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John Haskell Kemble Commercial Maritime Ephemera Collection: Finding Aid
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Item-level Inventory of the Kemble Maritime Ephemera
  • Digitized material
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Related Materials in other repositories
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: John Haskell Kemble commercial maritime ephemera collection
    Dates (inclusive): 1855-1990
    Bulk dates: 1920-1940
    Collection Number: ephJHK
    Collector: Kemble, John Haskell, 1912-1990.
    Extent: 214 boxes (98.6 linear feet), over 24,000 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection forms part of the John Haskell Kemble maritime collection compiled by American maritime historian John Haskell Kemble (1912-1990). The collection contains ephemeral materials including ship histories, travel brochures, schedules and passenger lists from over 925 shipping companies.
    Language: The materials are primarily in English; small amounts of material in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, and Japanese.


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

    Access Information

    Oversize volumes in boxes 205-214 are RESTRICTED due to the fragility of the items. They are not pageable and are accessible with curatorial permission only.

    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 Haskell Kemble commercial maritime ephemera collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of John Haskell Kemble, 1960s-1990s.

    Processing/Project Information

    Collection processed 1999 to 2006 by Mario M. Einaudi. Finding aid revised June, 2008, following the assignment of series numbers to individual companies by Mario M. Einaudi. Encoded by Diann Benti in 2017. Revised by Charla DelaCuadra in 2019, following the standardization of box and folder numbers.

    Biographical Note

    John Haskell Kemble (1912-1990), Jack to his family and friends, was born June 17, 1912, in Marshalltown, Iowa. He was the only child of Ira Oscar Kemble and Caroline Haskell Kemble. His father owned and operated several greenhouses which grew flowers for the florist trade. In the late teens, Jack's father sold most of his greenhouses and in 1921, the family moved to California. The Kemble family first lived in Eagle Rock, then Pasadena. Jack graduated from Pasadena High School in 1930, and went to Pasadena Junior College in 1931, before transferring to Stanford, where he earned his B.A. in 1933. He then crossed the Bay and studied under Prof. Herbert Eugene Bolton at the University of California, Berkeley, earning his M.A. in 1934, and his Ph.D. in 1937. Through the contacts made by Bolton and Henry Wagner, Kemble joined the Pomona College faculty in 1936 as a Professor of History. He retired from Pomona 41 years later, in 1977. During World War II Kemble served in the U.S. Navy, from 1942-1946, in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations and on the Staff of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas. In October 1945 he received a Commendation Ribbon from Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor. Kemble rose from Ensign to Lieutenant Commander during the war, remained active in the US Naval Reserve after the war, and retired as Commander, USNR, in 1960.
    In peacetime Kemble was also busy outside of his professorial duties at Pomona. He was a Visiting Professor, at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., 1952-1953; was on the faculty of the Munson Institute of American Maritime History, Mystic, Conn., teaching during Summers from 1955-1981; served on the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Committee on Naval History from 1961-1980; and on the California State Historical Resources Commission from 1976-1979 and again from 1985-1990 (Chairman, 1987-1988).
    His PhD thesis, The Panama Route, 1848-1869, was first published by the Univ. of California Press in 1943, and remains one of the principle resources on that pivotal time in US and Pacific Maritime history. He also wrote San Francisco Bay: a pictorial maritime history, published by the Cornell Maritime Press in 1957 and was the editor for a definitive edition of Two years before the mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., published by Ward Ritchie Press in 1964; he also edited To California and the South Seas: the diary of Albert G. Osbun, 1849-1851, published by the Huntington Library in 1966.
    Kemble was an active member of the Zamorano Club, as well as other organizations and groups including: the California Historical Society; E Clampus Vitus; and the Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners. In February of 1990 Kemble was on his fourth round the World cruise on the P&O liner Canberra when, between New Zealand and Australia, he passed away, asleep in a deck chair.

    Scope and Content

    This collection forms part of the John Haskell Kemble maritime collection compiled by American maritime historian John Haskell Kemble (1912-1990). Kemble assembled his archive by saving souvenirs from his own travels as well as by purchasing items from travel agencies and other collectors. There are over 24,000 items in the collection including ship histories, brochures, schedules, passenger lists, accommodation plans, menus, and publicity pamphlets. More than 925 shipping companies are represented including American President Lines, Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd., Cunard Steamship Company, Holland Amerika Lijn, Matson Navigation Company, Pacific Mail Steamship Company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and White Star Line.

    Item-level Inventory of the Kemble Maritime Ephemera

    Digitized material

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library   to view digitized selections from this collection.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Related collection of maritime books from Kemble's library is fully cataloged and may be searched under individual titles in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.   The collection may also be accessed as a whole by searching TITLE -- "John Haskell Kemble maritime collection", or AUTHOR -- " Kemble, John Haskell, 1912-1990, donor."

    Related Materials in other repositories

    A portion of the Pacific Coast Steamship Companies Collection records were acquired by The Claremont Colleges (Claremont, Calif.) in 1940. Dr. Kemble aided in the sorting and selection of the papers to be acquired, and the guide can be found here: Guide to the Pacific Coast steamship companies collection.  


    The maritime ephemera is organized alphabetically by corporate name. Each corporate entity has a four digit number which appears in parentheses following the name. The material for each corporate entity is organized into the following four groupings: brochures; schedules and rates; ship information; and other items. Brochures are primarily multi-page pamphlets, but may also include flyers and broadsides. Schedules and rates are organized in reverse chronological order. Kemble organized the schedules in this manner, and his original arrangement is preserved. Ship information also preserves Kemble’s original order for ephemera about individual ships: menus, passenger lists, accommodation plans, and publicity pamphlets. The final grouping, other items, contains miscellaneous ephemera not fitting the previous three groupings.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Advertising -- Tourism.
    Advertising -- Transportation.
    American Export Lines, Inc.
    American President Lines, Ltd.
    Anchor Line (Firm)
    Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd.
    Compagnie générale transatlantique
    Costa crociere (Firm)
    Cunard Steamship Company, ltd.
    Dollar Steamship Lines
    Grace Line
    Hamburg-American Line
    Holland Amerika Lijn
    Italian Line
    Matson Navigation Company
    Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc.
    Nihon Yūsen Kabushiki Kaisha
    Norddeutscher Lloyd
    Norske Amerikalinje
    Pacific Steamship Company
    Panama Pacific Line
    Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
    Princess Cruises, Inc.
    Red Star Line
    Royal Mail Lines, ltd.
    Royal Viking Line (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Sitmar (Firm : Genoa Italy)
    Steamboat lines.
    Svenska Amerika linien, ab.
    United Fruit Company
    United States Lines Company
    White Star Line


    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Leaflets (printed works)
    Printed ephemera
    Promotional materials