July 16, 2020

This Week in Herreshoff History: July 16

Another letter from Dexter Stone, reports of Herreshoff success in several 4th of July Regattas, a visit from a torpedo expert, injuries, a commissioning, preparations for war and a resignation

July 20, 1865

Advertising card of Herreshoff and Stone; HMM arhives

Below is a transcription of the second of two letters written by Dexter Stone,  partner with John Brown Herreshoff in Herreshoff & Stone.  The letters are written to E. Stanton Chesebrough (1841-1875) who married J.B.’s sister Caroline.  The Chesebrough family lived next door to the Herreshoff family homestead at 142 Hope St. The letters, written in July of 1865, give insight into the business (and personalities!) of Herreshoff & Stone. The letters were part of the bequest of Louise De Wolf, granddaughter of J.B.H. They are housed in the Museum Archives/Herreshoff Family Collection. Check out last week's "This Week in Herreshoff History" post to read the first if you missed it!

Bristol, R.I. July 20, 1865

Friend Stanton,

Enclosed find check on [ ] for $52.50 the amount of advertising bills.

We are also intensely obliged to you for your cooperation in the matter. If we succeed in selling the boat we’ll give you a Champagne Supper, besides. We have already received several applications for the boats, so that I think the investment will pay even as an advertisement to our business.

I learn (via-“the house”) that you will probably be here last of this week so will save what I would else write until I see you. [ed. Note: too bad].

            Very sincerely

 yr. friend

D.S. Stone

Louise de Wolf bequest, HMM archives; 1986.255.001

You can try to decipher the original letter yourself here:

July 16, 1870

Further news from the pre-HMCo. incorporation era: the Bristol Phoenix reports on two different 4th of July regattas in which J.B. Herreshoff-built vessels performed very well. Vessels mentioned in the Phoenix include ORION in Stonington, SADIE, PSYCHE, VIOLET and KELPIE in Boston.

J.B.H.'s model for ORION (1869) and IANTHE (1870); model currently on display in the HMM Model Room
Though we have no photos of ORION in the HMM collection, this Stebbins photo shows IANTHE, a second vessel built to J.B.H.'s same model in 1870. Image courtesy the Historic New England Stebbins photographic archive

July 19, 1890

The Phoenix reports, "Mr. Yarrow, a torpedo builder, of England, came here in the steamer Stilletto, from Newport, on Friday of last week. He inspected the Works of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. while here." You can read more about HMCo. torpedo boat history in this Curator's Log post from September 2018.

July 14, 1903

A study in contrasts: two serious injuries are reported among HMCo. employees, and in the same column news of the commissioning of Morton T. Plante's yacht INGOMAR (HMCo. #590) "makes a pretty picture" below advertisements for yachting and tennis shoes.

July 13, 1917

Even Herreshoff yachts prepare for war: "The steam yacht ENAJ [III, HMCo. #267], formerly owned by Thomas G. Bennet of New Haven, which has been commissioned by the government for coast patrol service, was taken to Newport, Wednesday. The forward guard rail has been removed to clear the way for machine gun service... Ensign L. Francis Herreshoff. son of Capt, Nathaniel [sic] G. Herreshoff, the noted designer of boats, is in command..." ENAJ III built for Thomas G. Bennett and first launched in 1909. During WWI as a Scout Patrol vessel she carried the number SP-578.

Interior layout drawing for ENAJ III, from the Haffenreffer-Herreshoff Collection at the MIT Museum

July 12, 1921

"Employees often worked at HMCo. during their whole careers, some putting in many years.  FOREMAN RESIGNS"

The Phoenix reports "Edwin F. Lindsey veteran employee of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, has tendered his resignation as foreman of the machine shop. In all he has been with the company for 47 years, and was the oldest employee in length of service..." Mr Lindsey began working for J.B.H. in 1874, four years before N.G.H. joined and HMCo. was incorporated in 1878.