Harlow Family Papers

Manuscripts Collection 287

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G.W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Harlow Family
Title: Harlow Family Papers
Dates: 1829-1962
Extent: ca. 4000 pieces, 8 volumes
Abstract: Literary manuscripts, journals, logs, scrapbooks, clippings, photographs (photocopies), correspondence and other ephemeral and miscellaneous materials related to the Harlow family, primarily Frederick Pease Harlow, author of “The Making of a Sailor,” and “Chanteying Aboard American Ships”. In addition to the typescripts for F.P. Harlow’s published works, there are typescripts and manuscript copies of an unpublished memoir and a short maritime novel. Other family members represented include, Frederick Pease, William T. Harlow Sr., Frances Ann (Winsor) Harlow, Julius Harlow, William T. Harlow Jr., and Gertrude Gilleland Harlow.
Identification: Coll. 287

Biography of Frederick Pease Harlow

From a biographical sketch written by Gertrude Gilleland Harlow:

“Frederick Pease Harlow was born Dec. 12 1856, the youngest of six children of a Methodist minister William Thompson Harlow and his wife Frances Ann Winsor. He was also an educator, being the Principal of the Rock River Seminary in Mt. Morris Illinois, where Fred was born. His brothers and sisters had been born in New England. His father’s family was from Plymouth, Massachusetts and his mother’s from Duxbury, Massachusetts. When Fred was ten years old the family returned to Duxbury. Fred watched the landing of the French Atlantic cable – which was the first cable to operate successfully. His father accepted a church in Bristol, Rhode Island where Fred went to school. Later they moved to Newport, Rhode Island where Fred graduated from high school.

Then he went to sea. Later he shipped on the AKBAR and was gone two years on a trip to Australia. His father’s people were ministers and his mother’s people were seafaring. All of the boys went to sea for some time. Fred left the sea and went to Chicago where his oldest sister lived. Her husband was a Methodist minister. Fred worked for a Methodist bookstore.

Then he went to Kansas City where his sister Juliet lived. Her husband, Hal H. Browning was with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe [Railroad]. Fred was express messenger for some time on the railroad. While running on the train near Coolidge, New Mexico the train was in a wreck. They were stranded there four weeks and Apache indians were on the war path near there on account of washouts on the railroad. There were indian war hoops as they raided the round house expecting to surprise the people, but the engineers and firemen drew their revolvers and killed three indians on their horses as they approached, so the other indians rode away in the darkness. There was trouble all along the line.

Fred was then made express agent in La Junta, Colorado for some time, as he had injured his leg by a package being thrown into his car. In the meantime some of the family had gone to Portland, Oregon. His brother was agent of the Wells Fargo Express Co. Fred got a position there, then he was sent to Seattle as agent for the Northern Pacific Express Co.

February 14, 1898 he was married to Gertrude Gilleland. They bought a home where they lived until his death September 10, 1952. They had one daughter, Frances Winsor Harlow. When he left the Express Co. he studied expert book keeping and did that kind of work for the rest of his life.

During the first world war he was accountant for the Washington Shipping Corporation. They built six four-masted auxiliary-powered wooden schooners for the French government. He enjoyed watching the building of these schooners more than anything he had done since he left the sea. Our daughter christened one of the ships.

In the 1920’s he wrote “The Making of a Sailor” which was published by the Marine Research Society of Salem, Massachusetts. Many say it is the best sea narrative ever written… During the latter part of his life [ca. 1928-1931] he made four very fine ship models [AKBAR, CONQUEST, GLORY OF THE SEAS, and GREAT ADMIRAL].

When F.P. Harlow retired in the early thirties he took a three year trip around the world, [and] motored all over the U.S.A. and Canada. Then we took a steamer from Los Angeles and spent two years traveling all over the world. [We] spent one year in the Orient. When we returned he wrote a book about our trip but the only publisher he sent it to returned it as being too long. He was interested in rewriting it but did not finish it…”

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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.


Harlow, Frances A.
Harlow, Frederick Pease
Harlow, Gertrude Gilleland
Harlow, Julius I.
Harlow, William T., 1835-1874
Harlow, William T., 1874-1930
Pease, Frederick

Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):

Akbar (Ship)
California (Ship)
Conquest (Bark)
David G. Floyd (Schooner)
Glory of the Seas (Ship)
Golden Fleece (Ship)
Grace Darling (Ship)
Great Admiral (Ship)
Hazard (Bark)
Jennie W. Paine (Ship)
Kingfisher (Ship)
Lewis Perry (Schooner)
Moneynick (Bark)
Neptune (Bark)
Quickstep (Bark)
Rebecca Goddard (Bark)
Samuel Robertson (Ship)
Sarah (Bark)
Sicilian (Bark)
Starlight (Bark)
Washington Shipping Corporation
Wells Fargo Express Company
Whistler (Bark)
William C. Marcey (Schooner)
William Crane (Steamer)
Windward (Bark)


