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Captain Robin I. Davidson, USN

An Inventory of Original Letters, Documents and Photographs


Overview of the Collection

Repository: Navy Department Library
Creator: Robin I. Davidson
Title: Robin I. Davidson Collection
Dates: 1775-1985 (Inclusive)
Dates: 1775-1929 (Bulk)
Abstract: Misc. letters, documents and photographs about the USN accumulated by Mr. Davidson.
Language: The records are in English.



Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of personal letters and miscellaneous documents from the War of Independence through the American Civil War acquired by Captain Davidson. The collection also includes a number or prints and autographs of famous naval personalities of the Civil War. The post-Civil War material contains an interesting letter from Alfred Thayer Mahan concerning the review of his book The War of 1812, several ships' newspapers published in the early years of the 20th century, and a small collection of ships' menus from the same era. One of the most notable items (No. 103) is the menu from the US Flagship Kearsarge, at Kiel, Germany, for 27 June 1903 signed by Kaiser Wilhelm. The post 1927 material consists of postal covers, ephemera and souvenirs.

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The material is arranged into seven series: Original Letters, Documents, and Prints Relating to the US Navy, 1775-1860; Original Letters and Documents from the Civil War, 1861-1865, Images, Autographs, and Misc. Items from the Civil War, 1861-1865; Misc. Letters, Photographs, and Autographs, 1866-1899; Misc. Letters, Ships' Newspapers, and Souvenirs from the US Navy, 1900-1985; Ships' Menus, Postal Covers and Ephemera, 1915-1945; and the manuscript "Porter's First Cruise in the Essex."

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Detailed Description of the Collection


