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Frank S. Dolley Collection: Finding Aid
mssDolley; photCL 123  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Indexing: Subjects

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Frank S. Dolley Collection
    Dates (inclusive): 1862-1957
    Collection Number: mssDolley; photCL 123
    Creator: Dolley, Frank S.
    Extent: 150 items in 4 boxes + 3 boxes of photographs and negatives
    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 contains research materials compiled by Southern California physician Frank S. Dolley (1885-1961) for his study of the lower Colorado River and steam navigation in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There are also original letters by Ellen Robinson, wife of a Colorado River pilot, from the 1870s, and original photographs, copy photographs and copy negatives.
    Language: English.

    Access

    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]. Frank S. Dolley Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Purchased from Yale and Brown, 1961 and 1962.

    Processing/Project Information

    1. The research notebooks have been rehoused for preservation purposes. The material in Box 2 was found in an accordion file, but is treated here as a notebook. The materials in Box 3 were removed from two three-ring binders. Each notebook has been counted as a single item.
    2. Subjects identified in Ellen Robinson's letters are indexed from the originals. The same subjects may also be present in the transcripts and in Dolley's manuscript of the Robinson letters.
    3. A box of photographs was transferred to the Photo Archives (year unknown) and assigned call number photCL 123. These photographs are included at the end of this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    Frank Steve Dolley (1885-1961) was born in Maine, graduated from Pomona College in 1907, and completed Bowdoin Medical School in 1911. He settled permanently in Los Angeles, California, in 1929, where he was a prominent thoracic surgeon. Beyond his medical interests, he was a collector and student of the history of the western United States, particularly the lower Colorado River.

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of research materials compiled by Southern California physician Frank Dolley for his study of the lower Colorado River, especially related to steam navigation, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The bulk of the collection is comprised of research materials from the 1950s including two manuscripts written by Dolley, research notes, Dolley's correspondence, and copy prints, negatives, and lantern slides of historic photographs. There are also some original materials including correspondence of Ellen Robinson (died 1913), the wife of a Colorado River steamboat pilot, and approximately fifteen photographs dating from the late 1880s.
    The collection includes two manuscripts written by Dolley: "Early Pilots of the Colorado River" and "Wife at Port Isabel: A Pioneer Woman's Colorado River Letters." The first is a history of navigation on the lower Colorado River that includes a brief discussion of Spanish explorations of the Delta region but emphasizes the region's nineteenth-century history, with particular attention paid to steamboat design and pilots. Included in this manuscript are discussions of the Chemehuevi, Cocopah, and Yuma Indians, the Colorado Steam Navigation Company, Captains George H. Derby and William H. Hardy, J.C. Ives, and A. H. Wilcox. The second manuscript is an edited version of Ellen M. Robinson's letters, most between Ellen at Port Isabel on the Colorado Delta and her family in Maryland. These letters depict the experiences of a young woman moving across the country in 1869 with David Robinson, a husband she barely knew, as she tried to narrate the journey and describe her new home to her family. Among the notable experiences she relayed in her letters was a visit to the unfinished Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, a parade in San Francisco featuring General William T. Sherman, and a visit to Woodward's Gardens while staying in that city. This second manuscript was published in as "Wife at Port Isabel: A Pioneer Woman's Colorado River Letters," The Westerners Brand Book (Los Angeles Corral) vol. 7 (1957): 271-285.
    The correspondence section contains Ellen Robinson's original letters from the 1870s, often with copies made by Dolley, and Dolley's correspondence with Ellen's daughter Margaret Robinson (born 1872) in the 1950s. Three of Dolley's research notebooks are included, covering numerous subjects related to the lower Colorado River region and the Colorado Delta, with particular focus on the river's steamboat activity. These notebooks have been divided for preservation and ease of use, but remain in the order in which they were found, which is loosely alphabetical by subject. There is repetition from one notebook to the other, though each also includes unique material. Most of these notes represent Dolley's research in published sources, including periodicals, narrative accounts, and regional histories, but also includes correspondence with Percy Carter Linss, a descendent of Colorado River ferry operator and landowner Hall Hanlon.
    There are 95 photographic prints (chiefly copy prints with some originals including carte-de-visite portraits), 94 copy film negatives, and 12 lantern slides of various images of steamboats and towns along the Colorado River and people related to the steamers, dating from approximately 1860-approximately 1910. There are several photographs of Yuma, Arizona, taken from the 1860s to the 1890s; Ehrenberg, Arizona; and Andrade, California. Among the steamboats shown are the St. Vallier, Colorado No. 1, Colorado No. 2, Mohave, Searchlight, and Silas J. Lewis. This collection also includes maps of the Lower Colorado River and Yuma, and advertising material for a river excursion and the Pacific and Colorado Steam Navigation Company.

