Morgan Barney Collection

Manuscripts Collection 207

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Barney, Morgan, 1878-1943
Title: Morgan Barney Collection
Dates: 1838-1943 (bulk 1899-1943)
Extent: 90 items
Abstract: Diaries, notebooks, diplomas, building specifications for various yachts, and miscellaneous papers. Includes invoices (1838-1843) of whale oil, sperm candles, etc., shipped by Capt. Edward Merrill of New Bedford, kept by Barney’s father, George Barney, who clerked for Merrill; schoolboy diary and notebooks kept by his son, John “Peter” Barney, who worked on his father’s boats on weekends and holidays; and diary (1943) reflecting Morgan Barney’s debilitating stroke (leaving him with slurred speech, etc. ) the writing of which was taken over by his sister Ann (Barney) Sharp.
Identification: Coll. 207

Biography of Morgan Barney

Morgan Barney was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, September 25, 1878. He was the son of George and Juliet A. M. Barney of New Bedford and related to the Barney’s who came from Nantucket to New Bedford in the early 1800’s to carry on the whaling industry in the latter city. He was also related to the Howland family who were prominent merchants in New Bedford.

He spent the summers of his youth designing, building and racing small sail boats. He attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1900 with a major in Naval Architecture. He went to New York, working first for the naval architect, H.C. Wintringham, and then opened his own office where he developed designs for many large motor yachts. He also designed several cruising sailboats.

During World War I, he worked in New Bedford on the conversion of oil barges to oil tankers, and on designs of vessels and weapons to combat the German submarine menace.

In later life he lived in Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut, owning and chartering several small sail boats, and managing the rental of various pieces of real estate that he, his wife and his sister owned. He had many friends; belonged to the New Bedford Yacht Club and the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich; and was one of the founders of the New York Technology Club as well as being an active MIT alumnus.

He was very close to his sister, Ann Barney Sharp with whom he spent his last days. At the time of his death, on June 22, 1943 in Stamford, Connecticut, he left his wife, Nora Stanton Barney, a daughter, Rhoda, and a son John “Peter”.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of two boxes: the first box holds nine diaries and an account book; the second box consists of builder’s agreements, primarily for yachts and boats designed by Morgan Barney, plus some school notebooks belonging to his son, John “Peter” Barney and other miscellaneous papers.

The diaries cover distinctly different periods in Morgan Barney’s life, and because of this, give a somewhat disjointed picture, but they do show that he was a talented yacht designer, a vociferous reader of all types of subject matter from the classics to the latest technology, and a complicated personality who shifted from moments of inventive ideas and enthusiasms to times of deepest depression.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


Barney, George
Barney, John Peter
Merrill, Edward
Sharp, Ann Barney


Cerebrovascular disease
Whale oil
Whaling–Massachusetts–New Bedford
Yachts–Designs and plans

Document Types:



Naval architects–Connecticut–Stamford
Yacht designers–Connecticut–Stamford

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 207, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Index to Personal Names

NOTE: The fraction(s) indicate the Box and Folder numbers where that particular reference can be found. For example, the researcher will find information about Alfred Adler in Box 2, Folder 5 of the collection.
Adler, Alfred 2/5
Barney, John 2/7
Bigelow, ? 2/2
Coffin, David 2/7
Coffin, Sarah 2/7
Davidson, M.T. 2/1
Dittenhoefer, ? (Judge) 2/5
Feuchter, Charlie 2/2
Gielow, Henry J. 2/1
Howland, C.N. 2/7
Howland, Edward W. 2/7
Howland, Gideon 2/7
Johnson, Eldredge R. 2/7
Jones, Frank Bowne 2/2, 2/5, 2/7
Krantz, Herm 2/2
Krumholtz, ? (Mrs.) 2/7
Lewis, Mary 2/5
Linnekin, Thomas 2/4
Luttgen, Walther 2/1
Maxim, Hudson 2/2, 2/5
Mayo, C. Arthur (Jr.) 2/2
Mulliken, Al 2/2
Murray, Rufus 2/7
Osborn, William R. 2/5
Pearce, E.A. 2/5
Quick, Charlie 2/2
Reid, Daniel G. 2/1
Richmond, Gerald M. 2/5
Sharp, Ann Barney 2/5
Sharp, B.K. 2/5
Smith, Edward B. 2/1
Smith, Mace 2/2
Taber, Fred 2/7
Tawreset, John Godwin (Rear Adm.) 2/7
Wayland, C.M. 2/2
Wharton, Georgianna 2/7
Wharton, William P. 2/2
Williams, E.L. (Capt.) 2/5
Wintringham, H.C. 2/1

