Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Lewis R. Freeman Papers
mssFreeman papers  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (129.03 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lewis R. Freeman Papers
    Dates: Approximately 1913-1953
    Collection Number: mssFreeman papers
    Creator: Freeman, Lewis R. (Lewis Ransome), 1878-.
    Extent: 930 items
    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 focuses on the travel writings of American journalist and explorer Lewis Freeman (1878-1960), from the early 1900s through the 1950s. The collection also includes some personal and professional correspondence and manuscripts, photographs, and diaries including those of trips to Alaska (1898-1900) and the Canadian Rockies (1916). Much of the correspondence consists of responses from various publications in response to Freeman’s proposed books and articles and, overall, the collection includes items reflecting on Freeman's extensive travel experiences and writings about trips to India, the South Pacific, South America, Canada, Cuba, along the Mississippi River, Samoa, Hawaii, China, French Polynesia, and Indonesia.
    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]. Lewis R. Freeman Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Margaret D. Traylor, July 1963.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    • Lewis R. Freeman Photograph Collection (photCL 422)

    Biographical Note

    Lewis Ransome Freeman (1878-1960) was born in Genoa Junction, Wisconsin, and moved to Pasadena, California, as a child. After graduating from Stanford University he spent many of the years between 1899 and 1912 traveling in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. In addition to his extensive travels, Freeman was also an accomplished athlete, lettering in football, baseball, tennis, and track while attending Stanford. He coached the University of Southern California football team in 1897, and in 1903 won the single and doubles titles at the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament.
    Freeman worked as a war correspondent during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, and during World War I served as correspondent with the British, French, and Italian armies. He was also a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve from 1917-1918, and was on the staff of the Inter-Allied Naval Armistance Commission that traveled to Germany in 1918. He had previously traveled to China with the Pacific Coast Chamber of Commerce in 1910. In the years following World War I, Freeman continued to travel, serving as a special correspondent for the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet on a cruise to Australasia in 1925 and during fleet maneuvers in 1929, 1932, and 1935. He also became an active photographer, working on a U.S. Geological Survey expedition to the Grand Canyon in 1923 and providing the photographs for a special edition of “The Feet of the Young Men” by Rudyard Kipling.
    In the 1930s Freeman’s interest turned to boating and airplane expeditions. In 1930 he joined an expedition to Central and South America, and in 1933 began a series of exploratory flights over South America. After returning to the United States, Freeman embarked on a bicycle trip that ultimately took him from Los Angeles to Vancouver to Montreal, finally ending in New York City in 1935. The next year he returned to South America and participated in cruises to the Juan Fernandez Islands and Tierra del Fuego. Later travels from 1936-1941 took him to the headwaters of the Amazon River, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil.
    Freeman was the author of over 20 books, many of them focusing on his travel experiences. His works include Stories of the Ships (1919), To Kiel in the Hercules (1919), In the Tracks of the Trades: The Account of a Fourteen Thousand Mile Yachting Cruise to the Hawaiis, Marquesas, Societies, Samoas and Fijis (1920), When Cassi Blooms (1922), By Waterways to Gotham (1926), Afloat and Aflight in the Caribbean (1932), Marquesan Nocturne (1936), Discovering South America (1937), and Many Rivers (1937). He retired to Pasadena, California, in 1955 and died in 1960.

