobson, R. L.
Brown, Harold H. See: Art Association of Indianapolis
Buchner, Evelyn B. See: Knoedler, M., and Company
Buckholder, C. H. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Butler, S. B. See: Unidentified correspondents
Carnegie Institute See: Balken, Edward Duff; Harshe, Robert B.
Carpenter, Newton H. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Caulkins, Horace James See: Pewabic Pottery
Chao, Shih-chin See: Gunn, Chu Su
Chicago & North Western Railway Co. See: Hughett, Marvin
Clark, Charles Upson See: Clark, Arthur B.
Cleveland Museum of Art See: Whiting, Frederic Allen
Columbia University See: Braun, W. A.; Gottheil, Richard; Hirth, Friederich
Commission of Fine Arts See: Moore, Charles
Corcoran Gallery of Art See: Minnigerode, C. Powell
Crocker, Anna B. See: Portland Art Association
Dannenberg, D. E. See: Karlbeck, Orvar
De Menoncal, Beatrice See: Lien, Hui Ch'ing Collection
De Ricci, Seymour See: Ricci, Seymour de
Defnet, William A., Mrs., See: Franke, Ida M.
DeMotte See: Vigouroux, J.
Detroit Institute of Arts See: Detroit Museum of Art
Detroit Publishing Company See: Livingstone, W. A.
Detroit School of Design See: George Hamilton; Stevens, Henry
DeVinne Press See: Peters, Samuel T.; Witherspoon, A. S.
Dyrenforth, P. C. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Eddy, Arthur J. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Eggers, George Williams See: Art Institute of Chicago
Farr, Daniel H. See: Robinson and Farr
Farrand School (Detroit) See: Yendall, Edith
Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) See: Laufer, Berthold
Flagg, Frederick J. See: Allen, Horace N.
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University See: Forbes, Edward; Pope, Arthur Upham; Sachs, Paul J.
French, M. R. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Fu, Lan-ya See: Pang, Lai-ch'en
Fujii, Yoshio See: Yoshio, Fujii
Gerrity, Thomas See: Knoedler, M., and Company
Goupil Gallery See: Marchant, William
Gray, William J. See: Barr, Eva
Great Lakes Engineering Works See: Hoyt, H. W.
Grolier Club See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Heinemann, W. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Holden, Edward S. See: West Point, U. S. Military Academy
Hudson, J. L. See: Weber, William C.
Hutchins, Harry B. See: University of Michigan
Hutchins, Charles L. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Kelekian, H. G. See: Kelekian, Dikran G.
Kent, H. W. See: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Lee, Kee Son See: Li, Chi-ch'un
Levy, John See: Schneider, A. K.
Library of Congress See: Rice, Richard A.; Wright, Helen
Louvre (Paris, France) See: Midgeon, Gaston
Matsuki, Z. See: Matsuki, Kihachiro
McKim, Mead and White See: White, Stanford
Mills, A. L., Colonel See: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Miner, Luella See: Lien, Hui Ch'ing Collection
Minneapolis Institute of Arts See: Breck, Joseph; Van Derlip, John R.
Monif, R. Khan See: Rathbun, Richard
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston See: Lodge, John Ellerton
Naser, Katen & Nahass See: Katen, K.
Nordlinger, Marie, Miss See: Meyer-Riefstahl, Marie
Panama Pacific International Exposition See: Moore, Charles C.; Trask, John E. D.
Peabody Museum See: Morse, Edward Sylvester
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts See: Trask, John E. D.
Saint-Gaudens, Augusta H. See: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Saint-Gaudens, Homer See: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Samurai Shokai See: Nomura, Yozo
San Francisco Art Association See: Laurvik, J. Nilsen
Scribner's, Charles, Sons See: Van Dyke, John C.
Shaw, Wilfred B. See: University of Michigan
Shirae, S. Z. See: Yamanaka and Company
Smith College See: Clark, Arthur B.
Smithsonian Institution See: Holmes, William Henry; Rathbun, Richard; Ravenel, Walcott, Charles D.
