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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 11. James Fenimore Cooper (1890)

Scope and Content

The series consists of James Fenimore Cooper's "The history of the Navy of the United States," originally published in two volumes in 1839, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes (see Series 3) into an eight-volume version with the addition of 427 portraits, 343 prints, 154 autograph letters signed, 32 maps, 23 broadsides, 10 signed documents, and 11 original water color sketches and portraits. It is accompanied by original and carbon typescripts of Barnes's lists of the extra illustrations, a manuscript notebook index of the additions, and a folder of photoreproductions.

Among the autographed letters included are those of John Barry (see Series 5), Cooper himself, John Hancock, Commodore Bainbridge (Series 1), Isaac Hull (Series 27), David Porter, and Commodore Perry (Series 36), all of whom are represented elsewhere in the Naval History Society Collection. The illustrations document all the major naval battles, ships, and persons mentioned in Cooper's work.

Historical Note

The practice of adding printed, manuscript, and visual materials as well as associated ephemera to previously published volumes probably began with James Granger's 1769 publication of "Biographical History of England," in which leaves were left blank specifically for the insertion of portraits by the purchaser. So-called extra-illustration reached its peak in the late 19th century as an organizational and collecting paradigm. An extra-illustrated volume very much reflects the collector and his or her interests, serving as a repository in the form of a cabinet of curiosities in which to display a wide range of associated, however remote, materials. Contemporary descriptions of extra-illustrated volumes often stress the volume of materials added as well as their quality, a significant expansion of the original being a virtue. Cooper's "History" provides a perfect setting for the physical manifestation of Barnes's lifelong interest in naval history and memorabilia, citing as it does every major naval engagement and personality. This work, when considered together with the Miscellaneous Manuscripts (Series 52), US Navy: Officer's autograph letters (Series 44), and John Paul Jones collections (Series 28), provides material evidence of Barnes's passion for collecting and its meticulous documentation.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

A bound version of the handwritten illustration list (originally from the Naval History Society Collection) titled "Catalogue of the extra illustrations, print, and manuscripts added by Captain James Sanford Barnes, U.S.N., to James Fenimore Cooper's History of the Navy of the United States, extending it to eight volumes" is available in the Reading Room. It lists the added materials, by page number, throughout the eight volumes and is indexed alphabetically by volume.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 List of portraits from extra-illustrated "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper; original typescript and carbon
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Extra-illustrations from "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper; index book
Undated
Box: OS 1 Folder : 5 Photostats from extra-illustrated "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper
Undated
Volume: 1, part I "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 1, part II "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 1, part III "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 1, part IV "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 2, part I "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 2, part II "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 2, part III "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890
Volume: 2, part IV "History of the Navy of the United States" by James Fenimore Cooper, extra-illustrated by John Sanford Barnes
1890

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