Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060
Scope and Content Note
The correspondence found in this collection relates to the creation of a memorial to Rear Admiral Willard H. Brownson. Painter Charles R. Patterson was approached by Caroline Hart, daughter of Admiral Brownson, and her mother to produce a mural at the U.S. Naval Academy dedicated to the Admiral. The collection includes letters touching on every stage of the mural's development, including Caroline Hart's initial letter to Patterson asking him to do the painting, selection of a subject, critiques of initial sketches, and plans for the unveiling.
As planning progressed, an increasing number of people became involved. Captain F.A. Todd and Admiral David F. Sellers represented the Academy in the discussions, and Captain Dudley Knox suggested possible topics, proposing the 1799 engagement between Constellation and the French frigate L'Insurgente as a fitting companion piece to Patterson's "Constitution and Java," located in the same room. Caroline's husband, Admiral Thomas C. Hart, and Admiral L.C. Palmer provided support and guidance for the project.
The correspondence is divided into two groups. Much of Charles Patterson's correspondence consists of outgoing letters written by the artist. The Thomas and Caroline Hart correspondence is mostly letters received by the couple. Both the Patterson letters and the Hart letters are arranged chronologically.
Completing the collection is a photocopied photograph showing the finished mural.
This collection should be cited as Papers of Charles R. Patterson, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
0.2 cubic feet
3 July 2003