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    [George W. Storer] U.S. Naval Asylum Collection. The Naval Asylum, founded in the early 1830s and located in Philadelphia, was the first government-funded hospital and home for elderly and destitute U.S. sailors. In the early 1840s, the asylum was housed with the U.S. Naval Academy, which outgrew the Philadelphia campus and moved to Annapolis in 1845.

    This collection contains several documents relating to Rear Admiral George Storer's three year tenure as governor of the asylum from 1854 through 1857. George Washington Storer (1789-1864) served a long career - nearly fifty-five years - in the U.S. Navy, commanding such ships as the USS Constellation and USS Brandywine. In 1849, Storer commanded the U.S. naval forces off the coast of Brazil. The following items are included in this collection:

    One handwritten booklet entitled "Regulations for the U.S. Naval Asylum." Sixteen pages (stitched together), 8" x 10". The booklet lists the job duties of the executive officer ("frequently inspect the rooms of the Beneficiaries and the apartments"); the carpenter ("will have the sewers washed out" and "superintend . . the house or grounds"); the master-at-arms ("receiving and issuing all provisions except the groceries . . . and regulate the gas lights"); the ship's corporal ("assist the matron in the gathering and distribution of the wash clothes"); the matron ("exercise a general supervision over the pensioner's tables, cooks, laundresses, and scrubbers"); et al. The booklet also specifies regulations requiring beneficiaries to "have their rooms swept before breakfast. . . . Beneficiaries when not on the 'gate list' are permitted to go out daily during good behavior, but are not permitted to remain out after Dinner without permission. . . . On the first Wednesday of each month there will be a general muster at which all officers and Beneficiaries will be present. . . . Water closet tenders will sweep and keep in order the balconies and pavements of their respective stories." The booklet is signed, "Naval Asylum October 28, 1854 E. W. Storer. Governor." Following Governor Storer's signature, five additional entries were made in the booklet, including one stating that "On the decease of any of the beneficiaries at this Institution the Executive Officer will see that an inventory be immediately taken of all the money and effects belonging to the deceased."

    One broadside entitled "Regulations for the U.S. Naval Asylum", dated July 1, 1851, (12" x 18.5") lists seventeen articles about the asylum, including the asylum's objective ("to provide a comfortable home for 'disabled and decrepit Naval Officers, Seamen and Marines,' who shall be entitled to the benefits of the Institution"), requirements for applicants, punishment for misconduct, and allowance for clothing ($3 a month).

    Various lists and muster rolls are also included, mostly concerning employees of the asylum.

    The Philadelphia campus was built on twenty acres located on the Schuylkill River, as directed by the Secretary of the Navy Samuel Southard. Biddle Hall, the main building, was finished in 1833 in Greek Revival architecture and consists of three buildings. From 1839 through 1845, Biddle Hall, which consisted of three buildings, served as the home of the asylum, the U.S. Naval Hospital, and the naval academy for midshipmen. The campus was soon deemed too small for the three functions, so the academy was moved to Annapolis in 1845. The asylum, which was renamed the U.S. Naval Home in 1889, remained in Philadelphia until 1976, when it moved to Gulfport, Mississippi. The "beneficiaries" who lived at the asylum were given food, money for clothes, furnished with a library, games, and other amenities. Slight discoloration and soiling to some pages, but overall, this has been a well-cared-for group of papers.

    More Information:

    Included in the various lists and muster rolls are the following:


    A list of Naval Asylum employees with pay as of September 1, 1854. Similar lists are included for May 1855.


    Three reports entitled "Muster Roll of Officers, Employees & Beneficiaries". The reports are dated July 1854 (six pages), January 1856 (eight pages), and January 1857 (seven pages). These muster rolls were issued monthly and contain four columns, one each for names, rates, pay, and attendance.


    One memorandum entitled "Memorandum of Reports to be furnished the Bureau of Yards & Docks", (two pages), containing a list of departments and the reports each was to prepare.


    One statement entitled "Statement of amount paid Laborers and Beneficiaries for Haymaking", one page, n.d.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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