Hermann C. Raebel papers, 1865-1997
Finding aid prepared by Manuscripts Division staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1575
Online finding aid last updated 26 July 2017.
Title: Hermann C. Raebel papers
Collection number: 522
UCLA Library Special Collections
Language of Material:
1 oversize box
Hermann C. Raebel Jr. (1848-1869) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (1866). While on
maneuvers off the coast of Brazil in 1866, received a commission as ensign. He painted watercolors and wrote letters home
while serving on several U.S. Navy ships along the west coast of South America (1866-69). The collection contains 46 about
10 x 6 watercolors of scenes from the east coast of South America, along with color photocopies.
Stored off-site at SRLF. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through our electronic
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Selected digitized images from this collection.
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Conditions Governing Access
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in
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Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of Darvel T. Lloyd, 1997.
[Identification of item], Hermann C. Raebel Papers (Collection 522). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research
Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
Hermann C. Raebel Jr. was born in 1848 in Leipzig, Germany; at age 9, he came to the U.S. with his family; graduated from
high school in 1862 in Cleveland, Ohio at age 14, then entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1866; while on maneuvers
off the coast of Brazil in 1866, received a commission as ensign; painted watercolors and wrote letters home while serving
on several U.S. Navy ships along the west coast of South America, 1866-69; died on June 25, 1869 in the hospital ship Illinois
in New York Harbor after contracting yellow fever in the Caribbean.
Biographical Narrative from original legacy finding aid
Hermann C. Raebel Jr. was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1848 (exact date unknown). His family emigrated to the United States
in 1857, when he was 9 years old. In 1862, at the age of 14, Raebel graduated from high school in Cleveland, Ohio. That same
year he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, and graduated from there in 1866. On November 1, 1866, aged 18, and whilst on maneuvers
off the coast of Brazil, Raebel received a commission as Ensign in the U. S. Navy from President Andrew Johnson. Reputedly
that made him the youngest officer in the Navy at the time. Raebel painted his watercolors and wrote the letters that are
recorded in the collection by his father whilst serving on several U. S. Navy ships up and down the coast of South America
between 1866 and 1869. In 1869 Raebel caught yellow fever in the Caribbean and on June 25 died in the hospital ship Illinois
in New York harbor. He was 21 years old.
Scope and Content
Collection contains 46 about 10 x 6 watercolors of scenes from the east coast of South America, along with color photocopies.
Also contains a letter to his sister, and a notebook in which his father copied his letters. These are in German, but a translation
of them was done by family members in the late 1950s. Collection also contains photographs of Raebel, his obituary from a
German-American newspaper, and his original 1866 commission from President Andrew Johnson to be an ensign in the U.S. Navy.
Scope and Content note from legacy finding aid
This is a small collection whose main features are 46 watercolors painted by Raebel on his journeys up and down the east coast
of South America, and copies of his letters to his father about his journeys. The watercolors, all about 10 x 6, are mainly
of views of the Brazilian coast and coastal towns. There are also several views of Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Rio Negro
in Patagonia. Raebel wrote a series of letters to his father about his naval training and travels, which his father copied
in to a notebook which is in the collection. He letters were all in German, as that is all his father understood, but there
is also a translation of them done by family members in the late 1950's. Other items in the collection include photographs
of Raebel, alone and with Navy colleagues, and his original commission from President Johnson.
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged in the following series:
- Watercolors (Box 1).
- Photographs (Box 1).
- Correspondence (Box 1).
- Obituary (Box 1).
- Family history (Box 2).
- Navy commission (Box 2).
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Raebel, Hermann C., 1848-1869--Archives.
United States. Navy Department--Officers--Archives.
Box 1, Folder 1
Sketches. H.C. Raebel. 2 ships rolling in heavy seas.
Box 1, Folder 2
Box 1, Folder 3
Pequot House. New London, Connecticut.
Box 1, Folder 4
Thames River. New London, Connecticut.
Box 1, Folder 5
[No caption] Sailors in a ship's rigging.
