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A guide to the John J. Gorman photograph collection, 1898-1955
P87-032 (SAFR 23367)  
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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: John J. Gorman photograph collection
    Date: 1898-1955
    Date (bulk): 1912-1923
    Identifier/Call Number: P87-032 (SAFR 23367)
    Creator: Gorman, John J.
    Physical Description: 1075 items.
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The John J. Gorman photograph collection, 1898-1955, bulk 1912-1923, (SAFR 23367, P87-032) is primarily comprised of photographs of John Gorman's travels as a marine engineer for Standard Oil Company and his personal travels, mostly in California, as well as ephemera from professional and personal activities. The collection has been processed to the File Unit level with some Items listed and is open for use.
    Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
    Language(s): In 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

    One photograph is missing from page 110 of Photograph album 1; it is unknown whether or not this was missing when it was received in 1987.
    Description Notes: Dates refer to when the original photograph was taken, not to when the photographic print was created.
    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], P87-032 (SAFR 23367), John J. Gorman photograph collection, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    GOGA-01255: This photograph collection was donated by Julia Gorman Porter (c/o Catherine P. Short) on October 8, 1987, and formally accessioned on October 20, 1987.
    SAFR-00001: This is a blanket accession that was transferred from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in September 1988. GGNRA had previously acquired the collection from the San Francisco Maritime Museum which was a unit of the National Park Service from 1977-1987.

    Historical or Biographical Note

    John Joseph Gorman (1894-1961) was a marine engineer and an employee of the Tide Water Associated Oil Company and one of its predecessor companies for 30 years. Many of his family members were early settlers in San Francisco, California, and were influential in the city's commerce and development.
    John Joseph Gorman's father was Michael Joseph Gorman, born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1857. Michael married Ellen Marie Boyhan, born in San Francisco in March 1864, in 1890. Michael Gorman died between the years of 1915-1920. John was born in California on January 19, 1894. John had a younger sister named Julia Gorman (Porter) (February 4, 1897-August 22, 1990), who was a Democratic Party leader and longtime member of the San Francisco Planning Commission (1943-1976).
    From June 6, 1913 to December 16, 1916, John worked as an apprentice in the machine shops at Union Iron Works of San Francisco. John worked for the Standard Oil Company from 1917 into the 1920s. He was a Junior Engineer on S.S. ASTRAL in May 1917, sailing from Taku Bar, China, on April 11, 1917, and arriving in San Francisco on May 2, 1917 (California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957). Sometime after this, he shipped out on J.A. MOFFETT (built 1915; tanker), as a handwritten note on John's World War I Draft Registration Cards says "his father states he is at sea on board the J.A. MOFFETT Standard Oil Vessel, 8/7/17" (World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918). John sailed on W.S. RHEEM (built 1918; tanker) as 3rd Assistant Engineer from at least January-March 1919. He sailed to Japan on STANDARD ARROW (built 1916; tanker) in 1919 and also likely sailed on BROAD ARROW (built 1918; tanker) the same year. A ship manifest from September 1920 lists Gorman as the 2nd Engineer aboard D.G. SCOFIELD (built 1916; tanker).
    John Gorman was employed by one of Tide Water Associated Oil Company's predecessor companies starting on April 16, 1924. The company was acquired by the Tide Water Associated Oil Company in the late 1920s. John worked at Tide Water Associated Oil Company for at least 30 years, and in 1955, he received a certificate of recognition for 30 years of service. The Diamond Service Emblem Dinner program of March 9, 1955 lists Gorman as an employee of their marketing department.
    John volunteered on the War Price and Rationing Board in 1943 and received a certificate of completion on May 1, 1943, acknowledging 300 hours of service. On December 31, 1949, John Gorman received a certificate from the city and county of San Francisco for his service as a member of the San Francisco Police Reserve.
    It is unknown if John Gorman was ever married: he was listed as single in the U.S. Censuses from 1910-1940. John Gorman died at age 67 on October 6, 1961, in San Francisco.
    John's family members: Gorman's great aunt, Julia, traveled to Europe, China, and Japan, bringing back Japanese kimonos, wooden shoes, and parasols for the children, which were then the envy of their playmates (Porter, Julia G, and Gabrielle S. Morris, 10).
    Many of John's family members were influential in San Francisco's commerce and development: His sister, Julia Gorman Porter (1897-1990), provided years of service in local, state, and national Democratic Party activities. Julia was appointed to the Planning Commission in 1943 by Mayor Roger Lapham and continued as a member of the commission until she retired in the 1970s. She was a co-founder of the San Francisco Housing and Planning Association (which became the San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal Association), and was a member of the Democratic State Central Committee from 1941 to 1960. In 1924, she was married to Dr. Charles Bruce Porter, a dentist, who died in 1949.
    According to an oral history with Julia in 1977, other family members were influential as well: John's paternal grandfather, David Gorman, came to San Francisco from Boston in the 1850s or 1860s and established himself in the printing business (he died at the age of 31) (Porter, Julia G, and Gabrielle S. Morris, 3-4). John's maternal grandfather, John Boyhan, established himself in the carriage-making business when he arrived in San Francisco in the early 1860s, and the business eventually became very successful. John's great uncles were the Mahoney brothers , who owned the firm, Mahoney Brothers. Jeremiah Mahoney (died 1917) and his brother were responsible for building the St. Francis Hotel; the Shreve building (Porter, Julia G, and Gabrielle S. Morris, 4); the Palace Hotel; the Flood residence; the Bank of California; and the Crocker, Phelan, Hearst and Flood buildings (Western Architect and Engineer, 110).
    Another of their great uncles was Domingo Marcucci (his father's uncle through marriage), who owned the first steamboat that went between San Francisco and Stockton, and San Francisco and Sacramento (Porter, Julia G, and Gabrielle S. Morris, 2). "Another great treat was lunch on the GOLD or MARY GARRET, two stern wheeler river boats owned by my great uncle" (Porter, Julia G, and Gabrielle S. Morris, 10).


