William Henry Pettee Papers: Finding Aid

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
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San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
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URL: http://www.huntington.org
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Overview of the Collection

Title: William Henry Pettee Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1847-1898
Bulk dates: 1865-1878
Collection Number: mssPettee papers
Creator: Pettee, William Henry, 1838-1904.
Extent: 839 pieces in 4 boxes and 1 roll
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of American geologist and professor of mining engineering William Henry Pettee (1838-1904) consisting primarily of letters dating from 1865 to 1878. The main subjects are the California State Geological Survey; geologist Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896); Colorado; and Freiberg, Germany.
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]. William Henry Pettee Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Gift of Mrs. Robert Bacher and Mr. David Dow, grandchildren of William H. Pettee in August 1981 and November 1981.

Removed or Separated Material

Photographs of Europe and of the Cheyenne and Ute Indians have been transferred to the Photo Archives of the Huntington Library (see photPF 7261-7289 and photPF 21557-21567).

Biographical Note

Geologist and professor of mining engineering William Henry Pettee (1838-1904) was born in Massachusetts, the son of Otis Pettee who was a manufacturer of cotton goods, inventor of cotton milling machinery, and president of the Charles River Railroad. William graduated from Harvard with a degree in classical studies in 1861. He spent the next three years studying engineering at Lawrence Scientific School (later part of Harvard University), during which time he also assisted in teaching chemistry. He continued his graduate studies from 1865 to 1868 in Freiberg, Saxony, at the Royal Mining Academy and visited mining areas throughout northern Europe. On his return to Cambridge in 1869 he became an instructor in the new school of mines which Harvard had requested Josiah D. Whitney to found. During the summer of 1869 Pettee went with Whitney as part of the South Park Topographical Expedition to do field work in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In 1870-71 Pettee was given leave to become an assistant to Whitney on the California State Geological Survey. Pettee is particularly known for his barometric determination of altitude and his studies of the beds of gold-bearing gravels. His work led to the publication of Whitney's book Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California and to Contributions to Barometric Hypsometry. Pettee did his field work in the northeastern part of the state (mainly the region of the Yuba and Feather Rivers) in 1870 then went to the Geological Survey office in San Francisco in 1871 for the reduction and arrangement of the summer's observations. He returned to Cambridge and served as Assistant Professor of Mining from 1871 to 1875. When the University of Michigan established its School of Mines, he was invited to become Professor of Economic Geology and Mining Engineering; he continued at the University of Michigan for the next 29 years. In 1879 he returned to California to complete his observations on the auriferous gravels so they could be included in Whitney's 1880 publication. Pettee did the behind-the-scenes research for many publications and was active in the American Institute of Mining Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Philosophical Society and other learned organizations.

Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of letters, some of which were written by William Henry Pettee from California (Yuba and Feather River areas and San Francisco, 1870-71), from Colorado (South Park Topographical Expedition, 1869), and from Freiberg while studying at the Royal Academy of Mining (1865-68). The main subjects are the California State Geological Survey; Josiah Dwight Whitney; Colorado; and Freiberg.
A significant portion of the collection consists of correspondence addressed to Josiah Dwight Whitney from various persons (520 letters, including those from William Henry Pettee to Whitney).
Correspondents represented in the collection include: William Henry Brewer, William More Gabb, Wendell Phillips Garrison, Watson Andrews Goodyear, Leo Lesquereux, Josiah Dwight Whitney, and William Dwight Whitney.
The collection also contains some photographs of William Henry Pettee and other members of the Pettee family, members of the California State Geological Survey, and images of Europe during the years Pettee was studying in Freiberg.
The collection falls into four main groupings:
Notable individuals represented by 4 or more letters include William Henry Brewer, William More Gabb, Wendell Phillips Garrison, Watson Andrews Goodyear, Leo Lesquereux, Josiah Dwight Whitney, and William Dwight Whitney.
Some notable items include:
  • Pettee, William Henry. To Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1870, 1871, 1879. Letters tell of field work in California.
  • Pettee, William Henry. To Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1871, Feb. 26 and June 11. These letters tell of visits to the home of J. Ross Browne for the wedding of Pettee's co-worker Alfred Craven to Browne's daughter.
  • Gabb, William More. To Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878 (5 letters). Final letters from the young paleontologist before his sudden death.
  • Goodyear, Watson Andrews. To Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 27. Letter concerning the naming of Mt. Whitney.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by author, followed by photographs and oversize materials.

