Contents and Arrangement

Letter to Roswell Lamson from Sallie M. Barry, 1868 June

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of Lamson's correspondence, diaries (1864, 1870, 1887), photographs, documents, memorabilia, and printed matter. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence between Lamson and his wife, Kate Buckingham Lamson; letters to him by his mother, cousins, father, J. Lamson (in Oregon), and grandfather, Roswell Hawks; and copies in letterbooks of letters he wrote to them. Much of this correspondence covers the years he was a lieutenant and, later, captain during the Civil War (1861-1865) serving on several ships including the Wabash, Stepping Stones, and Gettysburg, and contains descriptions of military operations and naval encounters with the Confederate forces. There is also a notebook of naval terms with definitions and explanations kept by Lamson while a midshipman at Annapolis.

Lamson served on multiple ships during the Civil War, including the USS Wabash from May 1861 to May 1862; the USS Plant, the US Gunboat E.B. Hale, and the USS Pawnee during the months May to December 1862; the USS Louisiana, the USS Minnesota, the USS Washington, the USS Stepping Stones, the USS Teaser, the USS Brandywine, the USS Commodore Barry, and the USS Nansemond during the year 1863; and the USS Gettysburg, the US Flagship Malvern, the USS Stepping Stone, the USS Delaware, and the USS Agawan during the year 1864. Lamson's letters describe blockade runner chases, skirmishes and battles (including a battle off Hilton Head Battery in November 1861 and the fight for Fort Fisher in December 1864 to January 1865 ), fifteen escaped slaves arriving on board the USS Wabash in May 1862, and the capture of the Confederate Steamer Margaret and Jessie.

Collection History

Custodial History:

The papers were given to Princeton ca. 1973 by Donald Shea, Roswell Lamson's great grandson. According to Prof. James M. McPherson, the Lamson papers passed through the family to Donald Shea's maternal aunt, Helen Renaud Hutchinson. She was the daugher of Helen Lamson Renaud, Roswell Lamson's fourth child (born March 24, 1880), and the only one who had children, one of whom was Jeanne Renaud Shea, Donald Shea's mother. Helen Renaud Hutchinson gave the papers to Donald Shea who later donated them to Princeton University Library. Neither Donald Shea nor anyone else in his family, going back to Roswell Lamson himself, had any connection with Princeton.

Archival Appraisal Information:

No material was separated during 2013 processing.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Letter to Roswell Lamson from Sallie M. Barry; Roswell H. Lamson Papers, C0475, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 2