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Benajah Ticknor papers

Call Number: MS 495

Scope and Contents

Journals, letterbook, medical notes, and essays of Benajah Ticknor, doctor and surgeon with the U.S. Navy. Of primary importance are the journals which describe journeys made by Ticknor with the Navy to South America, the Far East, and Europe.

It should be noted that Ticknor apparently made notes of his adventures and then copied the journals that are now in this collection. It is impossible to say how much time elapsed between taking notes and making these copies. It would seem that he wrote these journals at the end of each voyage or, on a given voyage, copied the journal of his preceeding voyage as a means of passing the time, since his cruises usually lasted three years apiece.

The journals do not cover the years 1822-1831, 1834-1837, or 1843-1844. During the first period he seems to have traveled to Michigan, bought land there, went on a cruise to South America, and then was stationed at Key West. During the second period he seems to have been stationed at Boston, for his essays are dated from there. The gap here prevents us from having any idea of why Yale gave him an honorary degree in 1836. From 1843 to the end of 1844 he was probably in Michigan, or, as he was accustomed to do while ashore, traveled between Michigan, Ohio, New York, Salisbury, and Boston.


  • 1818-1852


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.The entire collection has been microfilmed. Patrons must use HM 43 instead of the originals.

Existence and Location of Copies

Entire collection is available on microfilm (3,377 frames on 3 reels, 35mm.) from Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, at cost. Order no. HM43.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Donald J. Warner, 1946.


Arranged in two series: I. Journals. II. General Subject File.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Journals, letterbook, medical notes, and essays of Benajah Ticknor, doctor and surgeon with the U.S. Navy. Of primary importance are the journals which describe journeys made by Ticknor with the Navy to South America, the Far East, and Europe.

Biographical / Historical

Benajah Ticknor was, born: in Salisbury, Connecticut, in 1788, graduated from the Berkshire Medical Institute around 1810, received an honorary M. D. from Yale in 1836, and died in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1858. He was the nephew of Caleb Bingham of Boston, 1757-1817, the noted lexicographer and grammarian. Ticknor's brother Caleb, ?-1841, was a leading practioner of homeopathy in New York City. Another brother Luther served in the Connecticut General Assembly from Salisbury in 1833.

After receiving his medical degree, Ticknor moved from Connecticut to Ohio and in 1816 married Helen Bostwick of Canfield, Ohio. At approximately the same time he applied for service with the U.S. Navy as a surgeon but was not immediately called to duty. His first assignment came in 1818. At this time he began his journals describing the voyages and daily events of his service with the Navy until 1852, when he retired as Chief Surgeon of the Boston Navy Yard.

A Select List of the More Prominent People Who Appear in the Ticknor Journals, 1818-1852

The Roman numerals denote the Journal in which the person first appears.

  1. Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848, III
  2. Armstrong, Lieut. James, 1794-1868, III
  3. Bartlett, William H.C., 1809- ,IV
  4. Biddle, James, 1783-1848, V
  5. Buchanan, James, 1791-1868, III
  6. Burchard, Samuel D., 1812-1891, III
  7. Calhoun, John C., 1782-1850, III
  8. Carrera, Jose Miguel, 1785-1821, I
  9. Cochrane, Thomas,10th Earol of Dundonald, 1775-1860, I
  10. Dewey, Reverend Orville, 1794-1882, III
  11. Downes, John, 1784-1854, I
  12. Everett, Alexander H., 1790-1847, V
  13. Everett, Edward, 1794-1865, VI
  14. Foltz, Jonathan M., 1810-1877, IV
  15. Forbes, Robert B., 1804-1889, V
  16. Fremont, John C., 1813-1890, V
  17. Gansevoort, Guert, 1812-1867, IV
  18. Geisinger, David, 1790-1860, II
  19. Glynn, John, 1801-1871, III
  20. Hardy, Sir Thomas Masterman, 1769-1839, I
  21. Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841, IV
  22. Hill, Mrs. Frances M., 1807-1884, IV
  23. Hull, Isaac, 1773-1843, III
  24. Jarvis, James J., 1818-1888, V
  25. Jones, Thomas ap Catesby, 1790-1858, III
  26. Kearney, Stephen W., 1794-1848, V
  27. Kent, James, 1763-1847, III
  28. Madison, Dolly, 1768-1849, VI
  29. Mason, John Y., 1799-1859, VI
  30. Morrison, Dr. Charles, 1782-1834, II
  31. Niles, J.M., 1787-1856, III
  32. O'Higgins, Bernardo, 1776-1842, I
  33. Paulding, James K., 1779-1860, III
  34. Perry, Mathew Galbreath, 1794-1858, IV
  35. Pickens, Francis W., 1805-1869, III
  36. Polk, Mrs. Sarah C., 1803- ,VI
  37. Roberts, Edmund, 1784-1836, II
  38. Rodgers, George Washington, 1787-1832, II
  39. San Martin, Jose de, 1778-1850, I
  40. Schroeder, Reverend, J. F., 1800-1857, III
  41. Shubrick, William B., 1790-1874~ V
  42. Southard, Samuel L., 1787-1842, III
  43. Stockton, Robert F., 1795-1866, IV
  44. Tappan, Benjamdn, 1773-1857, IV
  45. Taylor, General John, 1784-1854, VI
  46. Taylor, Zachary, 1789-1850, VI
  47. Tazewell, Littleton Waller, 1774-1860, III
  48. Ticknor, George, 1791-1871, VI
  49. Tyler, John, 1790-1862, IV
  50. Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852, III
  51. Weddell, James, 1787-1834, III
  52. Wilkes, Charles, 1798-1877, III
  53. Wise, Henry A., 1806-1876, V
Guide to the Benajah Ticknor Papers
Under Revision
July 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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