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Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

William Larrabee, Jr., Collection of 1893 Expedition Photographs
RG 30.01.22
Collection Dates: 1893-1895
1.25 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Acquisition and Processing Information: These materials were donated to the University Archives by Mr. Larrabee's daughter, Janet Larrabee Mitchell, in January 1983. Guide posted to the Internet November 2007.

Photographs: Box 1; Box 2; Box 3

Rogers and Nutting, Bahama expedition, 1893

Arthur M. Rogers and Charles C. Nutting, 1893

William Larrabee photograph

Scope and Contents

The William Larrabee, Jr., papers include photographs taken by Mr. Larrabee during the State University of Iowa expedition to the Bahamas and Cuba in 1893.  The purpose of the expedition was to provide students with an opportunity to experience this exotic environment and to collect natural specimens for study and display at the State University of Iowa museum, located in the Natural Science Building, later named Calvin Hall.  Professor Charles C. Nutting invited Mr. Larrabee to serve as treasurer of the party and collect two hundred dollars from each participant.

The William Larrabee collection includes 266 photographs mounted on cards bearing captions.  The activities of Captain Charles B. Flowers and his crew were photographed, as well as those of the expedition party while aboard ship and at various islands.  The Cuban architecture and people are well represented.  Photographs are grouped by subject and geographic location.

Independent accounts of the expedition were recorded by William Larrabee, Edward G. Decker, Edwin L. Sabin, and William P. Powell, with their combined observations published as The Bahama Expedition, 1893.  Printed materials are located at the end of Box 3.  In addition to Mr. Larrabee's photographs presented in this collection, professor Charles C. Nutting made photographs with a kodak camera and instructor Gilbert L. Houser used a large camera mounted on a tripod.  Some photographs are identified with the initials G.L.H. (Gilbert L. Houser) and others have Larrabee's name written on the verso.

Biographical Note

William Larrabee, Sr., was governor of Iowa from 1886 to 1890. His son, William Larrabee, Jr., was born December 11, 1871, at Clermont, Iowa.  The junior Larrabee received a B.Ph. degree from the State University of Iowa on June 15, 1893.  While attending SUI in 1891, he lived in Geiger House, a tenant rooming house.  During his junior year he joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.  He played fullback and quarterback on the SUI football team in 1891 and 1892 and was manager of the football team in 1895.  In 1928 Larrabee donated his trophies and game footballs to the University Field House, the largest university athletic building in the nation at that time.  During 1891-1892 he was first sergeant in Company B in the University Battalion.  He later enlisted in the 52nd Iowa Infantry volunteers and was promoted to captain.  He served in the Spanish-American War. 

Larrabee married Lillian Grey Inglis on September 4, 1901, in Middleton, Connecticut, and the couple had William the third, Lillian, Helen, and twins James and Janet.

During the University's 1893 expedition to the Bahama Islands, Mr. Larrabee served as treasurer.  In addition, he was one of several photographers and journal writers during the voyage.  He received his B.PH. degree (Bachelor of Philosophy) in the Collegiate Department on June 15, 1893, in a ceremony on board the Emily E. Johnson schooner.

Larrabee began a political career in 1901 with his election to one term as representative in the Iowa Legislature.  In November 1908 and 1910 he was again elected representative from Fayette County, where he lived on the family farm near Clermont.  William Larrabee, Jr., died April 1, 1933.

[D. Anderson; 11/2007]

Historical Note

Women were permitted to participate in the Bahama expedition because the State University of Iowa was a coeducational institution.  Fourteen men and seven women sailed from Baltimore aboard the Emily E. Johnson, a 95-foot schooner, on May 5, 1893, and returned to Baltimore on July 27th.

Expedition participants included SUI zoololgy professor Charles C. Nutting; Edwin L. Sabin, correspondent, B.A. 1900; William Larrabee, Jr., treasurer, B.Ph. 1893; SUI instructor Henry F. Wickham; Mrs. Wickham; Professor Gilman Drew of Oskaloosa, B.S. 1890; Mrs. Gilman Drew; Minnie Howe, B.S. 1891; Edith Prouty, B.S. 1890; Bertha Wilson, B.A. 1892; Leora Johnson, M.D. March 1890; Maggie E. Williams, SUI senior; SUI instructor Gilbert L. Houser; professor Melvin F. Arey of the Iowa State Normal School (University of Northern Iowa); Stephen W. Stookey, professor of botany and geology at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Albert E. Barrett, SUI senior; Edward G. Decker, SUI sophomore; William P. Powell, SUI engineering sophomore; Henry E.C. Ditzen, SUI sophomore; Arthur Maurice Rogers, SUI sophomore and assistant editor of the Vidette-Reporter; Webb Ballard, SUI special student in the scientific course.

Professor Charles C. Nutting completed his first expedition to the Bahamas in 1888.  He wrote in The Narrative and Preliminary Report of Bahama Expedition, 1895, that he viewed the 1893 expedition as an opportunity for students and others to learn firsthand about life in these tropical islands.

[D. Anderson; 11/2007]

Related Materials

Folder, "Houser, Gilbert Logan," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03)

Folder, "Nutting, Charles C. ," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03)

Papers of Charles C. Nutting (RG99.0194)

Papers of Edwin L. Sabin (MsC 688)

Kohler, Francis J. "History of the State University of Iowa: Scientific Expeditions, Collections, and the Museum of Natural History. " M.A. thesis, University of Iowa, 1944.

Sabin, Edwin L. "Dredging for Specimens." Midland Monthly 1 (March 1894): 201-210.

Records of the Manuscript File Collection on Early University History (RG01.01.1)

Records of the Museum of Natural History (RG06.41.01)

William Larrabee [senior] Papers, located at the State Historical Society of Iowa

Box Contents List

Box 1


Emily E. Johnson schooner

Captain Charles B. Flowers and crew

Participants (activities)

Participants (identified)

Participants (not identified)

Specimen collecting

Bahamian fruit

Bahia Honda, Cuba

Bird Island, U.S. Dry Tortugas

Bird Key, Florida

Cape Henry, Virginia

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

Cuban coconuts

Egg Island, Bahamas

Box 2

Fish, bird, mammal specimens

Fort Jefferson, U.S. Dry Tortugas

Harbor Island, Bahamas

Havana, Cuba

Box 3

Key West, Florida

Ridley's Head, Bahamas

Sand Key, Florida

Spanish Wells, Bahamas

Unidentified locations

Water Key, Florida

The Bahama Expedition, 1893, 23 pages

Larrabee's expedition journal, 1893

Larrabee's football team note pad, 1895 [moved to Artifacts oversize drawer A13, RG31]

"List of Dredging and Shore Stations, SUI Bahama Expedition, 1893"

Index to photographs and journal notes