Original Letters, Documents, and Prints Relating to the US Navy, 1775-1860
    Giles Hall, Paymaster Brigantine Minerva
      Autograph document dated 19 August 1775. Pay order for 230 pounds charged to the account of the Colony of Connecticut, signed by the Committee: Thos. Seymour, Ez. Williams, Oliv. Williams at Hartford.
    Jonathan Knight, Surgeon's Mate
      Autograph document dated 19 February 1781. Request for payment of wages 1778-1780.
    James Wilson Knight
      Autograph document dated 19 March 1778. Letter of administration appointing Wilson administrator of affairs for Robert Wilson, landsman Saratoga. Signed by James Wilson, John King and James Baxter.
    Hanna, Sloop
      Autograph document dated 9 November 1795. Invoice of cargo consigned to Jos. Finek, Master of Georgia.
    Sam Lewis
      Autograph document dated 1796. Account of rents for the accommodation of public stores in Philadelphia for the year 1796.
    John M. Garnier, Commander HMS Hawke
      Autograph letter dated 27 October 1800. Circular letter for guarantee enforcement to American vessels entering Bassteme[sp?] Roads, St. Kitts.
    William Eaton
      Autograph letter dated 20 July 1806, addressed to Miss Sarah Danielson.
    Ludlow, [?]. Lieutenant, USN
      Unsigned document having to do with Lieutenant Ludlow's resignation from the Navy.
    David Porter letter to Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton, dated 20 July 1812.
    G.W. Rogers
      Autograph note dated 1 July 1815, requesting material to repair sails and hammock cloths for the brigFirefly.
    Reuben Folger. Lieutenant, USN
      Autograph document dated 24 June 1820. Declaration of naval service in American Revolution.
    Usher Parsons. Surgeon, USN
      Autograph letter dated 30 November 1820, addressed to Thomas Asfrinwald[sp?], US Consul, London.
    Benjamin Brown.
      Autograph letter dated 9 June 1821, certifying the service of Emmanuel Switzer during the War of Independence.
    Storekeeper's requisition, Navy Yard Washington, 14 January 1823.
    Bainbridge letter to William Jones, dated 28 January 1826.
    Porter letter to Wm. Sicard, dated 27 January 1829.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to D. D. Moorehead, dated 14 July 1830.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 23 May 1832.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 16 August 1832
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 7 January 1833.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 8 January 1833.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 12 November 1833.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 29 April 1833.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 17 May 1833.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 22 May 1835.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 23 January 1836.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 22 April 1836.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 26 October 1836.
    Navy Commissioner's Office letter to Commodore James Barron, dated 29 October 1836.
    Charles Wilkes to H. Whipple, 17 August 1836.
    Paulding letter to Commodore Charles Steward, 28 December 1838.
    Charles Sumner to Lieutenant Charles Davis, 30 January 1842.
    US Navy check made payable to Lieutenant Tunis A. Graven, dated 1 May 1844.
    US Navy check made payable to Chas. Stewart, dated 1 December 1858.
    Returns of Punishments in the Navy, Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 27 July 1848.
    Daniel Jones' letter to his wife, dated 27 August 1852.
    J. Dobbins letter, dated 8 March 1854.
    J. Dobbins letter, dated 12 October 1857.
    J. Toucy [sp?] to D. Jones, dated 23 March 1857.
    M. F. Maury letter to R. Holt, dated 7 February 1860.
    Sister letter, dated 23 August 1860.
    Captain Jones' letter to wife, dated 26 August 1860.
    David Porter autograph note, dated 6 April 1821, authorizing payment of twenty dollars to In. Graff[sp?].
    John Rogers, autograph circa 1830.
    David Porter, published print.
    Charles Wilkes, published print.
Original Letters and Documents from the Civil War, 1861-1865
  Brief note from unidentified officer of the US Steam Frigate Minnesota, dated Friday, 15 January [?].
  Letter from Daniel Jones, US Steamer Brooklyn to his wife, dated 11 January 1861.
  Letter from Gideon Welles to Major William B. Flack dated 1 May 1862, authorizing expenditures for barracks repairs at Brooklyn, NY and Portsmouth, NH
  Telegraph message from Lieutenant Commander Samuel Magan (USS Yankee, side wheel steamer) to Commodore Harwood, Navy Yard, confirming receipt of dispatch regarding protection of Army stores, dated 13 December 1862.
  Henry S. Newcomb (commander on board USS Tioga), paymaster allotment document assigning $120.00 per month to pay for the support of his family, dated 5 October 1863.
  Letter from unidentified crew member of US Gunboat Romeo (Sternwheel Ironclad No. 3 on the Yazoo River) (signed Daniel) to his mother, dated 25 December 1863.
  General Order No. 20 dated 6 October 1863, declaring forfeiture of prize money, which would have been awarded the captain of the steamer Susquehanna, John A. Chauncey in the case of schooners, Prince Alfred and San Juan.
  Discharge from Naval Service of Walter H. Smith, Recruit No. 15098, dated 28 July 1864. Signed by John A. Bates, Paymaster and Charles Green, Captain, USS Ohio.
  General Order No. 246 from the Adjutant General's Office, War Department, dated 13 August 1864, ordering that the rules and regulations for preventing collisions on the water issued by the Navy Department to immediately be adopted by all vessels owned or charted by the US Army.
  Letter from Admiral W. B. Shubrick to Commodore Harwood, dated 30 August 1864.
  Voucher for clothing issued to the 1st Division on board the US Steamer Yankee for the month of December 1864.
  Ration table issued by the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing, 16 December 1864.
  General Order No. 46 issued by the Navy Department on 5 January 1865, specifying results and punishments of various court martials.
  USS E.R. Hale, "Final Return of Small Stores for the Cruise Commencing 27 January 1863 and Ending 15 April 1865."
  Letter from Daniel (unidentified patient at Massachusetts General Hospital) to his mother, dated 9 June 1865.
  United States Flagship Hartford, "Routine Signals in General Use" (page from signal book).
Images, Autographs, and Misc. Items from the Civil War, 1861-1865
  Biographical data and illustrated print of Rear Admiral Andrew Hull Foote.
  George Bancroft: Autograph and engraved print.
  John A. Dahlgren: Autograph and engraved print.
  David D. Porter: Autograph and engraved print.
  John A. Winslow: Autographs and photograph.