    Scope and Content

    The collection focuses on Lewis Freeman’s travel writings from the early 1900s through the 1950s, and includes unpublished book and article manuscripts, published articles in printed journals, and correspondence with various agents and publishers regarding Freeman’s writing submissions. The collection also includes some personal manuscripts, photographs, and diaries.
    The correspondence includes personal letters from British Military Secretary Sir Douglas Brownrigg (1919-1921); a letter from L.A. Huffman regarding ordering photographs (1922); a letter from photo artist Byron Harmon regarding Freeman’s travel photographs (1925); and reviews and fan mail from various correspondents regarding Freeman’s published books and articles. Navy correspondence includes a letter from the Lords Commissioners of the British Admiralty granting Freeman the rank of Temporary Honorary Lieutenant RNVR aboard the H.M.S. President (1917); a letter from Richard W. Gruelick of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence regarding Freeman’s joining of a fleet sailing from Hawaii for an Australia-New Zealand Cruise (1925); a letter from R.S. Berkey of the U.S.S. California inviting Freeman to come aboard by favor of Admiral Pratt (1929); a letter from H.V. Butler of the U.S.S. Texas passing on edits made by Admiral Wiley to one of Freeman’s forthcoming articles (1929); a letter from N.W. Camanole of the U.S. War Department asking for Freeman’s cooperation in supplying his knowledge as an “authority of the Far East”; and a letter from S.C. Godfrey of the War Department’s Mississippi River Commission, which includes 8 photographs taken on the U.S. tender boat Willow. Also included is correspondence and maps from the Hillman-Long Company regarding Freeman's oil leases in Orange County, California (1936-1937). There are a few pieces of correspondence written by Freeman, including two extensive letters to the Secretary of the Explorers Club (1946). Much of the correspondence consists of responses – both of acceptance and rejection – from various publications in response to Freeman’s proposed books and articles. Correspondents include The Authors’ League of America, Bus Transportation , The Daily Telegraph, Dodd, Mead and Company, Fox Film Corporation, The Hudson's Bay Company, The Illustrated London News, the Italy America Society, the League of American Pen Women, The Livingston Enterprise, the London Joint City and Midland Bank Limited, The London Times, National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, and Sunset Magazine.
    The miscellaneous manuscripts and ephemera include personal items such as Freeman’s passport (1916-1917), Colombian identity card (1930), and various song lyrics and poems; naval dispatches sent by Freeman during his time aboard the U.S.S. California, the U.S. Submarine Holland, the U.S. Destroyer Litchfield, and the U.S.S. Saratoga (c.1929); a group of destroyer reports from the British Admiralty (1916-1918); sheet music composed by Freeman and Helen Lurens Gaut (1924); excerpts from various publications; a copy of the introduction to Freeman’s photographs for “The Feet of the Young Men”; and 46 pieces of newspaper clippings and printed ephemera.
    The photographs in Box 2 include those for Freeman’s articles “Amazon Navigation” and “Rubber,” one of a tree at Cedar Breaks National Park in Utah, a scene of an Indian village at Walpi on the Colorado River, a portrait photograph of Freeman by G. Maillard-Kesslere, a posed portrait of the Delta Phi Club (1895), navy photographs of Freeman and Commander Ramsoy, and a photograph of Freeman on an unidentified tundra.
    The diaries include those of Freeman’s trips to Alaska (1898-1900) and the Canadian Rockies (1916), as well as undated accounts of travels to Colombia and throughout South America, to the Marquesas and the South Seas, along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and brief accounts of trips to Wisconsin and Grand Rapids.
    The essays and articles consist of typed copies of Freeman's stories, many of which were later published. Some of the articles are accompanied by photographs, several of which were also used in later publications. The articles focus on Freeman’s extensive travel experiences, including his trips to India, the South Pacific, South America, Canada, Cuba, along the Mississippi River, Samoa, Hawaii, China, French Polynesia, and Indonesia. Other topics covered in the articles include Rudyard Kipling, World War I (including the British Red Cross in Italy and battles over Serbia), naval events, new forms of electricity, the Guayaquil and Quinto Railway, the conditions of Chinese immigrants in ship steerage, the Shanghai Plague Riot, hunting in British East Africa, and the use of whale meat.
    The unidentified book notes include manuscript pages and notebooks containing fragments of writings apparently to be used in constructing book texts. The pencil manuscript for When Kalu Blooms contains original drafts for portions of the book, although significant sections (including chapters 6-13) are not included. The typed book manuscripts consist of annotated typescripts and galley proofs for portions of Afloat and Aflight in the Caribbean, Boating Arctic Rivers, Caribbean Jungle Jaunts, Discovering South America, Dogs and Dog-Fights, Many Rivers, Marquesan Nocturne (2 versions of the complete manuscript), Waterways of Western Wandering, and When Kalu Blooms.
    The publications include articles that appeared in printed journals and other publications. Some of the many and widely varied topics the articles explore are bus travel, boating American rivers, railroads in Asia, Africa, and South America, hydro-electricity, industrialization in Italy, polo and tennis in California, World War I, the future of Jerusalem, business opportunities in the Philippines, Turkey's relationship to Asia, and flight exploration. While most of the articles were written by Freeman, there are also a few pieces by other authors, including R.J. Bjierstedt, Arthur James, Angus McGregor, Moacir Simardi, and Gino Speranza, as well as an interview with Freeman that appeared in Andean Air Mail and Peruvian Times (1942). Some of the publications include The Atlantic Monthly, World Today, Motor Boating, Bus Transportation, The American Review of Reviews, Outing Magazine, The Outlook, The Los Angeles Times, The Pacific Monthly, Popular Mechanics Magazine, Overland Monthly, The Sportsman, Andean Air Mail and Peruvian Times, and The Sportsman Pilot.