    Arrangement

    The collection is organized into 5 series:
    • Manuscripts
    • Notes
    • Correspondence
    • Ephemera
    • Photographs

    Indexing Terms

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

    Subjects

    Derby, George Horatio, 1823-1861.
    Dolley, Frank S.
    Forster, John, 1814-1882.
    Hanlon, Hall.
    Hardy, William Harrison, Captain, 1823-1906.
    Ives, J. C.
    Pico, Pío, 1801-1894.
    Robinson, Ellen Hayes, -1913.
    Robinson, Ellen Hayes, -1913 -- Photographs.
    Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891.
    Wilcox, Alfred Henry, 1823-1883.
    Colorado Steam Navigation Company.
    Tabernacle (Salt Lake City, Utah)
    Woodward's Gardens (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Chemehuevi Indians.
    Cocopa Indians -- Arizona.
    Railroad travel.
    River steamers.
    River steamers -- Photographs.
    Steamboat lines.
    Steamboat lines -- Photographs.
    Yuma Indians.
    Arizona -- History -- Sources.
    Arizona -- Photographs.
    California -- History -- Sources.
    Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)
    Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico) -- Photographs.
    Colorado River Delta (Mexico)
    Yuma (Ariz.) -- Photographs.

    Forms/Genres

    Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States.
    Manuscripts -- United States.
    Monographs -- United States.
    Photographs -- United States.
    Research notes -- United States.

    Additional Contributors

    Linss, Percy Carter.
    Robinson, Ellen Hayes, -1913.

    Indexing: Subjects

    Chemehuevi Indians.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    Cocopah Indians of Arizona.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    • Subject in Ellen M. Robinson letters (1870-1872) to Margaret Hayes.
    Colorado Steam Navigation Company.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "In the Days of Colorado Steamship Navigation:" Ellen Robinson's Letters from Port Isabel in the 1870s: [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (3).
    Derby, George Horatio, 1823-1861.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    Forster, John, 1814-1882.
    • Subject in Notebook 1: Notes regarding Johnson Letters. Box 3 (6).
    Hardy, William Harrison, Captain, 1823-1906.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    Ives, J.C.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    Pico, Pio, 1801-1894.
    • Subject in Notebook 1: Notes regarding Johnson Letters. Box 3 (6).
    Railroad Travel.
    • Subject in Ellen M. Robinson letter (1870, Oct. 3) to "My Dear." Box 4 (11).
    Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891.
    • Subject in Ellen M. Robinson letter (1870, Oct. 3) to "My Dear." Box 4 (11).
    Tabernacle (Salt Lake City, Utah).
    • Subject in Ellen M. Robinson letter (1870, Sep. 17) to Hannah Hayes. Box 4 (9).
    Wilcox, Alfred Henry, 1823-1883.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).
    Woodward's Gardens.
    • Subject in Ellen M. Robinson letter (1870, Oct. 3) to "My Dear." Box 4 (11).
    Yuma Indians.
    • Subject in Frank S. Dolley. "Early Pilots of the Colorado River:" [manuscript]. [undated]. Box 1 (1).