Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Philadelphia Navy Yard Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes and 0.6 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2


Consists chiefly of official correspondence and a few documents related to the operations of the Philadelphia Navy Yard starting in the 1830s and leading up to the Civil War.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists chiefly of official correspondence and a few documents related to the operations of the Philadelphia Navy Yard starting in the 1830s and leading up to the Civil War. The collection numbers over 500 letters and orders written by personnel of various U.S. Navy Department bureaus and its Commissioner's Office to commanders of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, providing a very clear picture of the function of the various bureaus in the construction and outfitting of naval ships. The correspondence deals with personnel enlistments, desertions, and recruitments; with accounts, purchase contracts, inventories, general supplies and provisions, as well as supplies needed for the construction and repair of ships such as copper and oak; and with authorizations to pay contractors and orders for the transfer of men or weapons from Philadelphia to the New York or Norfolk Navy Yards. It also includes specifications for the construction of gun carriages, the application of steam to naval sailing vessels, and directions for supplying the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. There is correspondence with detailed information about the construction of the USS Princeton, which was supervised by Capt. Robert F. Stockton, and the construction of the frigate Wabash. Also present are specifications and drawings for adding steam to the frigate Raritan. Other ships mentioned are the Jamestown, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Mississippi, Susquehanna, St. Mary, Trenton Union, and Water Witch, the sloops of war Dale and Yorktown, the schooner Ann, the coast survey steamer Bibb, and the British barque Eleanor.

Commanders of the Navy Yard represented include William Bainbridge, James Barron, David Connor, Jesse D. Elliott, Samuel Humphrey, Charles Norris, George C. Read, John Rodgers, William Shubrick, Charles Stewart and Cornelius K. Stribling. Secretaries of the Navy and Assistants include Mahlon Dickerson, John Y. Mason, James K. Paulding, A. Thomas Smith, Abel Upsher, and Levi Woodbury, and Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, commandant of the New York Navy Yard.


The collection is organized into series by Bureau.

Collection History


Various AM including: Purchase, 1947 (AM 13318); Purchase, 1950 (AM 14214); Purchase, 1955 (AM 18124)

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2002. Finding aid written in 2002.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Philadelphia Navy Yard Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2