Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
A guide to the Ron Cleveland photographs, 1900, 1950-1984
P90-062 (SAFR 22583)  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (207.94 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication and Use Rights
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Historical or Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Content
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Title: Ron Cleveland photographs
    Date: 1900,
    Date: 1950-1984
    Date (bulk): 1969-1979
    Identifier/Call Number: P90-062 (SAFR 22583)
    Creator: Cleveland, Ron, 1912-1987
    Physical Description: 4386 items. Some items available online.
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The Ron Cleveland photographs, 1900, 1950-1984, bulk 1969-1979 (SAFR 22583, P90-062) are comprised of photographs of the ship models KOHALA, KATHLEEN, and LEON built by Ron Cleveland from 1965-1984, photographs of vessels, model ships, and places Cleveland traveled, circa 1960s-1980s, and oral histories and films, 1966-1984. The collection is processed at the File Unit level with some Items listed.
    Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
    Language(s): English


    This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted.

    Publication and Use Rights

    Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

    Processing Note

    The photographs in this collection were separated from the Ron Cleveland papers (HDC 1061, SAFR 12782). There are dummy folders in the manuscript collection and manuscript finding aid for some of these photographs. The references are not specific enough to point to a particular image but they do indicate the subject matter of the photographs that were removed.
    Photographs were arranged into File Units within each Series based on Cleveland's original groupings. Some of the original enclosures had notes regarding subject and date written on them. When there were no notes on the original enclosure, archives staff named the File Unit based on the subject of the photographs and placed them in chronological order among the other File Units. Many of the original enclosures were undated, and for Series 1-3, dates were assigned based on the known completion date of the model. Most slides were printed with the date they were processed and these were used to date the photos, with the caveat that the actual photographs may have been taken earlier than the year they were processed.
    It should be noted that not all negatives have associated prints, and some prints do not have associated negatives; therefore, both the prints and the negatives may need to be consulted to view all of the images.
    The oral histories and films in Series 5 have been described as best as possible, using the information written on the original boxes and cassettes/reels. Once these recordings and films are digitized, we will be able to listen to (and/or watch) the materials and we will be able to update and enhance these descriptions.
    The collection was processed by Amy Croft and M. Crawford, 2011. A second set of material from accession SAFR-00230 was found after the finding aid was created in 2011; this second set of material was integrated into the finding aid in December 2012.
    The descriptions in this collection guide were compiled using the best available sources of information. Such sources include the creator's annotations or descriptions, collection accession files, primary and secondary source material and subject matter experts. While every effort was made to provide accurate information, in the event that you find any errors in this guide please contact the reference staff in order for us to evaulate and make corrections to this guide.
    Please cite the title and collection number in any correspondence with our staff.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item description], [Location within collection organization identified by Collection Number/Series Number/File Unit Number/Item Number], P90-062 (SAFR 22583), Ron Cleveland photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    SAFR-00230: The Ron Cleveland manuscripts and photographs were donated to the SF Maritime Museum by Mrs. Jo Dee Cleveland in the fall of 1990. These photographs were separated from the Ron Cleveland papers (SAFR 12782, HDC 1061).
    (23) sound recordings and (2) film reels were received with the Ron Cleveland Papers in 1990 as part of accession SAFR-00230, and were transferred to the library on August 20, 1990. They were subsequently returned to this photograph collection.

    Historical or Biographical Note

    Ron Cleveland (1912-1987) was a California architect who had a strong interest in maritime history and the construction and practices of 19th century sailing vessels, particularly the structure and rigging of West Coast barkentines.
    Ronald Millard Cleveland was born in McClellan, Washington, on June 28, 1912. He was a Fine Arts graduate of the University of Washington and a graduate designer of the Art Center School of Los Angeles. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects. Cleveland worked as a sketch artist in the movie industry eventually becoming the West Coast Regional Director of Raymond Loewy Associates, a firm of industrial designers in Los Angeles where he worked for four years.
    In 1947, Ron formed his own firm with his partner Sterling Leach. He worked as a principle architect at Leach, Cleveland and Associates for 36 years, specializing in the design of over 100 Southern California supermarkets. The firm designed some permanent exhibits at the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry and was retained in 1968 by the California Museum Foundation as consultants for, and designers of the exhibit "The Queen Mary Story," as part of Jacques Cousteau's Museum of the Sea, on board QUEEN MARY while she was a museum ship in Long Beach.
    Ron's interest in maritime history started because his grandfather worked on spritsail barges on the Thames River in England in the late 19th century. From 1965-1969, Cleveland built his first ship model, the English spritsail barge KATHLEEN, and donated it to England's National Maritime Museum in May 1973. From around 1966-1970, Ron also completed a model of the Norwegian brigantine LEON. He chose to build this model because there was a lot of extant documentation about its construction and it was a relatively straightforward model to build.
    In 1969, Ron began construction of a model of the barkentine KOHALA, which took him nearly 15 years to complete. During this time he wrote a manuscript titled "Rigging of West Coast Barkentines and Schooners" which has details about the construction of his model of the KOHALA. According to Ron, Karl Kortum told him that to his knowledge, no one had pursued the study of structure and rigging of West Coast barkentines to the extent that Cleveland had over this 15 year period.
    Cleveland did extensive research using archival and library resources to ascertain the specifications of the vessels that he created, in order to build them to scale as accurately as possible. Ron also consulted with other maritime historians and people who had worked or sailed on similar vessels in the past, particularly to ensure that he built the structure and rigging correctly. For example, he interviewed Harlan Gow, who worked as a shipwright in the Bendixsen shipyard from 1898-1908, about how they had built the West Coast vessels. Cleveland also interviewed Lester Stone, whose grandfather built one of the first shipyards in California in 1853; Lester started running the family business in 1923. Cleveland also relied on the assistance and knowledge of Robert "Bob" Weinstein, Captain Fred Klebingat, and San Francisco Maritime Museum Founder and Chief Curator Karl Kortum. Ron joined the Nautical Research Guild in 1964 and later began a Southern California Chapter with the assistance of Robert Weinstein. The Guild is devoted to maritime history, particularly ship model building.
    In 1985, Mr. Cleveland donated the KOHALA model to the National Maritime Museum in San Francisco, now known as the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. The model of the KOHALA is on permanent display in the San Francisco Maritime Museum at 900 Beach Street. In addition to this model of a vessel that played a role in 20th century maritime history and commerce, Ron's extensive research and notes are a valuable resource about how KOHALA was constructed and can be found in his manuscript collection, also held at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Although the age of sail has past, Ron's model of KOHALA literally and figuratively preserves a small piece of that history with remarkable accuracy.
    Ron Cleveland was married to Jo Dee and they had three children: Stacey, Eric, and Gregory. Ron Cleveland died in Costa Mesa, California on May 23, 1987.
    Written by Amy Croft and M. Crawford, 2011.
    Source: Ron Cleveland papers, 1867-1987. SFMNHP, (SAFR 12782, HDC 1061).

