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Caspar F. Goodrich papers (1869-1925)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Naomi Herman-Aplet, April 2013, Meg Hixon, January 2014, and Caroline He, Sara Quashnie, and Jayne Ptolemy April 2018
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Caspar F. Goodrich papers
Creator: Goodrich, Caspar F. (Caspar Frederick), 1847-1925
Inclusive dates: 1869-1925
Extent: 8 linear feet
This Caspar F. Goodrich Papers contain 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 naval career, business and personal affairs, and his political interests after World War I.
Language: The material is in English and Spanish
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1993-2018. M-2905, M-2913, M-3261, M-4215, M-4274, M-4425, M-4576, M-6020, M-6073, M-7003, M-7053.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

Caspar F. Goodrich Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
    • Subseries I: Chronological Correspondence
    • Subseries II: Letter Books
  • Series II: Writings and Manuscripts
  • Series III: Printed Items
  • Series IV: Documents
  • Series V: Ephemera
  • Series VI: Photographs
  • Series VII: Notes, Fragments, and Miscellaneous


Caspar Frederick Goodrich was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 7, 1847, the son of William Goodrich and Sarah Ann Bearden. After graduating at the top of his class from the United States Naval Academy in 1864, he rose through the ranks to become ensign in 1866, lieutenant commander in 1869, captain in 1897, rear admiral in 1904, and commander-in-chief of the Pacific Squadron from 1904 to 1906. During his career, he served on multiple ships and at many shore installations. He commanded the U.S.S. Portsmouth in the South Atlantic Squadron; the U.S.S. Lancaster in 1884, the flagship of the European Squadron; and the S.S. St. Louis and U.S.S. Newark in the North Atlantic Fleet. He served in military campaigns including bombardments to assert control over the Suez Canal, the Anglo-Egyptian War, and the Spanish-American War, seeing significant engagement in the Battle of Santiago Bay in Cuba, receiving the surrender of Spanish forces at Manzanillo.

Beginning in 1871, Goodrich served as a lecturer at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval War College, which he helped establish and served as president in 1889 and from 1897 to 1898. He contributed to the founding of the Naval Institute and served as its president from 1904 to 1909. He published many scholarly papers and books on his experiences, contributing a great number to the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings . Goodrich served as commandant at the Philadelphia, Portsmouth, and New York Navy Yards. He retired from active duty in January 1909. From 1914 to 1916 he served as the President of the Naval History Society, and he was intermittently involved with the Navy following his retirement. Goodrich was recalled to active duty during World War I, when he oversaw the Pay Officers' Material School at Princeton University. He retired again in November 1919, and he maintained an interest in naval history and theory throughout the remainder of his life.

Caspar F. Goodrich resided in Pomfret, Connecticut, with his first wife Eleanor Milnor (m. 1873, d. 1908), with whom he had three children: Eleanor, Caspar (1881-1907), and Gladys. His son, Caspar, a navy lieutenant, died in an accidental explosion on the Georgia . Goodrich later remarried Sarah M. Hayes. He died on January 26, 1925 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Caspar F. Goodrich Papers contain 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 naval career, business and personal affairs, and his political interests after World War I. The collection documents Goodrich's various travels and naval campaigns as Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy and details his business, scholarship, and personal life.

The Correspondence series comprises the bulk of the collection. The Chronological Correspondence subseries (approximately 5 linear feet) contains incoming and outgoing letters to Caspar F. Goodrich. Approximately 2,535 letters to and from his wives Eleanor and Sarah and various family and friends, naval personnel, professional society members, businessmen, and academics document Goodrich's personal life and naval career. The series, arranged chronologically, ranges from the late 1860s until 1925, the year of his death. Goodrich, in his extensive naval and professional travels, wrote from many continents in the midst of wars and diplomatic negotiations. The letters detail his ongoing involvement in foreign policy, domestic and international politics, and naval and academic matters. 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 also reveals the particulars of his intimate life and private thoughts.

This subseries includes, for example:

  • Fifteen letters to his mother from the U.S.S. Portsmouth in South America at the beginning of his naval career in 1869.
  • About eight hundred letters to and from his first wife Eleanor Milnor Goodrich from 1884 to 1899 about his travels, interactions with family acquaintances, their children's schooling, their home in Pomfret, Connecticut, and personal thoughts and sentiments. Two letters to her discuss the Suez Canal during the Anglo-Egyptian conflict in 1882. Approximately fifty ink and pencil drawings are enclosed in his correspondence to Eleanor, illustrating scenery and travel observations from around the world as well as mundane matters.
  • Approximately fifteen pieces of correspondence during the 1898 Spanish-American Conflict in Cuba. Materials include letters from Goodrich aboard the U.S.S. Newark addressed to Cuban chief commanders demanding the unconditional surrender of Manzanillo, notes in Spanish to Goodrich from Cuban leaders, and military decorations from the Navy for his service.
  • Approximately fifty letters from 1907 to 1914 to and from Frederick Winslow Taylor, an engineer and leader in the Efficiency Movement and Progressive era, on personal, commercial, and legal matters including their business with the Tabasco Company.
  • Six letters from Charles Chaillé-Long written between 1906 to 1908.
  • Twenty three letters from Secretary of the Navy Truman H. Newberry to Goodrich from 1907 to 1910 on naval matters.
  • Approximately ten letters to Goodrich from the Secretary of the Navy Office on his delegate appointment to the 1908 International Historical Congress of the War of Independence in Saragossa, Spain.
  • Over thirty letters on education, including letters written in 1916 to and from the Oneida Institute and a 14-year-old school boy, James Stidham, whose education Goodrich sponsored. Other letters discuss his children's schooling and etiquette training with his wife Eleanor.
  • Two signed Franklin D. Roosevelt letters to Caspar F. Goodrich as Assistant Secretary of Navy (1913 and 1919).
  • 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.
  • Letters to and from Goodrich and the Navy Athletic Association on the Army-Football Game in 1923.

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 in 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 7 volumes and a series of letters written to his daughter Gladys that collectively span from 1876 to 1914. Volume 1 contains various copies of articles and letters, as well as a travel and historical account of the Suez Canal. Dating from Goodrich’s time aboard the U.S.S. Kearsarge as Lieutenant Commander, subjects range from copied articles on steel manufacturing from Mechanics Magazine to disciplinary reports for crew members. One letter complains of the presence of Commander F. V. McNair’s wife aboard the ship. Also included is an "analytical report" of the crew with detailed tables documenting nationalities, physical characteristics, and punishments, along with an evaluation of "desirable" or "undesirable" persons. There are several copies of personal letters including ones detailing Goodrich’s indignation after his promotion to Executive Officer on the U.S.S. Tennessee was denied. The volume includes a bookmark embroidered with "Remember."

Volumes 2-7 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 U.S.S. Bennington in San Diego, California, in July 1905.

"Our Trip Around the World" consists of sequential letters written by Caspar F. Goodrich to his daughter, Gladys, documenting international travel from October 1910 to March 1911.

The Writings and Manuscripts series consists of over 270 items of personal notebooks and diaries, manuscripts (including typed and handwritten drafts), speeches, poems and short stories, and bound booklets of Goodrich's own writing from 1900 to 1925. Much of this encompasses biographical material on Goodrich, not only of his extensive travels and naval campaigns but also of a wide body of his scholarly work and lecture material during his time at the Naval War College. Many concern topics related to the United States Navy's history, organization, vessels, and personnel. 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. Some of his works were published in Army and Navy journals, literary magazines, major newspapers, and by the colleges and societies in which he held teaching positions. A selection of works includes:

  • "Battle of Santiago Bay," featuring a poem and account of the battle in 1898.
  • "Some Unbeaten Paths in India" includes matte photographs, original watercolors by Captain C.J. Davis of the Indian army, and handwritten and revised drafts produced during Goodrich's business and personal travel in India in 1914.
  • "Piracy in the West Indies a Hundred Years ago," a loose-leaf undated three-part series of writings.
  • "The Traditions of the Navy," a multiple part 1921 manuscript typed and handwritten, bound by loose string.
  • "The Taxpayer and the Schools," a 1923 manuscript.

The Printed Items series includes bound booklets produced by figures other than Goodrich, pamphlets, memos, reports, and newspaper clippings. Printed annual membership lists (bulk post-1911) for various societies like the Naval History Society and the Naval Academy are also present. Notable selections include:

  • Thirty materials from 1911 to 1915 on the Tata-Hydro-Electric Project in Bombay, India, including booklets, printed reports, maps, and articles. One set of nine booklets contain the ceremony program guide, photographs of the plant's opening in February 1911, and a printed speech from the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
  • Twenty-five bound books, booklets, and pamphlets dating from 1912 to 1923 detailing Communism and the "conditions of Russia." Some titles of note include New York World's staff correspondent Lincoln Eyre's Russia Analyzed (1920), Eugene Richter's Pictures of the Socialist Future (1912), and Lee Alexander Stone's Pacifists and Reds (1924).
  • Five bound pamphlets from 1917 to 1920 covering the American constitutional government: Constitution of the National Association for Constitutional Government; How The Constitution Saved the Revolution; The Americanism of the Constitution of the United States; and Experiments in Government and the Essentials of the Constitution I & II.
  • Three Congressional Record daily reports from the 68th Congress (1923-1925), First Sessions.
  • General Orders No. 260-303 from January to June, 1917, with several missing.
  • Approximately 150 newspaper clippings from 1904 to 1925. They are mostly comprised of letters to editors, news pertaining to Goodrich's naval campaigns and accomplishments, political cartoons, material in Spanish, and short stories in various newspaper publications.