  Miscellaneous autographs: Jn. P. Jones; John A. Dix; John Watson, RADM; Jos. Smith, RADM; Jos. Smith, COMM; Ch. Steedman; Ch. Steedman (2nd copy); Richard Wainwright, LT CMDR; F. Engle, COMM; W. Shubrish RADM; F. H. Misscay, LT COMDR; H. C. Taylor, RADM; S. B. Luce, RADM; John Sherman.
  Photographs: Gideon Welles, Commodore Paulding, Admiral Foot[e].
  Three unidentified photographs of high-ranking naval officers.
  Petty officer sleeve rank insignia purchased from unused naval stores.
Misc. Letters, Photographs, and Autographs, 1866-1899
  Invitation from the commander and ward room officers of USS Potomac for a reception on board to be held on 10 November (no year stated).
  Letter written from USS Vermont dated 26[?] February 1887.
  Orders for Ensign H. G. Doesel [sp?] to report to the commander of the monitor Passaic for duty, dated 3 September 1889.
  Photograph, memorabilia and clippings related to George B. Meek who was one of the first men killed in the Spanish-American War on 11 May 1898.
  Letter from Alfred. J. Mahan [signed A. J. Mahan] to Judge Bartlett, dated 21 December 1898, expressing his regrets and inability to come to dinner.
  Letter from Alfred J. Mahan [signed A. J. Mahan] to Mr. Whusin [sp?] in reply to his letter dated 30 June (no year given).
  Letter from Alfred J. Mahan to the editor of the Spectator concerning the review published in the 23 December issue of his book "War of 1812."
  Letter addressed to Mr. Karinball, signature illegible.
  Photograph of USS Boston at anchor, circa 1885.
  Photograph of USS Bennington alongside pier, circa 1891.
  Photograph of USS Charleston at anchor, circa 1885.
  Photograph of USS New York at anchor, no date.
  Photograph of USS Maine at anchor, no date.
  Photograph of USS Philadelphia at anchor, circa 1887.
  Photograph of USS Santee in full dress alongside a pier.
  Photograph of unidentified three-masted gunboat, circa 1883
  Photograph of unidentified yacht or gunboat.
  Photograph of Asst. Surgeon J.W. Baker, USN taken in 1882
  Soap Card photograph of Robley D. Evans, Captain, USN.
  Soap Card photograph of Richmond P. Hobson, Naval Constructor, USN.
  George Dewey, autographs with picture.
  Autographs: R. D. Evans, Captain USN; R. P. Hobson; W. S. Schley; George Dewey; John D. Long; W.S. Schley.
  Souvenir [paper napkin?] of launching of the Ammen Ram. Filed in oversize cabinet.
  Zerega, Alfdre L. G. "The Last Days of the Rebel Iron-Clad Merrimac and Occupation of Norfolk, As Seen from the USSSusquehanna," Read at the meeting of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Commandery of the District of Columbia, 3 February, 1897. Filed in Navy Library pamphlet collection.
Misc. Letters, Ships' Newspapers, and Souvenirs from the US Navy, 1900-1985
  Letter from Wm. Sampson to John F. Fizgerald dated 26 January 1901, thanking him for sending the House Naval Appropriation Bill.
  Letter from R. E. Peary, USN to Prof. Henry A. Ward, dated 29 January 1903.
  Menu: US Flagship Kearsarge, Kiel, 27 June 1903, signed by Kaiser Wilhelm.
  Letter from George Dewey to Mr. Moody, dated 28 January 1905.
  Letter from Admiral Jellicoe to Mr. Close, dated 16 March 1922.
  Poem by Wm. Suies [sp?], dated 31 September 1929.
  Telegram form, United States Asiatic Fleet, Office of the Commander-in-Chief, Flagship Ohio.
  Stationary, Hotel Metropole, Tokyo, Japan.
  The Buckeye, USS Ohio, Asiatic Station, Manila, PI, August 1905.
  The Optimist, USS Connecticut, Christmas, December 1910.
  Our Flagship, [USS Wyoming, flagship U.S. Atlantic Fleet], Vol. 1., No. 2 (February 1913).
  The Missourian, Navy Day, October 27, 1945.
  Souvenir Program of USS Wasp, Navy Day, 1945.
  Photograph of USS Ranger, circa 1935.
  Signed photograph of Chester W. Nimitz.
  Autograph: R. A. Spruance.
  Thank you card with envelope signed by ADM Donitz, dated 24 January 1972.
  US Naval Institute Annual Meeting, 1985, booklet signed by Arleigh Burke.
Ship's Menus, Postal Covers, and Ephemera, 1915-1946
  Color postcard USS Rhode Island, dated 21 September 1915.
  Color postcard USS New York, dated 3 December 1915.
  Color postcard USS Virginia, postmarked 29 February 1916.
  Navy Song Book. Washington, DC: Navy Department, 1919.
  Program for Grand Naval Ball at the Alhambra, Bordeaux, France given by USS Isherwood and USS Case, 7 May 1927.
  Menu: USS Raleigh Thanksgiving Dinner, Hong Kong, 30 November 1905.
  Menu: USS Case Christmas Day, 25 December 1926, Villefranche, France.
  Menu: USS Case Christmas Day, 25 December 1927, Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia.
  Menu: USS Case Thanksgiving Dinner, 1929, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  Menu: US Navy Receiving Station, Boston, Massachusetts, Christmas Dinner, 1942.
  Postal cover: First Christmas USS Cuttlefish, 25 December 1934.
  Postal cover: Yangtze Patrol Navy Mail Club postmarked 13 February 1935.
  Postal cover: USS Dewy, DD 349, postmarked day of launching 28 July 1941.
  Un-addressed envelope postmarked 12 January 1942.
  Postal cover: Drydock Training Center, Tiburon, California, 10 August 1943.
  Postal cover: USS Dorado postmarked 28 August 1943.
  Postal cover: USS Greenfish keel laying, postmarked 29 June 1944.
  Postal cover: Commissioning of USS Mapiro No. 376, Manitowoc Wisconsin, 30 April 1945.
  Postal cover: Commissioning Day USS Mero No. 378, dated 17 August 1945.
  Postal cover: USS Salamaua, postmarked 1 March 1946.
  USO post card.
"Porters First Cruise In the Essex"
  Type written manuscript by Robin I. Davidson.




Restrictions on Use

Manuscripts are unavailable for loan and must be consulted in the library. Photocopying of manuscripts is generally prohibited, though the use of digital cameras by researchers to reproduce non-copyrighted materials is permitted. Permission to photocopy a limited number of pages may be granted by the reference staff, contingent upon the physical state of items. All photocopying of materials shall be done by the reference staff, or under their close supervision. The use of personal scanners by non-library staff personnel must be approved by the reference staff on a document-by-document basis (Reference: Naval History and Heritage Command Instruction [NAVHISTCENTINST] 5070.1C.).

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Personal Subject:


Robin I. Davidson


Subject Term:


Civil War, 1861-1865

United States Navy--Officers


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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Historical Manuscripts, Navy Department Library, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington DC, Robin I. Davidson Collection.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Thomas Wildenberg in April 2004.

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Published: Mon Nov 23 14:14:06 EST 2020