    The collection is organized in fourteen boxes and one oversize folder. Items are arranged alphabetically by author or title.
    The boxes are arranged as follows:
    • 1) Correspondence
    • 2) Miscellaneous personal manuscripts, ephemera, and photographs
    • 3) Diaries; 4-6) Essays and articles (manuscripts)
    • 7) Unidentified book notes
    • 8)Pencil manuscript: When Kalu Blooms
    • 9-10) Typed book manuscripts
    • 11-13) Publications
    • 14) Negatives
    • Oversize folder containing cover proofs for Trails Magazine
    Aside from one series of photographs in Box 2 and a set of 8 photographs accompanying a letter in Box 1 (folder 22), all photographs in the collection are included with the article manuscripts they were intended to be published with (as noted in the container list).

    Indexing Terms

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

    Personal Names

    Brownrigg, Douglas, Sir, 1886-1946.
    Freeman, Lewis R. (Lewis Ransome), 1878-.
    Huffman, L.A. (Laton Alton), 1854-1931.
    Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936.

    Corporate Names

    Compania del Ferrocarril de Guayaquil a Quinto--History.
    Great Britain. Royal Navy.--History.
    United States. Navy.--History.


    Air travel--History.
    Boats and boating.
    Bus travel.
    Explorers and exploration.
    World War, 1914-1918--History.

    Geographic Areas

    Alaska--Description and travel.
    Australia--Description and travel.
    Canada--Description and travel.
    Canadian Rockies (B.C. and Alta.)--Description and travel.
    Caribbean Area--Description and travel.
    Caribbean Area--History--1810-1945.
    Caribbean Area--Social life and customs.
    China--History--20th century.
    Colombia-Description and travel.
    Cuba--Description and travel.
    French Polynesia--Description and travel.
    French Polynesia--History.
    French Polynesia--Social life and customs.
    Great Britain--History--20th century.
    Hiva Oa (French Polynesia)
    India--Description and travel.
    India--History--20th century.
    India--Social life and customs.
    Indonesia--Description and travel.
    Italy--History--20th century
    Jerusalem--History--20th century.
    Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia)--Description and travel.
    Mississippi River--Description and travel.
    Missouri River--Description and travel.
    Oceanea--Description and travel.
    Oceania--Discovery and exploration.
    Oceania--Social life and customs.
    Samoan Islands--History.
    South America--Description and travel.
    South America--History--20th century.
    South America--Social conditions--20th century.
    Turkey--History--20th century.
    West Indies--Description and travel.
    West Indies--History--20th century.


    Diaries--Canada--20th century.
    Diaries--French Polynesia--20th century.
    Diaries--South America--20th century.
    Diaries--United States--20th century.
    Ephemera--20th century.
    Essays--20th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Great Britain--20th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--United States--20th century.
    Publications--South America--20th century.
    Publications--United States--20th century.
    Photographs--20th century.