Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Charles Hosmer Collection, 1870-1885

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Charles H. Hosmer collection
Creator: Hosmer, Charles H., b. ca. 1840
Inclusive dates: 1870-1885
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
The Charles H. Hosmer collection is made up of a diary (365 pages, 1877), 13 stereoscopic photographs (1872-1877), and a published volume (1870) related to the Hosmer's career as an assistant surveyor with the United States Coast Survey. The diary covers his experiences working along the Banana River in Florida and in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Language: The material is in English
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:

2002. M-4246.1.

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:

Charles H. Hosmer Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is organized into three series:

  • Series I: Diary.
  • Series II: Stereoscopic photographs.
  • Series III: Printed publication.


Charles H. Hosmer was born in Ohio around 1840 and lived in Bristol, Rhode Island, with his wife Ellen in the late 19th century. He worked for the United States Coast Survey throughout the 1870s and 1880s.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Charles H. Hosmer collection is made up of a diary (365 pages, 1877), 13 stereographs (1872-1877), and a published volume (1870) related to Hosmer's career as an assistant surveyor with the United States Coast Survey.

The Diary is a partially printed Excelsior pocket diary for the year 1877, with each page devoted to one day. Hosmer wrote brief daily entries, covering his experiences on a surveying expedition along Florida's Banana River onboard the steamer Steadfast ; his journeys to Bar Harbor, Maine, and Chicago, Illinois; and his daily life in Bristol, Rhode Island, between his travels.

From January to mid-May, Hosmer wrote from the Steadfast along Florida's eastern coast. He frequently visited Titusville and often recorded his successful duck hunting excursions. Entries also pertain to his hydrographical work for the United States Coast Survey, other workers onboard the ship, and Hosmer's acquaintances. He discussed his railroad journey home to Bristol, Rhode Island, various aspects of his social life, and later working journeys to Bar Harbor, Maine, and other locations. Memoranda at the back of the volume include a list of letters written by Hosmer, an address list, and tide gauge statistics recorded along the Banana River (1876 and 1877) and in Maine (undated).

A collection of 13 black-and-white Stereoscopic Photographs depict three-dimensional scenes from the southern United States and from Taunton River, Massachusetts, and Rockford, Illinois.

The scenes include:

  • Photographs of Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia (3 items)
  • Pavilion Hotel, Savannah, Georgia (undated)
  • Fort Sumter (1872)
  • The Charleston Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina (undated)
  • A storefront in Rockford, Illinois (undated)
  • John R. Porter residence, Rockford, Illinois (undated)
  • Surveying equipment and men at a camp near Taunton River, Massachusetts (2 items, September-October 1876)
  • Number 707 Glen House, [Littleton, New Hampshire?] (undated)
  • United States Steamship Bavataria [sic] (undated)
  • Burnham slate quarry (undated)

The Printed Publication is a copy of United States Coast Survey. Memoranda Relating to the Field-Work of the Secondary Triangulation, written by Richard D. Cutts and published by the Government Printing Office in 1870. The text includes related tables. Charles Hosmer's name is printed on the front cover. A 10-page packet of manuscript documents laid into the book, contains Hosmer's descriptions of flagstaffs and signals "Between New Rochelle and Greenwich" (3 pages); tables recording several geographical positions with brief copied notes from G. Bradford (6 pages, June 1885 and undated); and a letter to Charles Hosmer from C. O. Bontelle of the C. & G. Survey (1 page, June 1, 1885). Bontelle's letter contains a small diagram showing old and new Bessel data lines, used in surveying.

Subject Terms

    • Banana River (Fla.)
    • Bar Harbor (Me.)
    • Bristol (R.I. : Town)--Social life and customs.
    • Chicago (Ill.)
    • Hydrographic surveying--United States.
    • Illinois--Description and travel.
    • Railroad travel--United States.
    • Surveying--Handbooks, manuals, etc.
    • Surveyors--United States.
    • Titusville (Fla.)--Social life and customs.
    • Triangulation.
    • United States Coast Survey.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Bonaventure Cemetery (Savannah, Ga.)
    • Charleston (S.C.)
    • Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.)
    • Quarries and quarrying.
    • Rockford (Ill.)
    • Savannah (Ga.)
    • Surveying--Instruments.
    • Bontelle, Charles O.
    • Bradford, G.
    • Cutts, R. D. (Richard Dominicus), 1817-1883.
    Genre Terms:
    • Books.
    • Diaries.
    • Memorandums.
    • Stereoscopic photographs.
    • Tables (documents)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Charles Hosmer collection [series]
    Box   1 Folder   1
    Charles Hosmer diary,  1877
    Box   1 Folder   2
    Stereoscopic photographs,  1876-1877, and  undated
    Box   1 Folder   3
    Cutts, Richard D. United States Coast Survey. Memoranda Relating to the Field-Work of the Secondary Triangulation. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1870.
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    The Clements Library Map Division holds the following item: [Hosmer, Charles]. [Mississippi River From Grand Gulf to Below Vicksburg]. December 3, 1875.