Death at sea
Folk-songs, English–United States–History and criticism
Sea songs–United States–History and criticism
Seafaring life–19th century
Ship models
Shipbuilding–Washington (State)–Seattle
Shipping–19th century
Voyages and travels

Document Types:

Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
Pencil drawing
Protection certificates

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 287, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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

Frederick Pease; 1829-1891
Box Folder
1 1 Vol. 1: Journal of a voyage to California by Frederick Pease on bark SARAH of Edgartown, Massachusetts, John O. Morse, master (1849 Sep 3-1851 Jan 11). Copies of letters regarding Pease’s appointment as railroad mail agent and various calculations and formulas related to that work (1853). Newspaper clippings regarding the pioneers to California from New England, and their West Coast reunions (1890); 1849-1890 (approx. 163 pp.)
2 Seamen’s Protection Certificate for Frederick Pease [SHELVED IN OVERSIZED]; 1829 Jun 30 (1 item)
Box Folder
1 3 Letter from John Brown, Jr. (City Attorney of San Bernardino) to Frederick Pease (as President of the Society of California Pioneers of New England) regarding a reunion; 1891 May 2 (4 pieces)
4 Pioneer songs and typescript of a poem entitled “Written for the Reunion of the California Pioneer Excursionists”; 1890-1891 (3 items)
Frances A. Harlow; ca. 1860-ca. 1880
Box Folder
1 5 Vol. 2: Scrapbook of Frances A. Harlow. Newspaper clippings on general topics (religious, patriotic, humorous) pasted into a published book entitled “A System of Modern Geography” (very little of the text of the book is visible); ca. 1860-ca. 1880 (approx. 200 pp.)
Reverend William T. Harlow, Sr.; 1835-1874
Box Folder
1 6 Sermons, lectures, essays of William T. Harlow; 1836-1874 (6 items)
7 Journal of William T. Harlow begun in college at Wesleyan University; 1835-1838 (16 pp.)
8 Journal of William T. Harlow while at Newmarket Academy (New Hampshire); 1839-ca. 1853 (43 pp.)
9 “Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Emory & Henry College, Washington County, Va.” (1840), pamphlet regarding the Edgartown Methodist Episcopal Church, photographs (photocopies) of Mr. and Mrs. William T. Harlow; (4 items)
Julius I. Harlow; 1856-1871
Box Folder
1 10 Vol. 3: Journal of Julius I. Harlow, for voyages aboard numerous vessels, including QUICKSTEP, KINGFISHER, SAMUEL ROBERTSON, STARLIGHT, WINTHROP, JENNIE W. PAINE, GOLDEN FLEECE, REBECCA GODDARD, MONEYNICK, CALIFORNIA, LEWIS PERRY, WILLIAM C. MARCEY, WHISTLER, GRACE DARLING and SICILIAN, includes numerous pencil drawings; 1856 Dec 13-1871 Sep 11 (76 pp.)
11 Discharge certificate for Julius Harlow; 1865 Aug 8 (1 item)
12 Sailing card for bark WINDWARD with notations on back including description of accident that killed Julius Harlow, written by his father, William T. Harlow; typescript, history of bark including Julius Harlow’s fatal accident; ca. 1872 (2 items)
William T. Harlow, Jr.; 1874-1930
Box Folder
2 1 Vol. 4: Journal of William T. Harlow, Jr., for voyages on vessels HAZARD, NEPTUNE, and WILLIAM CRANE, includes pencil drawings; 1874 Feb 6-1875 May 14 (51 pp.)
2 Accounts of the accident that killed William T. Harlow, Jr.: letter from Wiley Harlow to Frederick Pease Harlow; newspaper accounts of accidents and aftermath; 1930 Feb 8-21 (13 items)
Frederick Pease Harlow
Box Folder
2 3 Vol. 5: Sketchbook, [drawn in a journal (1840 Aug 26-1851 Mar 15) of William T. Harlow, detailing seminary life and business transactions]; 1860-1880 (1 v.)
4 Vol. 6: Lesson book of F.P. Harlow primarily containing vocabulary lists; n.d. (1 v.)
5 Vol. 7: Journal of Frederick Pease Harlow, aboard ship AKBAR, 1875 Dec 2-1875 Jul 11; Schooner DAVID G. FLOYD, 1877 Sep-Nov; bark CONQUEST, 1878 May-Jun; and in East Boston, Chicago, New Mexico, Portland, Seattle, et al. 1878-1893; (1 v.)
6 Loose papers from F.P. Harlow journal aboard AKBAR (29 items)
7 Typescript, “Manuscript for The Making of a Sailor: Chanteying Aboard the SHIP AKBAR by F.P. Harlow”; ca. 1928 (ca. 200 p.)
8 Correspondence, agreements and notes related to the writing of “The Making of a Sailor”; 1911-1928 (8 items)
