Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Creator:
Storer, George Washington
Title:
George W. Storer Brazil Squadron Papers
Repository:
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/1n79h505f
Dates:
1817-1868
Size:
6 boxes and 1.9 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-5; B-001186
Language:
Spanish; Castilian English

Abstract

George W. Storer (1789-1864) served in the United States Navy for more than fifty years, including a term as commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron from 1847 to 1850, which, in part, was responsible for preventing American ships from transporting enslaved Africans. This collection documents much of George Washington Storer's long career in the United States Navy as captain, lieutenant, and commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron, and also offers a wide-ranging look at the role of the United States Navy, primarily during the 1830s and 1840s, as a peacekeeper and a deterrent to the slave trade.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Description:

This collection documents much of George Washington Storer's long career in the United States Navy as captain, lieutenant, and commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron. It also offers a wide-ranging look at American naval operations in South America in the mid-19th century and, in particular, the role of the United States Navy, primarily during the 1830s and 1840s, as a peacekeeper and a deterrent to the trade in enslaved Africans.

Materials documenting Storer's naval service as a lieutenant and captain from 1817 to 1845 consist of correspondence, ship information, and records pertaining to his service. Similar materials from 1847 to 1851 document Storer's duties as commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron and its role in suppressing the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the South Atlantic. Additional orders, court martials, correspondence, and records pertain to Storer's service as Governor of the Naval Asylum at Philadelphia and President of Court of Inquiry #3 from 1852 to 1858 during the later years of his naval career. There is also a small amount of personal and family papers of George W. Storer, Jacob J. Storer, Robert Storer, and Samuel Storer, which provide insights into the domestic aspects of Storer's life.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into four primary file groups corresponding to Storer's various roles.

Collection Creator Biography:

Storer, George Washington

George W. Storer (1789-1864) served in the United States Navy for more than fifty years, including a term as commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron from 1847 to 1850, which, in part, had the goal of preventing American ships from transporting enslaved Africans.

Born in 1789 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, George Washington Storer was the son of Samuel and Mary Storer. Legend has it that George Washington visited when he was a baby and stated that he hoped that Storer would be a better man than his namesake. Storer began his naval career in 1809 as a midshipman, but rose in rank to lieutenant in 1813, master-commandant in 1828, captain in 1837, and commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron in 1847, serving in that capacity until 1850. He commanded a ship named the U.S.S. Brandywine for over three years in the waters around Rio de Janeiro. Following his service in the Brazil Squadron, Storer was on leave of absence from 1851 to 1854, and then, from 1855 to 1857, served as governor of the Philadelphia Naval Asylum, the first government-funded hospital and home for elderly and destitute United States sailors. In 1857 he served as president of the Naval Court of Inquiry #3, which followed an 1855 act of Congress amending "An Act to Promote the Efficiency of the Navy," under which more than 200 naval officers were dismissed from duty. Storer retired from the Navy in 1862, and died two years later, in 1864.

Storer was appointed a captain in the Brazil Squadron in 1837 which tended to a variety of American interests in the South Atlantic relating to diplomacy with Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina, as well as playing an important role in enforcing the long-standing ban on American participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Because Brazil was the last nation which permitted the importation of enslaved people, Rio de Janeiro was a stop for ships transporting captives from Africa. During Storer's tenure as commander of the Brazil Squadron, from 1847 to 1850, the fleet, frequently working with the British Navy, captured four slave ships. Storer, as Commander in Chief of the Brazil Squadron, served under three secretaries of the Navy: John Y. Mason, William B. Preston, and William A. Graham.

Storer married Mary Leah Blunt (1798-1868) in 1819, and they were the parents of Samuel Storer (1820/1-1898), Robert Blunt Storer (1825-1847), Jacob Jones Storer (1826-1902), Lincoln Lear Storer (1828-1849), and Mary Washington Storer (born 1830). Storer's occupation became a tradition in the family: both Robert and Lincoln worked on the water and died at sea; and Samuel and his wife, Sarah Parker Rice Goodwin (1832-1867), had a daughter Mabel (1861-1926) who married Lieutenant Stephen Decatur (1855-1934) in 1884.

Collection History

Acquisition:

The majority of the papers were purchased at auction with support of the Kenneth R. Maxwell Fund in 2012 (AM 2013-29).

An additional letter book documenting Storer's role as commander-in-chief of the Brazil Squadron, which had been separated from the papers, was purchased in 2018 (AM 2018-94).

Appraisal

No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Holly Mengel in 2012. Finding aid written by Holly Mengel in 2012.

Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding in April 2018.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing 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:

George W. Storer Brazil Squadron Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/1n79h505f
Location:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-5; B-001186