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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 3. John Sanford Barnes (1822-1915)

Scope and Content

The collection includes Barnes' journals as a midshipman and later in his naval career, manuscripts on naval engagements, tactics, prizes for salvage operations during the Civil War blockades, correspondence and clippings, condolence notes to his widow, a family genealogy he prepared, organizational membership certificates and Army and Navy commissions issued to him and other family members, his handwritten list of the latter documents, and two scrapbooks documenting naval and family-related topics. The genealogy includes mention of a Sanford relative, Henrietta Emmerson, who was the owner of Dred Scott, the decision in whose case determined that African-Americans were not citizens and which negated the Missouri Compromise. Because Emmerson was a minor at the time, Scott's suit in 1857 was brought against her uncle, John Francis Alexander Sanford.

The 1908 printed Foreword to a collection of Barnes's letters to his wife includes details of his life and naval service; the letter collection is not included in the series.

Barnes's father General James Barnes's commissions are signed by Presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and Abraham Lincoln; his own by Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan; his father-in-law Thomas Hayes's by William Henry Harrison; and his uncle Henry Bainbridge's by James Monroe, James Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Millard Fillmore. His autobiography is handwritten and was privately produced; it is inscribed from Mrs. John Sanford Barnes to the Barnes's daughter Charlotte Adams Barnes (Mrs. Edward Shelton Martin), who presented it to the New-York Historical Society in 1961.

Portions of this collection relating to the Civil War have been digitized and are available to on-site researchers and to users affiliated with subscribing institutions via EBSCOhost.

Biographical Note

The son of General James Barnes (see Series 2), John S. Barnes was born at West Point, NY, in 1836. He entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis at age 14, serving after his graduation on Preble, and under Commodore Stewart on  San Jacinto in Europe and the West Indies, and on  Saratoga. He was aboard  Arctic when it participated in the first survey for the original Atlantic cable in 1856. The following year, aged 21, he was appointed assistant professor of ethics at the Naval Academy, and after a subsequent year in private business he was appointed master of  Jamestown. In 1858 he resigned his commission and attended law school in Albany, New York, practicing until 1861. During the Civil War, he served initially as navigator of  Wabash, and later as commander of  Dawn,  Paul Jones,  Lenape, and  Bat. In 1863 he married Susan Bainbridge Hayes, granddaughter of Commodore William Bainbridge (see Series 1) and great-grandniece of Admiral John Barry (see Series 5). After the War, he served as commander of the Naval Academy's practice ships  Marblehead and  Savannah, as an instructor at the Academy, and wrote "Submarine Warfare": the first major work on the use of torpedoes.

From 1869 to 1880 he was in private business and began devoting time to collecting memorabilia of the Navy during the Revolution and War of 1812. He served as the first President of the Naval History Society and edited the first volume of its publications, "The Log Books of the Serapis,  Alliance, and  Ariel," before his death in 1911. His manuscript collections and library formed the basis of the Naval History Society's collections, and were donated to the Society in 1915, by his son Col. James Barnes (see Series 4).

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 "Naval tactics as used in boatsailing, under Capt. Craven at the Naval Academy - 1852-1853 - drawn by Actg. Mid. John S. Barnes"
1852-1853
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Port Royal journal
1862
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence related to prize and salvage awards for blockading squadron
1863-1869
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Washington inauguration centennial: programs
1889 April 29, 30
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Washington inuaguration centennial: invitations
1889 April 29 - May 1
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Membership certificate, Naval Order of the United States
1899 May 11
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Program: Exercises at installation of memorial tablet to Admiral Richard Worsam Meade
1901 May 27, 30
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Barnes family genealogy
1907
Box: 1 Folder : 9 List of commissions from John Sanford Barnes's collection
[1907]
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Foreword to "Extracts from the private letters of John S. Barnes to his wife Susan Bainbridge Barnes"
1908 June
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Clippings about Mt. Vernon; photo of Epping Forest home of Washington's mother, Mary Ball
1908, 1912, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Correspondence with I.N. Phelps Stokes and Walter Gillis about New York images; photocopies of images
1911 April 30, May 3
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Condolences to Mrs. Barnes
1911
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Removal notice: from Miss Charlotte A. Barnes, 10 E. 79th street, to Aeolian Hall
1915 November 8
Box: 1 Folder : 15 "Evening Star," "Nautical College" manuscripts
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 16 List of blockade runners, 1861-1863
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Bookplate
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 17 From envelope marked "John Sanford Barnes Memorabilia": assorted clippings
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Invitations
Undated
Box: OS 2 Folder : 1 Military commissions of Henry Bainbridge
1822, 1827, 1847, 1848, 1852
Box: OS 2 Folder : 2 Military commissions of James Barnes
1830, 1836, 1864, 1866
Box: OS 3 Folder : 1 Appointment of Thomas Hayes as naval agent
1841 March 16
Box: OS 3 Folder : 2 Naval commissions
1854, 1856, 1858
Box: OS 1 Folder : 2 Appointment of James Barnes as Colonel, Massachusetts 18th Regiment volunteers
1861 July 26
Box: OS 2 Folder : 3 Membership certificate: Military Order of the Loyal Legion
1866 Feb 9
Volume: 1 Journal, voyages aboard Saratoga,   San Jacinto,  Arctic
1854-1856
Volume: 2 Journal
1861-1862
Volume: 3 Scrapbook
1901-1902
Volume: 4 "The Egotistigraphy of a Rolling Stone, that gathered Moss, herein scraped off for the information and amusement of his family", by John Sanford Barnes
1910
Volume: 5 Scrapbook
Undated [after 1885]

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