    • Porter, Julia G., Julia Gorman Porter, Dedicated Democrat and City Planner, 1941-1975: An Interview. By Gabrielle S. Morris. Berkeley, CA: Regional Oral History Office, the Bancroft Library, University of California, 1977, print.
    • California, Death Index, 1940-1997: Sacramento, CA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics. Ancestry.com
    • California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
    • Honolulu, Hawaii, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1900-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com
    • San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985. Microfilm publication, 1129 rolls. California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com.
    • Western Architect and Engineer, Volumes 50-51. McGraw-Hill Company of California, 1917.
    • World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. United States, Selective Service System. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm. Registration State: California; Registration County: San Francisco; Roll: 1544241; Draft Board: 6. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com

    Collection Scope and Content

    The John J. Gorman photograph collection, 1898-1955, bulk 1912-1923, (SAFR 23367, P87-032) is primarily comprised of photographs of John Gorman's travels as a marine engineer for Standard Oil Company and his personal travels, mostly in California, as well as ephemera from professional and personal activities. The collection has been processed to the File Unit level with some Items listed and is open for use.
    There are 1070 items in 1075 physical forms (1035 black-and-white photographic prints, 2 postcards, 5 letters, 8 certificates, 21 pieces of foreign paper currency, and 4 ephemeral items).
    The collection contains two photograph albums documenting Gorman's travels as a marine engineer for Standard Oil Company and travels with his friends and family. Prominently represented California locations include: San Francisco, Cisco, Lake Tahoe, Mill Valley, Marin County and Paradise Cove. Other locations shown include Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Utah, Washington, Canada, an unidentified location in the Caribbean Sea, China, El Salvador, England, Mexico, Japan, and the Philippines. There are multiple photographs of the following vessels: CAPTAIN A.F. LUCAS (built 1904; tanker), D.G. SCOFIELD (built 1916; tanker), HAXTUM (built 1920; freighter), J.A. MOFFETT (built 1915; tanker), STANDARD ARROW (built 1916; tanker) and W.S. RHEEM (built 1918; tanker).
    There are also loose photographs showing Gorman as a child, Corinthian Yacht Club events, and travels abroad. The collection also contains certificates, ephemera, and photographs collected by Gorman for professional achievement with the Tide Water Associated Oil Company, his early career as a marine engineer, and for volunteer activities.

    Collection Arrangement

    The collection is arranged in one Series and further arranged into five File Units: File Unit 1: Photograph album 1; File Unit 2: Photograph album 2; File Unit 3: Loose prints; File Unit 4: Tide Water Associated Oil Company certificates and photographs; File Unit 5: Other certificates and money.

    Related Materials

    Julia Gorman Porter photograph collection, circa 1900-1973. Bancroft Library, (BANC PIC 1988.044--PIC). Photographs show Julia Gorman Porter from childhood to retirement, some with family or friends. Others pictured: Charles B. Porter, John Gorman, Julia's mother, et al. Many vacation and leisure activities (circa 1909-1920s) are shown, including boating, picnics, and other outings in locations such as Yosemite, Alaska, the Columbia River, Napa, Sonoma, Muir Woods, Sausalito, Golden Gate Park, Santa Cruz, and Manila (Philippines).
    • This material is located at University of California, Berkeley. Bancroft Library.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Merchant ships--United States--History--20th century
    Marine photography
    Leisure--California--San Francisco Bay Area--Photographs
    Leisure--California, Northern--Photographs
    Bathing beaches--California--Photographs
    Outdoor recreation--California--Photographs
    Yacht clubs--California--San Francisco--Pictorial works
    Gorman, John J., 1894-1961
    Porter, Julia Gorman, 1897-
    Gorman family--Pictorial works
    Porter family--Pictorial works
    Captain A.F. Lucas (built 1904; tanker)
    D.G. Scofield (built 1916; tanker)
    Haxtum (built 1920; freighter)
    J.A. Moffett (built 1915; tanker)
    Standard Arrow (built 1916; tanker)
    W.S. Rheem (built 1918; tanker)
    Corinthian Yacht Club (Sausalito, CA)
    Standard Oil Company
    Tide Water Associated Oil Company
    United States. War Price & Rationing Board
    Alameda (Calif.)
    Cisco (Calif.)
    Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Los Angeles (Calif.)
    Marin County (Calif.)
    Mill Valley (Calif.)
    Monte Rio (Calif.)
    Muir Woods National Monument (Calif.)
    Neptune Beach (Calif.)
    Paradise Cove (Calif.)
    Placer County (Calif.)
    San Francisco (Calif.)
    San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
    Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
    Tamalpais, Mount (Calif.)
    Tiburon (Calif.)
    Hong Kong (China)
    Panama Canal (Panama)
    San Salvador (El Salvador)
    Photograph albums
    Black-and-white prints (photographs)
    Gelatin silver prints
    Photographic postcards
    Picture postcards
    Paper money
    Asian paper money
    European paper money