    Collection Scope and Content

    The Ron Cleveland photographs, 1900, 1950-1984, bulk 1969-1979 (SAFR 22583, P90-062) are comprised of photographs of the ship models KOHALA, KATHLEEN, and LEON built by Ron Cleveland from 1965-1984, photographs of vessels, model ships, and places Cleveland traveled, circa 1960s-1980s, and oral histories and films, 1966-1984. The collection is processed at the File Unit level with some Items listed.
    This collection primarily contains photographs of ship models built by Ron Cleveland from 1965-1984. There are 3572 unique photographic images, in 4361 physical forms (prints, negatives, transparencies, slides and postcards). There are also 25 sound recordings and films.
    The photographs are primarily progress shots of his work on the 4-masted barkentine KOHALA, the spritsail barge KATHLEEN, and the brigantine LEON. There are some images of Ron Cleveland working on the models and standing in front of them after their completion. The collection also includes photographs used in his research on how to build the models and includes images of C.A. THAYER, FALLS OF CLYDE, and STAR OF INDIA. There are a few photographs from his travels including Hawaii, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, and the Musee de la Marine in Paris. Additionally there are oral history recordings from 1966-1984 about West Coast shipbuilding, and 2 films of CHRISTIAN RADICH (built 1937; full rigged ship) and Thames barges, recorded in 1979.

    Collection Arrangement

    Arranged into five Series: Series 1: Kohala (built 1901; barkentine, 4m); Series 2: Kathleen (built 1901; spritsail barge); Series 3: Leon (built 1880; brigantine); Series 4: Vessels, Model Ships, and Travel photographs; Series 5: Oral Histories and Films. The first four Series are further arranged into Subseries and File Units.

    Related Materials

    Related photograph collections: Ron Cleveland photographs of Kohala (built 1901; barkentine, 4m) ship model, circa 1978. SFMNHP, (SAFR 15225, P79-098). The photographs consist of 6 color photographic prints, 3.5 x 5 in., showing details of the unfinished model. Photographed by Ron Cleveland around 1978. Views include the entire length of the hull with no deck planking in the center and lengths of wood piled in the hull; details of timbers below deck and knees in place; details of hull ribs; hull's interior; main hatch opening; and a knee photographed next to a nickel for scale) -
    Kathleen (built 1901; spritsail barge), 1969. SFMNHP, (Classified photograph collection, K10.23818.01-K10.23818.05).5 color photographic prints of the Thames River sailing barge built by Ron Cleveland.
    Related manuscript and museum collections: Ron Cleveland papers, 1867-1987. SFMNHP, (SAFR 12782, HDC1061) Model of the KOHALA built by Ron Cleveland, circa 1980. SFMNHP, (SAFR 15523).
    • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    Ron Cleveland model of the Kohala (built 1901; barkentine, 4m), SAFR 15523.
    • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    Ron Cleveland model of the Kathleen (built 1901; spritsail barge)
    • This material is located at National Maritime Museum in London

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ship models
    Scale models
    Sailing ships-Models
    Sailing ships
    eveland, Ron, 1912-1987
    hala (built 1901; barkentine, 4m)
    Kathleen (built 1901; spritsail barge)
    Leon (built 1880; brigantine)
    Color slides
    Color negatives
    Color prints (photographs)
    Contact sheets
    Black-and-white negatives
    Black-and-white prints (photographs)
    Photograph albums
    Sound recordings
    Moving images
    oral histories (document genres)
    Model makers