Guide to the George William Coffin Papers, 1860-1899

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Research Library at the Nantucket Historical Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the internet.

Summary

Born in Nantucket, George William Coffin entered the Naval Academy in 1860 and was married to Mary Starbuck Cartwright in 1866. He was first assigned to the steam sloop Ticonderoga of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, in which he served until the end of the Civil War, during which time he was severely wounded. He served on the Shawmut and the Franklin until 1870, when he was made Chief of Staff of one of three ships to go to the Arctic in the rescue of Lt. Adolphus W. Greely and the surviving five of his crew. In 1886, Coffin was made Chief of the Lighthouse Division until he took to sea again in 1895 on the cruiser Charleston, making official records of the waters in Manila Bay, which were later used by Admiral Dewey in the battle of Manila. He died in Yokahama, Japan, on 15 June 1899. This collection includes Capt. Coffin’s letter summoning him for examination to enter the Naval Academy, Washington, D.C.; a poem from his grandmother, Sarah Calder; a memorial for his death; and a scrapbook of telegrams, official memoranda, invitations, and newspaper clippings concerning the Greely Relief Expedition.

Collection Details

Collection Number:
MS70
Title:
George William Coffin Papers
Date(s):
1860–1899
Creator:
Coffin, George William.
Repository:
Nantucket Historical Association
Language:
Material is in English.

Information for Users

Restrictions to Access: No restrictions. Open for research.

Restrictions to Use: No usage restrictions.

Copyright Notice: Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Nantucket Historical Association assumes no responsibility.

Subject Headings

  • Rescues--Arctic regions.
  • US Navy--Civil War.

Biographical Information

Born in Nantucket, George William Coffin entered the Naval Academy in 1860 and was married to Mary Starbuck Cartwright in 1866. He was first assigned to the steam sloop Ticonderoga of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, in which he served until the end of the Civil War, during which time he was severely wounded. He served on the Shawmut and the Franklin until 1870, when he was made Chief of Staff of one of three ships to go to the Arctic in the rescue of Lt. Adolphus W. Greely and the surviving five of his crew. In 1886, Coffin was made Chief of the Lighthouse Division until he took to sea again in 1895 on the cruiser Charleston, making official records of the waters in Manila Bay, which were later used by Admiral Dewey in the battle of Manila. He died in Yokahama, Japan, on 15 June 1899.

Scope and Content

This collection includes Captain Coffin’s letter summoning him for examination to enter the Naval Academy, Washington, D.C.; a poem from his grandmother, Sarah Calder; a memorial for his death; and a scrapbook of telegrams, official memoranda, invitations, and newspaper clippings concerning the rescue of Lt. Adolphus W. Greely and five of his men from Camp Clay in the Arctic in 1884 by the Greely Relief Expedition, including Capt. George William Coffin in command of the ship Alert.

Contents

Box 1 Folder 1 George William Coffin papers, 1860-1899

SV-70/1 Greely Relief Expedition scrapbook, undated

Items Separated

  • SV-70/1 Greely Relief Expedition scrapbook

Processing Information

Processed by Teddy Leane, August 2021. Finding aid by Teddy Leane, August 2021.

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