Society of Arts and Crafts (Detroit) See: Plumb, Helen
Societe des Beaux-Arts See: Reid, Alexander
Stevens, George W. See: Toledo Museum of Art
Stratton, Mary Chase Perry See: Pewabic Pottery
Tanaka, Kichijiro See: Yamanaka and Company
Tuttle, William F. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Union Trust Company (Detroit) See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
United States Military Academy See: West Point, U. S. Military Academy
University of Chicago See: Zug, George Breed
University of Pennsylvania, Univ. Mus. See: Gordon, George Bryon
Ushikubo, D. J. R. See: Yamanaka and Company
Wallis & Son See: Barr, Eva; Thompson, C. Croal Ward, Clarence See: Oberlin College
Warren, Edward K. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Warring, Stephen See: Warring, Joseph Stephens
Watkin, Williams R. T. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Watson, Margaret, Miss See: Parker, Margaret Watson
Whistler, Anna See: Stanton, Anna Whistler
Whiting, Almon C. See: Toledo Museum of Art
Williams College See: Rice, Richard A
Wright, F. G. See: Orbach and Company
Yatsuhashi, H. See: Yamanaka and Company
Index to cross-referenced correspondence in the series Whistler correspondence
Bell, William See: Unidentified correspondents
Brown, Ernest See: Painter Etchers' Society, Committee
Cowen, John T. See subseries: Charles Lang Freer Correspondence
Ford, Sheridan See: Reid, Alexander
Haden, Francis Seymour See: Painter Etchers' Society, Committee
Haden, Francis Seymour, Lady See: Haden, Deborah Whistler
Leighton, Frederick, Baron See: Campbell, Lady Colin
Moore, Albert See: Reid, Alexander
Morley, Charles See: Pall Mall Gazette
Morris, Harrison S. See: Reid, Alexander
Pennell, Joseph See: Miscellaneous typescripts
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts See: Reid, Alexander
Prange, F. G. See: Reid, Alexander
Societe des Beaux-Arts See: Reid, Alexander
Society of Portrait Painters See: Reid, Alexander
Stevens Fine Art See: Reid, Alexander
Studd, Arthur See: Miscellaneous typescripts
[Vanderbilt?], George, Mrs. See: George, Mrs.
Whistler, William McNeill, Mrs. See: Whistler, Nellie
Whistler Memorial Committee See: Miscellaneous typescripts
The Archives of American Art microfilmed portions of the Freer papers in 1992. The microfilm is available at the Archives of American Art's Washington D.C. office, the Freer Gallery of Art Library, and through interlibrary loan.
Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
William Mitchell Trial Scrapbooks, Acc. 1992.0013, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
William Mitchell Trial Scrapbooks, Acc. 1992.0013, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Collection documents Victor Zuck's work on developing and selling electronic organs, first with the Everett Piano Company of South Haven, Michigan, and then with the Wurlitzer Organ Company of North Tonawanda, New York.
Collection is arranged into one series.
Victor I. Zuck was born in Hagerstown, Maryland on January 24, 1908 to Jacob and Ora Turner Zuck. David Zuck, an uncle was an employee with M.P. Moller Company, builders of pipe organs and in the 1920s, introduced Victor to an apprenticeship with organs at Moeller. At Moller, Victor worked under Ted Clark, Raleigh Williams, and Richard Whitelegg. Zuck spent two years, 1930-1931 at the United States Military Academy where he collaborated with Frederick C. Mayers, the organist and choirmaster of the Harmonic Division. Zuck returned to the Moller Company and assumed leadership of the Automatic Player Department, supervising the rebuilding of pipe organs and hand cutting for automatic rolls.
At Moller, Zuck worked with Frederick A. Hoschke, the musical director. Hoeschke developed the Orgatron, an electrostratic reed organ in 1934. It was manufactured by Everett Piano Company from 1935 to 1941. The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company secured the patents from Everett in 1945. Wurlitzer produced these instruments and retained the Everett names on some models from 1945 to 1947. Orgatrons continued to be produced into the early 1960s. After the ORgatron was purchased by Wurlitzer, Zuck joined the Wulritzer Company and became superintendent of the organ division and a consultant in research. Zuck held 14 organ-related patents, all assigned to the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, New York. In 1952, Zuck resigned from Wurlitzer and returned to the Moller Company as a sales representative. In 1975, Zuck was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church.
Zuck married Nathalie Peterson, grandniece of Frederick A. Hoeschke in 1937. Zuck died on January 6, 2004.
Automatic Musical Instruments Collectors Association, Honor Rool (https://www.amica.org/files/VICTOR_I_ZUCK.pdf (last accessed on November 15, 2021)
Materials in the Division of Culture and the Arts
An Everett/Wurlitzer Orgatron Model 4600, Serial #18421 made in 1952. See accession 1994.0035.01.
Collection donated by Victor I. Zuck and Nathalie A. Zuck, January 1994.
