10,000 Items Catalogued (Cont.)


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In my last post, I said that the Library had just completed a massive cataloguing project of items related to the U.S. Steam Battery Monitor and the C.S. Ironclad Virginia. These items came from 59 different archival and research collections. Among them are extremely rare photographs collected by an early Monitor “groupie” in the 1880s by the name of Frank Pierce, letters from sailors aboard Monitor and from witnesses to the Battle of Hampton Roads, both Union and Confederate, unique plans and drawings of Monitor, and receipts from vendors for materials used in her construction. There are also research notes of people who did important historical work on the two ironclads and genealogical work on their officers and crew. Here, then, is an annotated summary of some of the collections we have catalogued. Enjoy!

Virginia's ram
Virginia‘s ram

  • MS0006, Elwin Eldredge Collection on John H. Morrison – Research notes on the development of armored vessels, including great manuscript sketches of Virginia‘s bow.
  • MS0008, William de Rohan Papers – Admiral Dahlgren’s wayward brother whose concept drawings of turreted warships were part of the Zeitgeist that created Monitor.
  • MS0010, George S. Geer Family Papers – Wonderful letters to his wife Martha from Monitor, written from the enlisted man’s point of view.
  • MS0013, Isaac Newton Jr. Family Papers – Ranging collection of materials from the son of the founder of New York City’s Citizen’s Line of steamers, who became first engineer on Monitor.
  • MS0014, William Monegan Letters – Letters from this soldier of the 10th New York Volunteers who witnessed the Battle of Hampton Roads and other battles of the Peninsular Campaign.
  • MS0016, John L. Worden Collection – Document collection and stunning photograph album of the officers and crew of both Monitor and Virginia, put together by Frank Pierce.
William De Rohan ironclad design
William De Rohan ironclad design

  • MS0080, Samuel Gilbert Webber Letters and Sketch – Letters home to his sweetheart from the surgeon on the steamer Rhode Island, the ship that towed Monitor on its last voyage.
  • MS0334, Arthur B. Upshur Transcript of a John Cary Letter – Transcription of a letter from officer John B. Cary, probably of the 32nd Virginia Infantry, to his sister with details of the Battle of Hampton Roads from the Confederate viewpoint.
  • MS0335, Battery Associates Records on Monitor Design and Construction – Receipts for materials and payments kept by John Griswold, treasurer of the group of investors that, with John Ericsson, built the Monitor.
  • MS0363, Jacob Nicklis Family Letters – Small collection of letters to his father from a crewman who died on Monitor.
  • MS0376, Thomas F. Rowland Collection – Original plans and an original contract from the man whose company, Continental Works, built Monitor.
  • MS0385, Willie Anne Wright Photographs – Modern pinhole photography, some of which is abstract, of the Museum’s Monitor evocation and of re-enactors on her deck.
  • MS0555, Collection of Battle of Hampton Roads Ships Plans – Plans of Monitor, Merrimack and Virginia, including 3 original John Luke Porter plans of Virginia.
Martha Geer
Martha Geer

Thomas Fitch Rowland
Thomas Fitch Rowland

Monitor's deck, past/present, by Willie Anne Wright
Monitor‘s deck, past/present, by Willie Anne Wright

Monitor's Propeller
Monitor‘s Propeller

Concept drawing of what will become Virginia by J. L. Porter
Concept drawing of what will become Virginia by J. L. Porter

2 thoughts on “10,000 Items Catalogued (Cont.)”

  1. Samuel Gilbert was my great, great, great grand cousin and was the son of Samuel Webber President of Harvard University(1806-1810). Was Samuel Gilbert the nephew of my great, great, great grandfather Captain Nathaniel Webber?
    Thank You in advance for your reply, Sincerely, James D. Webber, Gloucester Point VA.

    1. Mr. Webber, I’m so glad you wrote in! We think Samuel Gilbert Webber was born July 24, 1838 in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Aaron D. and Maria (Gilbert) Webber. His grandfather on his father’s side was John Webber. He graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in 1860. Harvard awarded Webber his medical degree in 1865, based on his naval experience. He died in 1926. How he may be related to the Rev. Samuel Webber, DD is not known to me, unfortunately. Ancestry.com may!

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