Related Materials in the Huntington Library
Scope and Content
Title: Lewis R. Freeman Papers
Dates: Approximately 1913-1953
Collection Number: mssFreeman papers
Freeman, Lewis R. (Lewis Ransome),
The Huntington Library,
Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
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
the collection includes items reflecting on Freeman's extensive travel experiences and writings about trips to India, the
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
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
[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)
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- 2) Miscellaneous personal manuscripts, ephemera, and
- 3) Diaries; 4-6) Essays and articles (manuscripts)
- 7) Unidentified
- 8)Pencil manuscript: When Kalu Blooms
- 9-10) Typed book manuscripts
- 14) Negatives
- Oversize folder containing cover proofs for
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).
Freeman, Lewis R.
(Lewis Ransome), 1878-.
Huffman, L.A. (Laton
Ferrocarril de Guayaquil a Quinto--History.
Great Britain. Royal
Boats and boating.
Explorers and exploration.
World War, 1914-1918--History.
Canadian Rockies (B.C.
and Alta.)--Description and travel.
Area--Description and travel.
life and customs.
Polynesia--Description and travel.
life and customs.
Hiva Oa (French
India--Social life and
(French Polynesia)--Description and travel.
River--Description and travel.
River--Description and travel.
Oceania--Social life and
America--Description and travel.
Diaries--South America--20th century.
Diaries--United States--20th century.