Washington Irving Snyder collection  1862-1898
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of correspondence, documents, ephemera, and other items related to Rear Admiral Caspar F. Goodrich, who served in the United States Navy from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. Many of the materials relate to his navy service and to his political interests after World War I.

The Correspondence series comprises around half of the collection. The Chronological Correspondence subseries (approximately 1.25 linear feet) contains incoming and outgoing letters related to Caspar F. Goodrich's personal life and naval career. Goodrich wrote the first group of letters to his wife Eleanor while stationed on the Lancaster in Europe between January and October 1884. He discussed life at sea, his daily activities, his travels, and his love for Eleanor. These letters are followed by a small number of items dated between 1884 and 1904, including a typed copy of a list of demands for the Spanish commander(s) surrendering to Goodrich at Manzanillo, Cuba, in August 1898.

The remaining correspondence is largely incoming letters to Goodrich dated after April 1904. Many pertain to his actions during the Spanish-American War and to aspects of naval administration and navy yards. Some correspondents discussed Goodrich's speaking engagements at the U.S. Naval War College and other venues, as well as his involvement in various naval societies and similar groups. The series includes orders that Goodrich received after being recalled to active duty during World War I and a letter that he wrote to United States Representative Gilbert A. Currie, criticizing the Justice Department's treatment of spies and foreign nationals.

Other personal materials include groups of items related to Goodrich's trip onboard the Mauritania 1908 and his sponsorship of James Stidham, a student at the Oneida Baptist Institute in Oneida, Kentucky, in 1916 and 1917. The school's president, J. A. Burns, thanked Goodrich for his financial support and discussed Stidham's character and academic progress. Stidham also wrote to his benefactor, expressing his gratitude and sharing news of his academics and life at the school. He discussed relationships between some of the students, including an altercation between two boys that led to their expulsion.

Goodrich received personal letters from the 1910s until his death in 1925. Many of these letters concern the writers' political opinions prior to U.S. involvement in World War I and the progress of the war, often with a focus on naval engagements. Goodrich's correspondents discussed the possibility of U.S. intervention on behalf of the Allied powers and expressed their joy when the U.S. did enter the war. Following the war, they wrote about the peace process and other aspects of international politics. The collection includes letters that Goodrich wrote to newspaper editors about the treatment of German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war; he advocated a requirement that captured combatants repair all war damage to French and Belgian villages before being allowed to return home. Other drafts by Goodrich concern his opinions about the United States Navy, his opposition to anarchists and socialists, his desire for the United States to deport immigrants who commit crimes, and other political subjects.

Some of the late correspondence reflects Goodrich's ongoing interest and participation naval organizations, including his involvement in naval academy veterans' efforts to sponsor the rebuilding of the library of the Catholic University of Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, after its destruction during World War I. He also received correspondence from newspaper and magazine editors rejecting articles and short stories.

The Letter Books subseries consists of 6 volumes (approximately 3,550 pages) that collectively span October 1889-August 1914. The volumes contain Caspar F. Goodrich's outgoing personal and professional correspondence, as well as a few stories and articles. Goodrich discussed navy business and personnel, his work at the U.S. Naval War College, his Spanish-American War service, naval history, naval funding, and other subjects. Several letters reflect Goodrich's attempts to win his son Caspar a place at the United States Naval Academy and his opinions about various academy policies. Many of the letters concern Goodrich's finances and the Gladwyn estate in Pomfret, Connecticut. Some correspondence pertains to his efforts to construct a memorial for the sailors killed in a boiler explosion on the USS Bennington in San Diego, California, in July 1905.

The Documents series (22 items) mostly consists of receipts for personal expenses, including a group related to a visit to Europe and an account of expenses for the USS Bennington monument ([1908?]). The series also includes Goodrich's commission as a delegate to the International Historical Congress of the War of Independence in Zaragoza, Spain (June 19, 1908), sections of a legislative act regarding treasonous actions (March 4, 1909), and a memorandum of an agreement between Goodrich and Clarence E. Warren, who agreed to look after the Goodrich home during the admiral's absence (October 31, 1913).

The Writings series (approximately 1 linear foot) largely consists of essays written by Caspar F. Goodrich between 1900 and 1925. Many concern topics related to the United States Navy's history, organization, vessels, and personnel. Goodrich wrote lengthy treatises on navy traditions, the tenure of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, and his visit to India around 1911; the India travelogue is illustrated with photographs. Some writings reflect his support of policies promoting the use of English as the primary language of the United States, his belief that criminals and others should be prohibited from having children, and his opposition to anarchist political philosophies. The series also includes a lengthy autobiography, several short stories, and a poem about the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, dedicated to Goodrich. The short story "Namaya: A Tale of the Sacred Iguana" and the play Solemn John are attributed to E. Davis-Goodrich and Davis Goodrich, respectively.

The Printed Items and Ephemera series (approximately 0.75 linear feet) contains reports, pamphlets, articles, speeches, programs, newspaper clippings, menus, invitations, and other items. One small group concerns a hydroelectric project in Bombay, India, in the early 1910s, and many materials relate to naval academy alumni, naval history societies, and similar organizations. Newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and other printed items regard nativist and anti-Communist sentiments, and Goodrich's speaking engagements and retirement activities. Many contain his letters to the editor about the navy and political issues. He advocated harsh treatment of the defeated Central Powers, opposed unrestricted immigration, and also wrote about education, taxation, and the future of submarine and aerial warfare. One group of clippings is in Spanish.

Ephemeral items include a large selection of visiting cards from his 1908 visit to Zaragoza for the International Historical Congress of the War of Independence, a trip itinerary that listed Zaragoza and Paris as destinations, a golf scorecard, and items related to dinners, weddings, religious services, and other gatherings sponsored by naval and patriotic organizations.

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