Manuscript Group 1100, Wayne B. Yarnall (1917 – 1977), Civil engineer and Ship builder Papers, ca. 1940 – 1977


Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs





Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Group 1100


Wayne B. Yarnall
(1917-1977), Civil engineer and Ship builder


ca. 1940-1977


linear feet



Processed by Alan D.







were so anxious to get to the Chesapeake Bay area, they skimmed
over New Jersey!”



The speaker was Wayne B. Yarnall,
(1917-1977) discussing with a reporter the maritime historians
and naval architects who had worked on the Historic American
Merchant Marine Survey (HAMMS), a W.P.A. project of the



We may be sure that his comment was good
natured and not derogatory, as he had become personally close to
the late Howard I. Chappelle and others involved in HAMMS, but
the comment contains a large element of truth.  The record
shows that HAMMS catalogued drawings of only 20 vessels in Region
4 (New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware), against at least 50 in
Region 5 (Maryland, and Virginia), and a staggering 79 in Region
2 (New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island).  The
latter of these regions was under the direction of Mr. Chapelle.
The handsome New Jersey oyster schrooners, under sail until 1945,
have never been as thoroughly documented, by anyone, as the
bugeyes and bateaux of the Chesapeake of the fisherman of



Starting a few years after HAMMS filed its
final report, Yarnall, then a civil engineer and ship modeler,
was unsatisfied by what he found in model kits and published
plans.  He took it upon himself to fill the gaps of New
Jersey maritime history.  Wearing old clothes, unshaven and
utilizing a borrowed car with New Jersey plates, as he since
relocated from Jersey to Pennsylvania, proceeded to dress for hi
new role of fisherman and field researcher.  He had averted
the image of “city slicker” and became immersed in his
new role of maritime historian as he proceeded to wander around
the waterfront towns in Salem, Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic
Counties.  He spoke to oystermen, boat builders, yard
workers, sailmakers, editors, and anyone else who might lead him
to relics and information about the New Jersey maritime trades
and skills. It was through these contacts that Wayne B. Yarnall
eventually produced one of the most inclusive maritime histories
of New Jersey, and solidified many lasting friendships too.



He particularly pursued old half models and
eventually built up a substantial collection, of which, those
relating to New Jersey are contained in this collection.  When
he had access to a model but could not acquire it he arranged to
take off its lines.  These take offs, the carefully faired
drawings worked up from them, and the replica models later made
from them now form a substantial part of the collection.



In addition to the half models, he surveyed
existing New Jesrey boats, especially the distinctive local types
such as garveys, sneakboats, sturgeon and shad skiffs, melon
seeds, and prepared drawings of them.  Much of this work
found its way into the published works of Chapelle and Peter J.
Guthorn, who found in Yarnall a priceless source of New Jersey
data and a fine personal friend who often accompanied them on
field expeditions.  Yarnalls work also found its way into
the pages of the Nautical Research Journal, published by
the Nautical Research Guild of which he was a founding member in 1948.







papers were
donated by Naomi
H. Yarnall, in memory of her husband, Wayne B. Yarnall, 1979.



Scope and
Content Note:



The Wayne B. Yarnall
Papers span the years of the collectors life, 1917-1977, and contain a
biographical sketch, correspondence, notes, seven photograph
albums, loose photographs, scrapbooks, and a two-drawer card
index file of Wayne B. Yarnall, a model ship builder and
authority on the history of ship building, especially in South



Supplementing the plans that he drew from
firsthand data, he also amassed an extensive collection of other
ship plans.  The collection includes numerous originals or
prints of Chapelle drawings, many of them unpublished, copies of
original plans by such naval architects as Thomas D. Bowes of
Philadelphia who was a designer of many New Jersey oystermen
vessels.  There are also tracings or prints of plans from
museums and other collections, as well as from books and



Yarnall’s notebooks, scrapbooks
and file folders contain tables, charts, notes, sketches, sail maker records, and many details caught by his perceptive eye.
Through a long friendship with sail maker Ed Cobb of Bivalve,
Yarnall acquired hundreds of sail maker sketches, some from the
early 19th century and many relating to Cobb and his predecessors



The collection also includes other
illustrations: original perspective drawings meticulously crafted
by George C. Wales; a water color by William Earle Geohegan;
maritime modeling books, reference files and periodicals; fine
photographs of the oyster fleet from the Bridgeton Evening
and a card file of New Jersey vessels indexed by the
town of their building.  Of particular interest is the full
run of of the Nautical Research Journal and its predecessor
Secretary’s Monthly Letter
from its beginning in 1948
through 1977.  This portion of the collection was made
possible through the help of the Nautical Research Guild and
Michael Costagliola.







is a guide to the Wayne B. Yarnall Maritime Collection available
in the data file.  It is a compilation of the inventory
sheets made up when the collection was received by the New Jersey
Historical Society.  It lists all things essentially as they
were found, with minimal organization and arrangement of items
into categories.  The natural order of the collection has
been preserved.  There has been no attempt to alphabetize or



36 through 42 in the guide are “addenda” for a group of
material, mostly large and heavy objects, which were received
separately from the bulk of the collection and thus repeat some
of the headings in the categories on pages 5 through 35.



Most of
the drawings have their scale indicated as a ratio and are coded
0-3 to show the kind of drawing or reproduction and alphabetic
codes to indicate the content.  Codes are at the top of page
8 and elsewhere throughout the guide.  Note that the
presence of a particular code, such as “S” fro
“Spar and/or sail plans or dimensions” not necessarily
mean there is a complete and detailed sail of rigging plan, but
only that there is some related information where indicated.



As much
of this collection is pencil drawings and “blueprints,”
and all are quite old, copies of many of the plans are unlikely.
This collection is best utilized in the Society’s Library as
quality copies of the drawings and related material are both
costly and of questionable quality when possible.  Please
ask the curator on staff for further insight as to reproduction
of the material in this, and any other, manuscript collection.


Submit a request to copy part of this collection



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