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Index to Corporate Names

NOTE: The fraction(s) indicate the Box and Folder numbers where that particular reference can be found. For example, the researcher will find information about Alfred B. Sands & Son in Box 2, Folder 1 of the collection.
Alfred B. Sands & Son 2/1
American Linen Co. 2/5
American Ship Windlass Co. 2/1, 2/2, 2/7
Ashcroft Mfg. Co. 2/1
Boston & Lockport Block Co. 2/2
Brigham, Hopkins Co. 2/2
Day, Summers & Co. 2/2
Ellis M. Pearce & Co. 2/5
George F. Blake Mfg. Co. 2/1
Harper Transportation Co. 2/7
Hayden & Derby 2/1
Huntington Line 2/4
Merriman Bros. 2/2
Mississippi River Power Co. 2/5
Richmond, Dorrance & Co. 2/5
Standard Mfg. Co. 2/1
Stearns & McKay 2/2
Stone & Webster 2/5
Tams, Lemoine & Crane 2/1

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Index to Vessel Names

NOTE: The fraction(s) indicate the Box and Folder numbers where that particular reference can be found. For example, the researcher will find information about the vessel A.R. TUCKER in Box 2, Folder 7 of the collection.
ADDIE (Sloop) 2/7
CASSANDRA (Steam yacht) 2/5
CORANTO (Steam yacht) 2/2
FREELANCE (Yacht) 2/7
GRETCHEN (Yacht) 2/7
LEXINGTON (Steamer) 2/7
NELLIE C. HART (Tug) 2/7
PORTSMOUTH (Barge) 2/7
SUNBEAM (Yacht) 2/2
WANDERER (Yacht) 2/7
WONTONIA (Yacht) 2/2

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.


Volumes; 1899-1943
1 Diary, Morgan Barney; 1899
2 Diary, Morgan Barney; 1890
3 Diary/Notebook, Morgan Barney and others; 1911-1912
4 Diary, Peter Barney; 1936
5 Diary, Peter Barney; 1938
6 Diary, Morgan Barney; 1940
7 Diary, Morgan Barney; 1941
8 Diary, Morgan Barney; 1942
9 Diary, Morgan Barney/Ann Barney Sharp (sister); 1943
10 Account Book, containing invoices of whale oil and sperm candles etc., primarily by Edward Merrill of New Bedford. Also records of expenses and receipts of rentals of houses owned by Morgan Barney; 1909-1912
Miscellaneous papers, builders agreements and notebooks; 1900-1943
Box Folder
2 1 Builders agreements, primarily for yachts and boats designed by Morgan Barney, New York N.Y.; ca. 1900-1910
2 Builders Agreements, etc., as described above; ca. 1900-1910
3 Builders Agreements, etc., as described above; ca. 1900-1910
4 Builders Agreements, etc., as described above; ca. 1900-1910
5 Miscellaneous correspondence; ca. 1920-1940
6 “Circular of Information for Employees”, Cox & Stevens, Inc.; 1942 Jul 7
7 Miscellaneous papers; ca. 1920-1940
8 School notebooks and assignment book, John Barney; 1941
9 Notebook, “Activities at Cox & Stevens”; 1942 Mar-1943 Feb
10 Surveying & Navigation calculations, J. Barney; 1941
11 Steam Engine Calculations, Morgan Barney; ca. 1920

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