Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
John B. Goodman Collection
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (164.10 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John B. Goodman Collection
    Dates: 1919-1991
    Collection Number: mssGoodmanpapers
    Creator: Goodman, John B. (John Bartlett), 1901-1991
    Extent: 1976 items in 29 boxes and 2 oversize folders
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection consists of twenty-nine boxes and two oversize folders concerning the California Gold Rush vessels, California county histories, and miscellaneous ephemera and illustrations.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John B. Goodman Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift from John B. Goodman, October 1991.

    Biographical Note

    John Bartlett Goodman III, (1901-1991) was born in Denver, Colorado and moved to California by the age of three, first to San Diego and then to Los Angeles in 1916. After high school he worked in an architect's office, but left in 1920 after a short time to join the art department of the Famous Players Lasky Company, an early motion picture company. Shortly after joining, Goodman became interested in maritime history and sailing ships. Goodman's forty-seven year professional career in the motion picture industry included work on 252 movies. He spent seventeen years with Paramount Studios, worked for Warner Brothers Studios, and served as supervising art director (1942-1945) for Universal Studios, after which, he pursued a freelance career as an independent art director. Goodman retired from film work in 1967. He died on June 30, 1991 in Los Angeles County, California.

    Scope and Content

    The "California Gold Rush Fleet Encyclopedia of Vessels Sailing from the East Coast of the United States and Canada for San Francisco, December 7-1848-December 31, 1849" comprises individual histories of 762 ships as well as various subject files, arranged in alphabetical order. Goodman records a broad spectrum of information derived from a variety of sources about the multitude of Gold Rush vessels. The bulk of the manuscripts are photocopies and some are heavily annotated in the author's hand. Some histories include hand colored illustrations of maps and ships. They were written and edited between 1970-1991.
    Note: This collection of factual data is also made available in tabular form for "instant recall" in The Key to the Goodman Encyclopedia of the California Gold Rush Fleet as published by the Zamarano Club in 1992.
    The addenda box includes various illustrations, lists, and statistics regarding the California Gold Rush vessels. The contents are arranged alphabetically by subject.
    Boxes 13-18 contain the original typescripts to "Goodman's Encyclopedia of the California Gold Rush Fleet." The contents are arranged alphabetically by ship name.
    Boxes 19-23 consist of manuscripts and related matter regarding the California Gold Rush. Box 19 contains another version of Goodman's Gold Rush encyclopedia with very few corrections. Folders 5 and 6 are Goodman's draft of factual data in tabular form entitled "The John B. Goodman III Cellular Computer for the 1849 Gold Rush Fleet." Also included is a manuscript of "For California: Direct in 1849-List of Mining Companies Formed in Various States & Sailed from Various Atlantic Seaports." The third binder consisted of "The 1849 'California Fleet' Excerpts from original Diaries and Journals consulted by John B. Goodman 3rd." The last two items are photocopies and miscellaneous notes from the San Jose Pioneer.
    Boxes 20-21 consist of manuscripts and notes removed from three binders. The first binder housed miscellaneous materials accumulated by Goodman pertaining to the California Gold Rush vessels. Subjects found in this binder included a tally of Gold Rush vessels built, a list of ship and map illustrations, a list of arrival and departures, bibliography of works consulted, list of mining companies sailing for California, names of captains and their vessels, list of store ships, and other assorted lists. The second binder consisted of "Boats Arriving in San Francisco Bay," which are notes and excerpts extracted from the San Francisco Weekly, Tri-Weekly, and Daily Alta California. Also removed from this binder is an orange folder with a chronological list of vessels sailing from New York for California and Way Ports from December 7, 1848-December 31, 1849. The last two items in Box 21 are two books: "Index to the Argonauts of California" by Charles Warren Haskins and "A Reminiscence of Parker H. French Expedition through Texas & Mexico to California in the Spring of 1850."
    Boxes 22-23 consist of clippings, notes, journals, photographs, printed matter, and other materials related to the California Gold Rush. The excerpts and notes are from various publications, which include the Boston Daily Evening Transcript, New York Daily Herald, and New York Tribune. The photographs consist of images of the West from Goodman's personal collection and reproductions of San Francisco photographs from the San Francisco Public Library. The manuscripts and printed matter includes personal stories, autobiographies, and journeys of individuals such as Meredith Tarlton Moore, a soldier in the Mexican War and a trader on the California Trail, and Jacob Marhoffer, a prominent citizen of Crescent City, California.
    Boxes 24-27 include materials related to Goodman's unpublished manuscript "An Annotated Bibliography of California County Histories." Boxes 24-25 are photocopies of the typescript. Box 26 contains another version of Goodman's California county histories. These were once contained in a binder and appear to be an earlier version of the photocopies in Boxes 24 and 25. Box 27 includes additional pages from Goodman's bibliography. The bulk of these pages are fragments and duplicates. Other contents in Box 27 include correspondence, maps, notes, negatives and prints related to California counties.
    Illustrations are found in Boxes 28-29 and two oversize folders. Box 28 includes pen and ink and rough sketches for John W. Wood, an unknown manuscript, in Goodman's hand. The bulk of these illustrations depict life on the Overland Trails and in the mines. The first folder consists of miscellaneous notes and maps regarding these illustrations. The contents are arranged alphabetically by the caption or title of the illustration. Some of these illustrations include preliminary sketches and prints. Box 29 includes 33 folders of miscellaneous illustrations and ephemera. The bulk of these illustrations are in the hand of Goodman while others are prints. They were possibly done in relation to his work as an art director for Paramount and Universal Studios from 1932-1946. The first oversize folder contains thirty-three printed illustrations for the Thompson and West publication of "History of Santa Barbara County, California." The second oversize folder consists of four miscellaneous sketches and ephemera.
    Cataloger's Notes
    Goodman's autograph notes and corrections appear throughout the collection.
    Some of the ship histories include an empty envelope with notes; in some instances, the envelope does not bear any writing.
    Goodman also commonly used the back and front of letters for his notes and manuscripts. This is seen throughout the collection.
    There are duplicates and variations of Goodman’s manuscripts and notes in parts of the collection. For instance, certain lists found in Box 12: Addenda could also be found in the manuscripts and notes removed from a binder in Box 20.


    The John B. Goodman collection consists of twenty-nine boxes and two oversize folders arranged in three sections:
    Boxes 1-23: Goodman’s Gold Rush encyclopedia and related matter
    Boxes 24-27: California county histories and related matter
    Boxes 28-29 and oversize folders: Ephemera and illustrations

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Personal Names

    Goodman, John B. (John Bartlett), 1901-1991


    Art direction--Designs and plans
    Barks (Sailing ships)
    Costume design
    Mineral industries--California
    Overland journeys to the Pacific--Personal narratives
    Overland journeys to the Pacific--Pictorial works
    Sailing ships
    Voyages and travels
    Voyages to the Pacific Coast--Personal narratives

    Geographic Areas

    California--Gold discoveries--Personal narratives
    California--Gold discoveries--Pictorial works
    California--History, Local--Bibliography


    Bibliographies--United States--20th century
    Biographies (documents)--United States--20th century
    Illustrations (process)--United States--20th century
    Letters (correspondence)--United States--20th century
    Manuscripts--United States--20th century
    Photographs--United States--20th century
    Preliminary sketches (sketches)--United States--20th century
    Printed ephemera--United States--20th century
    Sketches--United States--20th century