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John Haskell Kemble Maritime, Travel, and Transportation 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
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: John Haskell Kemble maritime, travel, and transportation collection
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1748-approximately 1990
    Bulk dates: 1900-1960
    Collection Number: priJHK
    Collector: Kemble, John Haskell, 1912-1990.
    Extent: 1,375 flat oversized printed items, 162 boxes, 13 albums, 7 oversized folders (approximately 123 linear feet)
    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 prints, ephemera, maps, charts, calendars, objects, and photographs related to maritime and land-based travel, often from Kemble's own travels.
    Language: English.


    Series I is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. Series II-V are NOT AVAILABLE. They are closed and unavailable for paging until processed. 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]. John Haskell Kemble maritime, travel, and transportation collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of John Haskell Kemble, 1960s-1990s.
    23 additional items on the United States Lines, gift of Elizabeth Paine.
    1 additional item (Invitation to the launch of the Twenty Knot Protected Cruiser), purchased from Vigilante Rare Books.

    Processing/Project Information

    Materials processed 1999 to 2006 by Mario M. Einaudi. Finding aid encoded by Charla DelaCuadra in 2019.

    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). The collection dates from approximately 1748 to 1990 and contains prints, ephemera, maps, charts, calendars, objects, and photographs related to maritime and land-based travel, often from Kemble's own travels. The collection is divided into five series: prints; ephemera; maps, charts, and calendars; objects; and photographs. Most of the collection remains unprocessed.

    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."


    The collection is arranged in the following five series:
    • Series I. Prints
      • Subseries A. Commercial
      • Subseries B. General
      • Subseries C. Military
    • Series II. Ephemera
    • Series III. Maps, charts, and calendars
    • Series IV. Objects
    • Series V. Photographs

    Indexing Terms

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


    Steamboat lines.


    Business cards.
    Business records.
    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
    Intaglio prints.
    Leaflets (printed works).
    Passenger lists.
    Photograph albums.
    Printed ephemera.
    Promotional materials.
    Relief prints.