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George H. Mendell Correspondence: Finding Aid
mssHM 77770-77910  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection consists of letters from George H. Mendell to D.D. Clarke, engineer of the Water Board for Portland, Oregon, between 1897 and 1899. Mendell writes detailed letters of instruction and advice for engineering issues raised by Clarke, particularly regarding drainage, wells, and the sinking of shafts.
Background
Colonel George Henry Mendell was born in Pennsylvania in 1831 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1852. Mendell joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served with a variety of topographical surveys before the Civil War, including the survey of the Northwestern Lakes (1852-1854) and various posts in the Oregon and Washington Territory (1855-1858). He was also an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy from 1859-1863. During the Civil War he served under Colonel Miles in the Manassas Campaign (1861) and carried on siege operations in the Petersburg, Virginia area (1864); was Assistant Engineer of Defenses of Baltimore (1864); and was Superintending Engineer of the construction of the Defenses of New Bedford Harbor, Massachusetts (1865) and the Preservation of Plymouth Beach, Massachusetts (1866). He was made a Colonel for his war service in 1865 and subsequently became superintending engineer in charge of fortifications of Alcatraz Island and Lime Point, San Francisco Harbor (beginning 1867) and for defenses of the Columbia River (1867-1871). He later served on the board of engineers for fortifications of the Pacific Coast (1867-1886); on the commission for a system of irrigation for the San Joaquin, Tulare, and Sacramento Valleys (1873-1874); was Supervising Engineer of Districts in California, Oregon, and Washington in charge of junior officers (1884-1888); was Division Engineer for Inspection of Engineer Works in the Pacific territory (beginning in 1888); was Division Engineer of the Pacific Division (until 1895); and was in charge of construction of defenses of San Francisco Harbor (1890-1895). In civilian life he worked as Engineer to the Water Commissioners of San Francisco (1876-1878), was the author of a report on water supply for San Francisco (1877), and was Consulting Engineer for the State of California (1878-1880). Mendell retired from the Engineering Corps due to mandatory age requirements in 1895. Following his military retirement he worked as a consulting engineer in San Francisco, where he died in 1902. The Battery Mendell at Fort Barry was named in his honor.
Extent
141 items in 2 boxes
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.