Box 1, Folder 6
[No caption] Sailors manning a ship's cannon.
January 8, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 7
Pao de Azucar. Rio de Janeiro.
Box 1, Folder 8
Cobras Island. Rio de Janeiro. (?).
January 15, 1866
Box 1, Folder 9
Embrassons-nous encore! Botafoga Bay - Rio.
Box 1, Folder 10
Characteristic scene in the streets of Rio.
Box 1, Folder 11
Misericordia Hospital. Rio de Janeiro:
Box 1, Folder 12
Anhatonurim Island. St. Catherine, Brazil.
Box 1, Folder 14
The Haunted House at Santos.
Box 1, Folder 15
Nictherohy. February 4, 1866. St. Sebastian.
Box 1, Folder 16
Montevideo, Uruguay. S.A. .
March 14, 1866
Box 1, Folder 17
Rio Tigri Buenos Ayres.
Box 1, Folder 18
Rio Tigri Buenos Ayres. April 18, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 19
[No caption] Rio Tigri, Buenos Aires.
Box 1, Folder 20
Martin Garcia' Island. [Uruguay]
April 19, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 21
(Higueritas) Gaucho's domicile. Nueva Palmyra
April 22, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 22
Saladera Fray Bentos. Uruguay. Liebig's Extract of Meat.
April 26, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 23
[No caption] U.S. ship tied up at dock.
Box 1, Folder 24
Carpincha hunting. Arroya Negro. Uruguay.
May 2, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 26
Rio de Janeiro.
June 28, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 28
[No caption] Sailors in rowing boat.
Box 1, Folder 29
Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust! Isla Grande. Brazil.
October 1, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 30
Rio de Janeiro October 8, 1866. Don Pedro I. Signed: H.C. Raebel, U.S.N.
Box 1, Folder 31
Gloria Hill. Rio de Janeiro.
February 25, 1866.
Box 1, Folder 32
Convent Island. Rio. Boa Viage.
Box 1, Folder 33
Light House on the Breakwater in Pernambuco, Brazil.
Box 1, Folder 34
Shipping a sea on board U.S.S. Nipsic.
Box 1, Folder 35
Patagonas - North side of Rio Negro.
Box 1, Folder 36
South side of Rio Negro - Patagonia.
Box 1, Folder 37
Mont Cerro - Montevideo.
Box 1, Folder 38
Road leading to the [?], July 10, 1868. Union [?] Road.
Box 1, Folder 39
The cascatina in Petropolis, Brazil.
July 10, 1868.
Box 1, Folder 40
Scene from the Grand Cascatina. Also an unfinished sketch of the same area.
July 12, 1868.
Box 1, Folder 41
[No caption] Armored warship in bay.
Box 1, Folder 42
[No caption] View of bay and mountains from the sea.
Box 1, Folder 43
[No caption] View of bay from the sea with fortress on hill in background. Signed: H.C. Raebel.
Box 1, Folder 44
[Burial at] sea. Signed: H.C.R..
Box 1, Folder 46
[No caption] Sailing ship with moon.
Box 1, Folder 47
Carte-de-visite portrait of Hermann Raebel in naval uniform.
Box 1, Folder 48
Carte-de-visite photographs (2) of Raebel and two fellow naval officers.
Box 1, Folder 49
Carte-de-visite photograph of an unidentified warship.
Box 1, Folder 50
Letter from Raebel, at the U.S. Naval Academy in Newport, to his sister.
Box 1, Folder 51
Notebook into which Gustav Raebel copied his son Hermann's letters about his naval training and trips to South America.
Box 1, Folder 52
Translation of Hermann's letters to his father by family members in the
Scope and Content Note
Also, color photocopies of all Raebel's watercolors.
Box 1, Folder 53
Raebel's obituary from a Cleveland, Ohio German-American newspaper.
2 copies of Raebel's family tree.
Raebel's commission from President Andrew Johnson to be an ensign in the U.S. Navy.
December 20, 1866.