The collection documents Mongomery C. Meigs, an Army officer, engineer, architect, and scientist. Meigs's papers include scrapbooks and photographs relating primarily to his work on the Pension Building and the Washington Aqueduct in Washington, D.C. but also his interest in politics, military affairs, construction, Native Americans, inventions, real estate, and financial matters.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents, Mongomery C. Meigs, an Army officer, engineer, architect, and scientist. Meigs's papers include scrapbooks and photographs relating primarily to his work on the Pension Building in Washington, D.C., an extension to the Post Office Building, the Washington Aqueduct, Cabin John Bridge, and the dome of the United States Capitol. The scrapbooks reflect Meigs's interests in politics, military affairs, construction, Native Americans, inventions and technology, real estate, and financial matters.
The collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1870-1890
Series 2: Photographs, 1850-1885
Biographical / Historical:
1816, May 3, Born, Augusta, Georgia
1832, Entered United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
1837, Second lieutenant, Corps of Engineers. Surveyed Upper Mississippi River
1838, Survey engineering work, Delaware River
1839, Duty at army headquarters, Washington, D.C.
1841, Married Louisa Rodgers (died 1879)
1843-1852, Stationed in Detroit, Michigan, until return to permanent duty in Washington, D.C.
1852, Supervised construction of the Washington aqueduct for Great Falls, Virginia and various United States
Capitol improvements, including a new and larger dome
1861, June Appointed Quartermaster General, United States Army
1865, April 15, Present at the death of Abraham Lincoln
1867, Postwar illness and trip to Europe
1882, Retired from the United States Army. Began engineering work on the Pension Office Building, Washington, D.C.
1892, January 2, Died, Washington, D.C.
*Biographical Chronology courtesy the Library of Congress, Montgomery C. Meigs Papers, 1799-1892 (bulk 1849-1892)
Materials at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
William R. Hutton Papers (AC0987)
Materials at the National Museum of American History
Several curatorial divisions hold material culture related to Montgomery C. Meigs and include:
Division of Culture and the Arts (now Division of Cultural and Community Life)
Armed Forces History (Division of Political and Military History)
Division of Home and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life)
Division of Medicine and Science
Division of Work and Industry
Materials at Other Organizations
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division
Montgomery C. Meigs Papers, 1799-1892 (bulk 1849-1892)
Army officer, engineer, architect, and scientist. Correspondence, diaries and journals, notebooks, family papers,
military papers, drawings and plans, scrapbooks, and other papers relating primarily to Meigs's work in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, his service as Quartermaster General during the Civil War, and family matters.
Parts of the collection were donated by Dr. Paul L. Smith on January 8, 1971 and Mr. and Mrs. Mayo S. Stuntz on March 8, 1974. Other sources are unknown.
The collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The collection consists of a bound volume of preprinted US Army forms for recording results of target practice, subsequently filled with drawings of courting, hunting, warfare, Saynday stories, and scenes from the Kiowa Sun Dance by Silver Horn and other Kiowa artists. The artists were probably all Army scouts. The book also contains a 30 page pictorial diary by Silver Horn, spanning the period between January 1893 to June 1897. The diary starts near the end of the book and proceeds from the back towards the front. Among the many names inscribed in the book are "Hawgone" (Silver Horn) and "Auchchiah," both of whom served in Troop L of the Seventh Cavalry, an all-Indian troop that was commanded by Scott. The manuscript contains 186 drawings, as well as a number of scribbled images. The pages are hand numbered, 5-356, in red ink in the upper left corner of each page. A second hand pagination in black ink runs from the back of the book toward the front, encompassing the last thirty pages of the book. Previous inscriptions in the book record the results of target practice at Fort Meade, Dakota Territory in 1884. Hugh Scott was stationed at Fort Meade between 1883 to 1886.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Silver Horn, known as Haungooah in Kiowa, was born in 1860. His name also appears as Hugone, Hangun or Hawgon. He was a member of a prominent Kiowa family. His residential band, led by his father Agiati (Gathering Feathers), actively opposed the United States government's efforts to confine the Kiowa to a reservation. Members of his family participated in the Red River War of 1874-1875 and were among the last Kiowa to surrender to the military. In 1891, Silver Horn enlisted in Troop L of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry. He served with Troop L, which was part of a broader experiment involving the enlistment of all-Indian troops, until 1894.