Indexing Terms

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

Subjects

Pettee, William Henry, 1838-1904.
Whitney, J. D. (Josiah Dwight), 1819-1896.
Geological Survey of California.
Königliche Bergakademie (Freiberg, Germany)
Geological surveys -- California -- History -- Sources.
Geological surveys -- Colorado -- History -- Sources.
Geologists -- United States -- Correspondence.
Geology -- Rocky Mountains.
Geology -- Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
Gold mines and mining -- Colorado -- South Park.
Mines and mineral resources -- California.
Mines and mineral resources -- Rocky Mountains.
Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)
Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
South Park (Colo.)

Forms/Genres

Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 19th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- Colorado -- 19th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- Germany -- 19th century.

Alternate Authors

Brewer, William Henry, 1828-1910.
Gabb, William M.
Garrison, Wendell Phillips, 1840-1907.
Goodyear, W. A. (Watson Andrews), 1838-1891.
Lesquereux, Leo, 1806-1889.
Whitney, J. D. (Josiah Dwight), 1819-1896.
Whitney, William Dwight, 1827-1894.


Collection Contents

Box 1

A-Pettee, William H. (misc. manuscripts)

Folder 1

Agassiz, Alexander. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Apr. 22

Folder 2

Angell, James Burrill. 3 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1875

Folder 3

Baird, Spencer Fullerton. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 4

Bates, H. W. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1874, Feb. 26

Folder 5

Belcher, John A. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 6

Bien, Julius. 4 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 7

Boon, E. P. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 8

Brewer, William Henry. 4 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 9

Broadhead, Garland Carr. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 5

Folder 10

Brush, George Jarvis. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 11

Carr, Lucien. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 13

Folder 12

Craven, Alfred. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 13

Cutter, Charles Ammi. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Mar. 18

Folder 14

Dana, James Dwight. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 15

Danforth, Allen. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 30

Folder 16

Denton, William. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 28

Folder 17

Desor, E. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 18

Drown, Thomas Messinger. 3 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1877-1881

Folder 19

Drown, Thomas Messinger. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 28

Folder 20

Dunbar, Charles Franklin. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 6

Folder 21

Eliot, Charles William. 3 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1891-1893

Folder 22

Emmons, Samuel Franklin. 2 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1876-1880

Folder 23

Engelhardt, F. E. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 25

Folder 24

Frazier, B. W. 1 letter to Thomas Messinger Drown. 1881, Jan. 7

Folder 24a

Fries, August. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 25

Gabb, William More. 5 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 26

Garrison, Wendell Phillips. 4 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1884-1890

Folder 27

Garrison, Wendell Phillips. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 28

Folder 28

Goodale, George Lincoln. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 4

Folder 29

Goodyear, Watson Andrews. 6 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 30

Hall, James. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Mar. 15

Folder 31

Harris, C. M. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 7

Folder 32

Hastings, Serranus Clinton. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Mar. 12

Folder 33

Hayden, Ferdinand Vandiveer. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 20

Folder 34

Heard, John T. 2 letters to Henry Billings. 1868

Folder 35

Herrmann, Ch. W. A. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan.

Folder 36

Hoffmann, Charles Francis. 1 letterTo Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 15

Folder 37

Hooper, E. W. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Mar. 2

Folder 38

Houghton (H.O.) & Co. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 23

Folder 39

Isawa, S. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 40

Jack, Robert L. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Apr. 3

Folder 41

Kerr, Washington Caruthers. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1876, Apr. 8

Folder 42

Lamberton, Robert Alexander. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1880, Nov. 18

Folder 43

Lane, H. B. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 44

Langley, Samuel Pierpont. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1888, Jan. 13

Folder 45

Leckie, Robert G. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Apr. 16

Folder 46

Lesquereux, Leo. 8 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 47

Littlehale, James. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 15

Folder 48

Macfarlane, James. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 10

Folder 49

Pach, G. W. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 4

Folder 50

Packard, Alpheus Spring. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 18

Folder 51

Peirce, James Mills. 1 letter to Asa Gray. 1878, June 3

Folder 52

Perkins, Frederic Beecher. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. c.1878

Folder 53

Pickering, Edward Charles. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 17

Folder 54

Pettee, Matilda (Sherman). 27 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1870-1871

Folder 55

Pettee, Otis, Estate of. Papers re estate settlement. 4 items. 1847-1860

Folder 56

Pettee, William Henry. Accounts, etc. from Germany. 3 items. 1865-1868

Folder 57

Pettee, William Henry. Article (draft) on Harvard University. 1 item. 1874, Nov. 18

Folder 58

Pettee, William Henry. Bank books. 3 items. 1875-1879

Folder 59

Pettee, William Henry. Lecture for course on Economic Development of Mineral Resources. 1883

Related Material

For other manuscripts, see Box 4.
Box 2

Pettee, William H. to Matilda (Sherman Pettee); Pettee, William H., to Josiah Dwight Whitney, 1869-1873