9 Notes and illustrations for “The Making of a Sailor”; ca. 1928 (13 items)
10 Advertisements for “The Making of a Sailor”; ca. 1928 (4 items)
11 Correspondence and reactions to “The Making of a Sailor”; 1928-1944 (15 items)
Box Folder
3 1 Typescript for a “maritime pot-boiler”; 1928 (24 p.)
2 General sketches and notes relating to F.P. Harlow model building; ca. 1930 (8 items)
3 Papers relating to the building of the model of the AKBAR; ca. 1930-1940 (17 items)
4 Papers relating to the building of the model of the CONQUEST; ca. 1930-1940 (3 items)
5 Papers relating to the building of the model of the GLORY OF THE SEAS; ca. 1930-1940 (5 items)
6 Papers relating to the building of the model of the GREAT ADMIRAL; ca. 1930-1940 (12 items)
7 Typescript entitled “Around the World”, an account of steamship trip westward around the world; 1935 Apr 1-1936 Jun 13 (124 p.)
8 Vol. 7: Journal of F.P. Harlow, of cross-county car trip from Seattle to New York; 1938 Jul 18-Dec 5 (97 p.)
9 Typescript, “Around the World”; 1944 Dec 6 (124 p.)
10 Typescript for “Chanteying Aboard American Ships” with hand corrections and foreword by Ernest Dodge; ca. 1945 (450 p.)
Box Folder
4 1 Sheet music for “Chanteying Aboard American Ships”; ca. 1945 (ca. 70 p.)
2 Typescript for “Chanteying Aboard American Ships”, and letter from H. Kinscella to F.P. Harlow; ca. 1945 (ca. 100 p.)
3 Manuscript sheet music, typed lyrics and printed materials relating to chanteys; ca. 1945 (ca. 75 p.)
4 Reviews and associated correspondence for “Chanteying Aboard American Ships”; ca. 1962 (ca. 35 items)
5 Manuscript, “Around the World”, some written on steamship stationary, some handwritten, some typed, includes copies of 14 typescript letters from F.P. Harlow to “Emma, Olive, and all” from posts around the world; ca. 1948 (ca. 200 p.)
8 Scrapbook of F.P. Harlow containing clippings about sports, trivia, history; and writing project notes; ca. 1926-ca. 1949 (76 p.)
6 Typescript of unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 1; 1945 (161 p.)
7 Unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 2; 1945- (185 p.)
8 Unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 2 (copy); 1945 (185 p.)
Box Folder
5 1 Typescript of unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 1; 1950 (315 p.)
2 Typescript of unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 2; 1950 (289 p.)
3 Typescript of unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 1, copy 1; 1951 (150 p.)
4 Typescript of unpublished memoirs of Frederick Pease Harlow, part 1, copy 2; 1951 (150 p.)
5 Music and notes related to the unpublished memoirs of F.P. Harlow ca. 1950 (ca. 120 pieces)
6 Illustrations related to the unpublished memoirs of F.P. Harlow ca. 1950 (ca. 140 pieces)
Box Folder
6 1 The American Neptune with article “While I’m At the Wheel” by F.P. Harlow; 1946 Apr (1 v.)
2 Verse written by F.P. Harlow and associated papers; ca. 1947-1950 (ca. 100 pieces)
3 General correspondence; 1880-1952 (11 items)
4 Catalogs relating to building scale models; ca. 1933 (2 items)
5 Clippings and notes about numerous vessels; (ca. 75 pieces)
6 Carlisle, John S. “The Strange Story of the Wallaby: a Hermaphrodite Brig Frequently Called ‘The Walloping Window Blind'”; 1946 (51 p.)
7 Photographs (photocopies) of World War I shipbuilding, and construction of auxiliary schooners at the Washington Shipping Corporation;1916-1918 (18 pieces)
Gertrude Gilleland Harlow; 1952-1959
Box Folder
6 8 Correspondence of Gertrude Gilleland Harlow, list of members of the Harlow Family Association, and biographical sketch of F.P. Harlow by Gertrude G. Harlow; 1944-1959 (20 items)
Miscellaneous materials
Box Folder
6 9 Correspondence, deeds, etc. of the Greiner family; 1911-1958 (13 items)
10 Eaton, George P. “My Life”; ca. 1940 (ca. 125 p.)
11 Newspaper clippings, and other miscellaneous materials on a variety of topics including sports, the death of President Woodrow Wilson, Ginling College in China, the John Paul Jones crypt, stainless steel, Mount Rainier National Park, J. Henri Fabre, etc.; (22 items)

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