In 1901, Silver Horn secured employment with James Mooney, an ethnologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Mooney was interested in the designs on Kiowa shields and tipis and hired Silver Horn to produce illustrations of the designs and models of the shields and tipis. The project provided Silver Horn with steady work between 1902 and 1904 and occassional employment between 1904 and 1906. Silver Horn also produced illustrations for Hugh Scott, an army officer and avocational ethnologist. Silver Horn was active in the religious life of the Kiowa. He was a Tsaidetalyi bundle keeper and participated in the Sun Dance, Ghost Dance, and Peyote religion. He was also a member of the Ohoma society. Silver Horn died on December 14, 1940.
Hugh Scott was a graduate of the United States Military Academy and served as an officer in the Seventh Cavalry. He was initially stationed in the Dakota Territory. There he learned Plains Indian sign language, a skill that enabled him to communicate more easily with the Cheyenne, Sioux, Crow, and Arikara scouts with whom he worked. He was transferred to Fort Sill, Indian Territory in 1889. From 1891 to 1893, he commanded Troop L of the Seventh Cavalry, an all-Indian troop that was comprised primarily of Kiowa men. He was an avocational ethnologist and compiled a small collection of Plains Indian material during his service in the West, including paintings and drawings by Silver Horn. In 1911, he published illustrations from this collection in "Notes on the Kado, or Sun Dance of the Kiowa", which appeared in American Anthropologist.
NAA MS 4252
Many of the Sun Dance images are published with explanations in:
Scott, Hugh L. "Notes on the Kado, or Sun Dance of the Kiowa," American Anthropologist 13, no. 3 (1911): 345-79.
Several of the Saynday images are published with associated stories in Saynday Was Coming Along...Silverhorn's Drawings of the Kiowa Trickster, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Candace Greene and Frederick Reuss, 1993.
Works of art
MS 4252 Military target record book containing drawings by Silver Horn and others and a pictorial diary by Silver Horn, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Papers document General William Babcock Hazen's military career, primarily through correspondence, photographs, and publications.
Scope and Contents:
The General William Babcock Hazen Collection, 1856-1905, consists of approximately four cubic feet of material. Collection materials include biographical, correspondence (military and family), documents on the Greely Arctic Expedition, photographs, stereographs, and material on General Hazen's book, A Narrative of Military Service.
This collection is divided into six series.
Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1885-1867
Series 2, Correspondence and Military Forms 1856-1886 and undated
Series 3, Correspondence to General William Babcock Hazen, 1861-1887
Series 4, Correspondence of Hazen Family, 1858-1909
Series 5, Photographs, 1864-1881
Series 6, Publications, 1865-1886
Biographical / Historical:
General William Babcock Hazen was born September 27, 1830 in West Hartford, Vermont. Four years later, the family moved to a farm outside Hiram, Portage County, Ohio where he attended school with James A. Garfield. Hazen's goal was service in the Army, and he wrote his congressman for admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Hazen graduated in 1855, twenty-eighth out of a class of thirty-four.
After graduation, General Hazen was assigned as Brevet Second Lieutenant, Company D, Fourth Infantry, Redding, California. After arriving in California, he was ordered to Fort Lane in the Oregon Territory. Lieutenant Hazen was authorized to establish a command at Grand Ronde and build a blockhouse that became the post Fort Yamhill, located west of Portland, Oregon. On April 20, 1857, he was transferred to Fort Jones, California, and then ordered to join the Eighth Infantry, Fort Davis, Texas. Hazen was transferred to Fort Inge, Texas, to protect a road from San Antonio to Eagle Pass. During a chase, Hazen was wounded by a bullet that was not removed. The lingering effect of the bullet wound would cause him frequent pain.
During the period of service in Texas, Hazen reportedly gained leadership experience, practical military knowledge, and considerable confidence in his own abilities. Following twelve months of convalescence, Hazen was nominated assistant instructor of military tactics at West Point on January 28, 1861. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on April 1861 and captain on May 14, 1861. Colonel James A. Garfield influenced the appointment of Hazen as colonel in command of the newly organized forty-first Ohio Volunteer Regiment. Hazen quickly transformed the regiment's inexperienced personnel into a firmly disciplined body. The intensive training paid large dividends later in the war, and he always held the regiment in high regard.
