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George Dewey Correspondence

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: FED
Date: Jun 1971

Biographical History

George Dewey (1837-1917) was an American naval officer, celebrated in the Spanish-American War as "the hero of Manila Bay" for his victory in that battle without the loss of a single one of his own forces.

Born in Montpelier, Vermont, George Dewey attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Upon his graduation in 1861 he was commissioned a lieutenant and assigned as the Executive Officer for the Mississippi, a large and heavily armed ship in the fleeet of Commander David Farragut. Dewey proved an extremely skillful pilot in the Battle of New Orleans; he was eventually assigned as Executive Officer of Farragut's flagship and the two developed a close friendship.

Following the Civil War Dewey continued his naval career, serving various tours of duty including Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and President of the Board of Inspection and Survey, and seeing regular promotion. In 1898 Dewey took command of the Asiatic Squadron. He drilled the crews and overhauled his ships in Hong Kong, waiting for word of the declaration of war with Spain. When it came, Dewey proceeded immediately to Manila Bay where he destroyed the entire Spanish squadron with only eight American casualties, taking the city and remaining there for about a year. Upon his return to the United States he was greeted with tremendous public enthusiasm. Dewey served as President of the General Board of the Navy from 1900 until his death in 1917.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George Dewey Correspondence consists of forty-four (44) letters, both incoming and outgoing. Thirty-two of the letters are from Dewey to John W. Crawford, who was apparently left in charge of Dewey's affairs in Washington while the admiral and his wife were on vacation, and deal with routine housekeeping and financial matters. Three letters are from Dewey to his sister, Mary Perrin Greeley. The remaining letters are from William E. Chandler, John Schuyler Crosby, Loyall Farragut, Marcus A. Hanna, and Hilary A. Herbert.

There are also a few items of miscellena (seals and coats of arms).

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

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Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Chandler, William E. (William Eaton), 1835-1917.
Crawford, John W.
Crosby, John Schuyler, 1839-1914.
Dewey, George, 1837-1917 -- Correspondence.
Farragut, Loyall, b. 1844.
Hanna, Marcus Alonzo, 1837-1904.
Herbert, Hilary A. (Hilary Abner), 1834-1919.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Navy -- Officers.
United States. -- Navy.


Admirals -- United States.


United States -- History, Naval.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George Dewey Correspondence,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1966-1970.

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