J. Martin Gorham papers  1864-1865
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 3 volumes of typescripts about Captain John Paul Jones and his service with the Continental Navy during the American Revolution. One group of documents concerns his attempt to kidnap Douglas Dunbar, 4th Earl of Selkirk, at his home in St. Mary's Isle, Scotland, in April 1778.

The first volume contains around 97 pages of typescript letters and extracts from the log of the Ranger , which Jones commanded during his raid against the Earl of Selkirk's home. Helen Selkirk, the earl's wife, recollected her experiences in letters to her family, recalling how Jones and his men took the family's tableware after discovering that the earl was not home. Jones later corresponded with Lord Selkirk about his attempts to return the stolen items, and apologized for his crew's actions. Several items are laid into the volume's front cover, including newspaper clippings about the later location of the tableware and about a flag that Jones once owned; reproduced photographs; and items related to Hazel Schermerhorn, who transcribed the letters during a visit to Scotland in the 20th century.

Volumes 2 and 3 are typescript copies of Richard Filkin's transcriptions of, and footnotes about, correspondence and documents related to John Paul Jones's naval career, particularly during the American Revolution. Most of the material is comprised of extracts from newspaper columns; the volumes also include letters, dispatches, and other documents. Some of the reprinted items are in French. The first 30 pages of Volume 2 are copied in manuscript handwriting; together, these volumes contain around 465 pages of typed material. Each individual section of around 30-50 pages is indexed.

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