As brigade and division commander, General Hazen led troops in many important battles and campaigns: Shiloh (Place of Peace), Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Atlanta, Resaca, Picketts Mill, Jonesboro, Fort McAllister, and Bentonville. On December 13, 1864, Hazen was appointed a major general of volunteers in recognition of long and faithful service and the capture of Fort McAllister. It was after the performance of his troops at Fort McAllister that a friendly relationship developed with General William T. Sherman. With the capitulation of the Confederate armies in spring of 1865, Hazen's division and the Army of the Tennessee left North Carolina where they saw their last fighting. The destination was Washington, D.C., site of a two-day grand review of the victorious Union Armies. On May 19, 1865 Hazen was elevated to commander of the Fifteenth Corps. After a thirty day furlough, he held command of the District of Middle Tennessee until the following summer. In July 1866, Hazen returned west.
In August 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant granted Hazen indefinite leave to observe the Franco-Prussian War. He viewed several battles and personally interviewed Otto von Bismarck and General Helmut von Moltke. Observations and research convinced Hazen that the United States Army was mismanaged and lacked tactical and logistical organization.
Before returning to the Sixth Infantry command, Hazen married Mildred McLean, the twenty-one year-old daughter of prominent Cincinnati Enquirer owner Washington McLean. A son John was born in 1876, but died at the age of twenty-two in 1898.
In June 1877, Hazen was appointed military attaché to the United States Legation in Vienna, Austria, and assigned as military observer of the Russo-Turkish War that had started in April 1877.
In 1878 Colonel Stanley accused Colonel Hazen of perjury and cowardice in the Civil War and requested a court-martial. Colonel Hazen retaliated by formally requesting that Stanley be arraigned by a court-martial on charges of publishing and circulating libelous material against him. On March 19, 1879, General Sherman reluctantly recommended that both generals be arraigned by the same court-martial. The New York Tribune reported "inasmuch as by the decisions of the court-martial Hazen has secured a substantial vindication." Hazen returned to Fort Buford.
While on detached service in Washington, D.C., Hazen actively campaigned for James A. Garfield for president. On August 24, 1880, General Albert James Myer, Chief of the Army Signal Corps, died, opening up a staff position subject to presidential appointment. President Rutherford B. Hayes, after consulting with President-elect Garfield, announced the promotion of Hazen to the rank of brigadier general and appointment as chief signal officer. One of Hazen's lasting legacies in this new role was advancing the development of meteorological science in the Army Signal Corps.
In May 1880, Lady Franklin Bay in northern Canada was chosen as the site for a signal service polar station, one of several conducted by eleven nations for the first International Polar Year (1882-1883). The initial two-year expedition set out in 1881 under the command of Regular Army First Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely, a Civil War veteran from Massachusetts. The twenty-five man party did not get relief from the long winter in 1882, and a second rescue attempt was disrupted by ice. In September 1883, Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln, decided it was too late to send another relief party and they were left to spend a third winter in the Arctic. The demoralized party was forced to march south in search of supplies and landed at Cape Sabine, spending the next eight months in desperate circumstances. In June 1884, rescuers finally reached them and found only Greely and seven others alive. The remaining expedition members froze or starved to death.
Hazen never forgave Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln for his inaction with the Greely Arctic Expedition, and in 1884 Lincoln censured Hazen for his criticism. Hazen replied to Lincoln by letter, which was returned with a warning to keep the matter private. Hazen went to the press and stated in a published account that he wrote such a letter. He immediately found himself ordered before another court-martial, resulting in a reprimand by President Chester A. Arthur for "unwarranted and captious criticism." Greely supported Hazen's position. In 1885, Hazen produced A Narrative of Military Service, a report devoted to the defense of his Civil War record and personal reputation.
Health problems-diabetes and recurring pain from his bullet wound-forced Hazen to obtain a 12-month leave of absence from his military service. On January 13, 1887, he attended a White House reception where he caught a cold. He died on January 16, 1887, at the age of fifty-six.
In 1985, the Smithsonian received from the Estate of Fredrick McLean Bugher, grandnephew of General Hazen's wife Mildred McLean Hazen, manuscripts and letters concerning General Hazen. Part of the collection was rescued by a private individual from a Lorton, Virginia land fill and sold to the Smithsonian in 1987 in two sections. The first section contained material about the career of General William Babcock Hazen as chief signal officer of the United States Army. The second section contained manuscript materials related to Hazen's duties on the frontier and Indian tribes covering the period of 1855 to 1860, and from 1866 to 1880. Also included are family letters and land holdings in the Midwest.
Collection is open for research.
Rights situation uncertain, but most of the collection is probably in the public domain due to its age.
Arctic regions -- Discovery and exploration -- 1880-1890 Search this
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