The Documents series contains various certificates, special passports, driving test passes, committee reports, and memoranda. This series features certificates honoring Goodrich's participation as a delegate to the International Historical Congress of the War of Independence in Saragossa, Spain (1908), a memorandum with Clarence E. Warren, who agreed to look after the Goodrich home during the admiral's absence (1913), and a typed "Act of March 4th, 1909" stipulating punishment for conspiracy against the United States. It also includes bills, receipts, memorandum of expenses, and minor finance sheets which reflect Goodrich's various travels and personal and naval accounts.

The Ephemera series includes program guides, menus, brochures, calling cards, and printed and engraved invitations, many for gatherings sponsored by naval and patriotic organizations. Included are a large selection of visiting cards from his 1908 visit to Saragossa for the International Historical Congress of the War of Independence The series spans nearly twenty years from 1904 onwards (bulk ca. 1909) with additional undated materials.

The Photographs series contains six photographs of various subject matters ranging from naval business to domestic scenes, such as a military encampment, a sitting room, and a portrait of Goodrich.

The Notes, Fragments, and Miscellaneous series is comprised of loose, fragmented, or miscellaneous materials. Included are portions of writings, partial letters, illustrations, recipes and lists, and small flat trinkets. A notable item is the engraving plate used for Mrs. Goodrich's calling card.

Subject Terms

  • Bennington (Gunboat No. 4)
  • Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948.
  • Hydroelectric power plants.
  • Lancaster (Sloop of war)
  • Manzanillo (Cuba : Municipio)
  • Nativism.
  • Naval education.
  • Naval War College (U.S.)
  • Navy-yards and naval stations.
  • New York Naval Shipyard.
  • Oneida Baptist Institute.
  • Pomfret (Conn.)
  • Princeton University.
  • Real property--Connecticut.
  • Spanish-American War, 1898--Naval operations, American.
  • Suez Canal (Egypt)
  • United States Naval Academy.
  • United States. Navy--History.
  • United States. Navy--Officers.
  • United States--Politics and government--1919-1933.
Genre Terms:
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Invitations.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Menus.
  • Orders (military records)
  • Pamphlets.
  • Photographs.
  • Poems.
  • Printed ephemera.
  • Programs (documents)
  • Telegrams.
  • Visiting cards.

Contents List

Container / Location Title
Chronological Correspondence [subseries]
Box   1  
 January 10, 1869-July 29, 1881
Box   2  
 August 1, 1881-August 31, 1884
Box   3  
 September 2, 1884-December 20, 1891
Box   4  
 January 4, 1892-October 31, 1893
Box   5  
 November 8, 1893-December 3, 1897
Box   6  
 January 6, 1898-December 29, 1899
Box   7  
 January 3, 1900-October 29, 1904
Box   8  
 November 4, 1904-May 31, 1907
Box   9  
 June 18, 1907-January 31, 1909
Box   10  
 February 1, 1909-November 14, 1913
Box   11  
 February 2, 1914-March 30, 1922
Box   12  
 April 1, 1922-October 26, 1925, and  undated
Letter Books [subseries]
Volume   1  
Volume   2  
 October 1889-March 1898
Volume   3  
 October 1898-January 1901
Volume   4  
 January 1901-July 1904
Volume   5  
 August 1901-October 1903
Volume   6  
 March 1906-May 1908
Volume   7  
 May 1908-August 1914 (bulk  (bulk May 1908-July 1910))
Volume   8  
"Trip around the world,"  October 1910-March 1911
Writings and Manuscripts [series]
Box   13  
Box   14  
Box   15  
Printed Items [series]
Box   16  
 1907-1924, and  undated
Box   17  
Newspaper clippings,  1899-1925, and  undated
Documents [series]
 1905-1913 and  undated
Ephemera [series]
 1904-1912 and  undated
Photographs [series]
Notes, Fragments, and Miscellaneous [series]

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

Goodrich, Caspar Frederick. Rope Yarns From the Old Navy. New York: The Naval History Society, 1931.

The New-York Historical Society holds a Caspar F. Goodrich Collection.

The United States Naval Academy's Nimitz Library holds a collection of Caspar Frederick Goodrich Papers.

Princeton University holds the Admiral Caspar Frederick Goodrich papers on the Princeton University Naval Training Unit.

The United States Naval Academy holds Caspar Frederick Goodrich Papers.


Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent: Collection of Genealogies Showing the Lineal Descent from Kings of Some American Families. Seventh Edition. Baltimore: Clearfield Company, 1911.

Cogar, William B. Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy, Volume 2: 1901-1918. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991.

Naval History & Heritage Command (U.S.) "Goodrich." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Web. 2014 January 28.

Reynolds, Clark G. Famous American Admirals. New York: Van Norstrand Reinhold Company, 1978.

Stewart, William. Admirals of the World: A Biographical Dictionary, 1500 to the Present. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2009.