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Guide to the Naval History Society Collection
1721-1995 (bulk 1781-1936)
  MS 439

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 29, 2018
Description is in English.

Container List

Series 1. William Bainbridge (1815-1856)

Scope and Content

The collection consists of a manuscript and notebook detailing the outfitting of a 44-gun frigate, including required sails, furniture, medicines, and other supplies; and manuscripts of two biographies of Bainbridge. James Fenimore Cooper's biography was printed in his "Lives of distinguished American naval officers" in 1846, and in Graham's Magazine, in November, 1892. The Dearborn manuscript was the basis for James Barnes's edited version, "The life of William Bainbridge, esq. of the United States Navy, by H. A. S. Dearborn, 1816," published by Princeton University Press in 1931, and distributed to members of the Naval History Society in 1932.

The Cooper manuscript is available on microfilm.

Biographical Note

Born in 1774, Bainbridge commanded ships in the West Indies, capturing French privateers, and against the Barbary Powers in the Mediterranean. While commanding the 44-gun frigate Philadelphia, the ship foundered and he was captured and imprisoned in Tripoli for 19 months. After his release in 1805, Bainbridge made various naval and merchant marine voyages to India and Russia, returning to the United States as hostilities increased with England. As commander of  Constitution, he captured the British frigate  Java on December 29, 1812, during which engagement he was wounded twice. He subsequently had various commands and shore assignments and served as Naval Commissioner from 1824-1827 and from 1829-1831. His command of the Charlestown Navy Yard was curtailed by illness in November, 1832. He died in Philadelphia in 1833 and is buried in Christ Church there.

John Sanford Barnes was Bainbridge's grandson-in-law: his wife, Susan Bainbridge Hayes, was the daughter of Commodore Bainbridge's daughter, Sarah Bainbridge Hayes.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Manuscripts related to American 44-gun frigates
1815 (?), 1907
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Notebooks related to American 44-gun frigates
Undated
Volume: 1 The Life of William Bainbridge, Esq., United States Navy; manuscript by Henry A.S. Dearborn
1816
Volume: 2 The Life of Commodore William Bainbridge, U.S.N.; manuscript by James Fenimore Cooper
1846

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