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Joseph G. Dennett (1842-1896) Papers

Joseph G. Dennett (1842-1896) Papers

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Open Finding Aid

JOSEPH G. DENNETT (1842-1896) PAPERS, 1862-1896





Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Dennett, Joseph G., 1842-1896
Title:Joseph G. Dennett (1842-1896) Papers
Dates:1862/1896
Quantity:3 linear feet (4 boxes)
Abstract:The Joseph G. Dennett papers are made up materials relating to Dennett's career as a naval engineer; however, the majority of the collection consists of journals that Dennett kept while working for the United States Navy, on and off ships, and journals and record books that Dennett kept while working on Pacific Mail Steamships and at the Salem Water Works.
Collection Number:MH 79

Series List


SERIES I. Professional Papers
SERIES II. Journals and Record Books
A. Ships' Journals and Record Books
B. Salem Water Works Journals and Record Books

Scope and Content Note

The Joseph G. Dennett papers are made up materials relating to Dennett's career as a naval engineer; however, the majority of the collection consists of journals that Dennett kept while working for the United States Navy, on and off ships, and journals and record books that Dennett kept while working on Pacific Mail Steamships and at the Salem Water Works. This collection has been divided into two series.


Series I. Professional Papers consists of materials related to Dennett's career as a naval engineer for the United States Navy, Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and the Salem Water Works. The materials include an autobiography written by Dennett to his wife and daughter, detailing his career though the start of his job at the Salem Water Works and certificates and letters of recommendation. There are certificates for the degree of Master Mason from the Freemasons, one of which came in a case with a copy of the by-laws for the Golden State Chapter of San Francisco. Also included are official letters and requests, such as an order to report for duty onboard the steamer Sonoma, requests for a leave of absence, and paperwork granting Dennett his pension.


Series II. Journals and Record Books contains journals and record books that Dennett kept while working for the United States Navy, both while working in the Navy Yard and onboard ships, while working for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, and the Salem Water Works. This series has been divided into two subseries. Subseries A. Ships' Journals and Record Books contains journals and record books in which Dennett writes about his activities on and off the ships, engineering projects he worked on, and other general information about the ship that are typically found in a ship's log. There are a number of journals for the U.S.N. steamship Kaatskill; however, there is no record of a vessel with that name. There are however records of a U.S.N. steamship Catskill that was active during the Civil War, and this is likely the vessel that Dennett was referring to; therefore, the vessel is referred to as Catskill in this finding aid. The journals for the steamships America and Great Republic (1869) had loose items between their pages that were removed from the journals, but has been placed in the same folder as the respective journals. Subseries B. Salem Water Works Journals and Record Books contains journals that Dennett kept as an engineer for the Salem Water Works. These journals include people that he met and projects that he worked on on specific days; some entries are more detailed than others. These journals are a mix of personal and business entries; in the back of some of the journals are what appear to be personal account records.


Biographical Sketch

Joseph G. Dennett was born on September 28, 1842 in Lafayette, Indiana, to Joseph D. and Caroline (Wilson) Dennett. In 1849, Dennett's parents returned to Salem, Massachusetts where he attended school. He served in an apprenticeship in locomotive building in New Haven, Connecticut, for four years. Dennett continued his instruction of marine engine building under George W. Quintard of Morgan Iron Works and then with Thomas F. Rowland of Continental Works, an ironclad shipbuilder in New York, where he was engaged in the construction of the ship Original Monitor during the winter of 1861.


He served as a naval engineer on board the U. S. flagship Wabash, during which time he served as an aid to the fleet engineer R. W. McClery in 1863. Dennett served in the Navy until he was severely injured by the breaking of some machinery in June 1866 and was put on sick leave. In October of that same year, he tendered his resignation and received an honorable discharge. He then was appointed as first engineer of the Pacific Mail steamer Great Republic; one year later he was promoted to chief engineer, a position he held until 1873. Due to medical problems, Dennett was advised to give up the sea life and he took the position of draughtsman at the Bay State Rolling Mills, where he remained until failing eyesight forced him to find another job. He then became chief engineer of the Salem Water Works.


Dennett married Lucy Brown, the daughter of Samuel and Lucy (Gardner) Brown on October 12, 1875. He died October 29, 1896.


Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Alaska (Steamship)
America (Paddle steamer)
Arizona (Steamship)
Catskill (Ship)
Great Republic (Steamship)
Japan (Steamship)
Pacific Mail Steamship Company
Salem Water Works
South Carolina (Steamship)
Wabash (Steamship)
Shipping
Salem (Mass.)

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Joseph G. Dennett (1842-1896) Papers, MH 79, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

This material was donated by Mrs. J. Edgar Barnes (accession #15,553).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, March 2015.


Related Material


Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.


Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.


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