Folder 1

Pettee, William Henry. 16 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1865

Folder 2

Pettee, William Henry. 40 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1866

Folder 3

Pettee, William Henry. 44 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1867

Folder 4

Pettee, William Henry. 23 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1868

Folder 5

Pettee, William Henry. 16 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1869

Folder 6

Pettee, William Henry. 32 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1870

Folder 7

Pettee, William Henry. 35 letters to Matilda (Sherman) Pettee. 1871

Folder 8

Pettee, William Henry. 5 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1869

Folder 9

Pettee, William Henry. 32 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1870

Folder 10

Pettee, William Henry. 66 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1871

Folder 11

Pettee, William Henry. 65 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1872

Folder 12

Pettee, William Henry. 57 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1873

Box 3

Pettee, William H., to Josiah Dwight Whitney, 1874-1884; Correspondence P-Z; Biographical Information; Photographs

Folder 1

Pettee, William Henry. 46 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1874

Folder 2

Pettee, William Henry. 9 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1875

Folder 3

Pettee, William Henry. 14 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1876

Folder 4

Pettee, William Henry. 6 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1877

Folder 5

Pettee, William Henry. 14 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 6

Pettee, William Henry. 39 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1879

Folder 7

Pettee, William Henry. 13 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1880

Folder 8

Pettee, William Henry. 8 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1881

Folder 9

Pettee, William Henry. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1882

Folder 10

Pettee, William Henry. 9 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1883

Folder 11

Pettee, William Henry. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1884

Folder 12

Phillips, Wendell. 1 letter [Autograph]. 1860, May 27

Folder 13

Putnam, Earl B. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 8

Folder 14

Putnam, S. O. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 20

Folder 15

Rabe, Carl. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney? 1878, Jan. 17

Folder 16

Ratzel, Friedrich. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 12

Folder 17

Raymond, Rossiter Worthington. 2 letters to William Henry Pettee. 1891-1894

Folder 18

Richards, Robert Hallowell. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1894, Oct. 30

Folder 19

Stearns, Robert Edwards Carter. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 20

Sturgis, Appleton. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 2

Folder 21

Thompson, Robert Means. 1 letter to Oliver Wolcott Gibbs. 1878, Apr. 1

Folder 22

Thompson, Robert Means. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 23

Torrey, H. W. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Mar.

Folder 24

Voy, C. D. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 25

Walker, Francis Amasa. 2 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 26

Walkup, W. D. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Jan. 25

Folder 27

Walling, H. F. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Apr. 2

Folder 28

Watson, Sereno. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 7

Folder 29

Welch, Bigelow & Co. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Feb. 12

Folder 30

Westermann (B.) & Co. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 31

White, C. J. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1880, Mar. 20

Folder 32

White, C. J. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 21

Folder 33

White, Charles Abiathar. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, May 6

Folder 34

W[hitney?], Alice L. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, Apr. 17

Folder 35

Whitney, Josiah Dwight. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1877, Mar. 23

Folder 36

Whitney, Josiah Dwight. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1878, Mar. 24

Folder 37

Whitney, Josiah Dwight. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1879

Folder 38

Whitney, Josiah Dwight. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1881, Feb. 22

Folder 39

Whitney, Josiah Dwight. 1 letter to William Henry Pettee. 1882, Dec. 16

Folder 40

Whitney, William Dwight. 7 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1872-1878

Folder 41

Wilson, A. D. 3 letters to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878

Folder 42

Woods, W. L. 1 letter to Josiah Dwight Whitney. 1878, June 19

Folder 43

Biographical information. 11 items.

Folder 44

Photographs - Pettee, Sybil [anna] (Clarke). 1 item. c.1880

Folder 45

Photographs - Pettee, William Henry. 6 items. 1865-1875?

Folder 46

Photographs - Pettee, William Henry & others in California State Geological Survey?. 1 item. 1870-1871

Folder 47

Photographs acquired while studying in Europe. 38 items. 1865-1868

Box 4

Oversize Manuscripts

Folder 1

Pettee, William Henry. To Josiah Dwight Whitney: Daily journal of field work for the California State Geological Survey in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, July 12-Dec. 14, 1870. 1871, June 17

Folder 2

Pettee, William Henry. To Josiah Dwight Whitney: Manuscript and sketches for Auriferous Gravels of the Sierra Nevada of California. 1880

Folder 3

Pettee, William Henry. Miscellaneous pages re auriferous gravels, altitude measurements, maps for 1871 Report (xerox copies).

Roll

Certificate of election to American Philosophical Society. 1898, May 20