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Hamilton Cochran Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Cochran, Hamilton, 1898-1977
Title: Hamilton Cochran Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1960
Quantity: 5.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American author, novelist. Correspondence (1938-1965), mainly with publishers; manuscript articles, plays, poems, radio scripts, and stories; clippings by and about; photographs and scrapbooks.
Language: Most in English, two items in Swedish
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Hamilton Cochran (1898-1977) was an American writer of historical novels with a nautical background.

Born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cochran attended Swarthmore Preparatory School but when World War I broke out in his senior year he left school and enlisted in the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He served 18 months on the USCGC Algonquin and then for a brief time in the Merchant Marine. Returning to school he majored in journalism at the University of Michigan and after graduation did advertising work in New York City. From 1931-1932 he served as Commissioner of Public Welfare for the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where his interest in the history of the area, particularly the dramatic tales of pirates, resulted in his first book, These are the Virgin Islands (1937).

Cochran then joined the advertising department of the Saturday Evening Post and a year later was named manager of the automotive division. He worked for Standard Oil for several years and served in the Coast Guard again during World War II, but his main interest was sea travel, of which he logged more than 100,000 hours. Over his career he wrote thirteen books -- both fiction and non-fiction -- as well as numerous poems and articles. His best known title was Blockade Runners of the Confederacy. He and his wife, Enid Slee, had three daughters.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Hamilton Cochran Papers contains biographical material, book illustrations, correspondence, manuscripts, memorabilia, and printed material.

Biographical material contains a few assorted items related to Cochran's life and work.

Book illustrations contains original artwork (paintings, cover art, sketches, etc.) for five of Cochran's books.

Correspondence is both incoming and outgoing, mostly between Cochran and his publishers.

Manuscripts includes articles, books, plays, poems, radio talks, and speeches.

Memorabilia consists mostly of scrapbooks of clippings and other material about five of Cochran's books. There are also a few photographs.

A small amount of Printed material completes the collection, including clippings and published translations of two of Cochran's books in Swedish.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged by name of correspondent. All other series are arranged alphabetically by title, topic, or type.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

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.

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Subject Headings


Cochran, Hamilton, 1898-1977.

Corporate Bodies

Confederate States of America. -- Navy.


Authors, American.
Dueling -- History.
Historical fiction.
Novelists, American.
Pirates in literature.
Sea fiction.


Confederate States of America -- History.
United States -- History.
Virgin Islands -- History.

Genres and Forms

Book illustrations.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Hamilton Cochran Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: Nov 1966
Revision history: 5 May 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC); 15 Jul 2021 - rehoused, updaated (MS)

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Biographical material
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Book illustrations
Oversize 1 Captain Ebony - original painting for book jacket, unknown artist
Box 2 Noted American Duels and Hostile Encounters
Oversize 1 Noted American Duels and Hostile Encounters
Oversize 1 Rogue's Holiday - original painting for book jacket, by Paul Laune
Box 2 These are the Virgin Islands (3 folders)
Oversize 1 These are the Virgin Islands
Oversize 1 Windward Passage - original painting for book jacket, unknown artist
Box 1 A-B
Box 1 Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. (2 folders)
Box 1 C
Box 1 Cochran, Joseph Wilson (father)
Box 1 Curtis Publishing Company
Box 1 D-G
Box 1 Luther Hartwell Hodges (governor of North Carolina)
Box 1 H-P (2 folders)
Box 1 Paul R. Reynolds and Son
Box 1 Pearson, Drew
Box 1 R-W and unknown (2 folders)
Articles and short stories
Box 1 The Belfry
Box 1 Blackbeard the Pirate
Box 1 Brass Cannon
Box 1 Cruising Among the Virgin Islands
Box 1 Danger Patrol
Box 1 Dark Fury - noted as "A sequel to Silver Shoals" (2 copies)
Box 1 Dark Terror
Box 1 Ever Ride an Auto-bug or a Poppy Car?
Box 1 Fool's Folly
Box 1 Heavy Honey
Box 1 The "J. Wilkes Booth" Pistol - 3 versions, includes illustrations used and publisher letter
Box 1 The Lost Treasure of Silver Shoals
Box 1 Navy Frogmen Salvage Weapons from Sunken Blockade Runner
Box 1 North Carolina's Arch-Pirate: Bloodthirsty Blackbeard Became Famous in Fact and Fiction
Box 1 The Package
Box 1 Roolye - Boolye
Box 1 Rum Making Still Flourishes in the Virgin Islands! - but it's Bay Rum…World Famous Product of these West Indian Isles
Box 3 Treasure Hunting
Box 3 The Union Navy's "Atomic Bomb"
Box 3 The Virgin Islands - Haunt of Bucaneers [sic]
Box 3 Were-wolf
Box 3 Miscellaneous untitled
Box 3 A Cochran Chronicle - appears to be an unpublished semi-autobiographical account of Hamilton's family and life (2 folders)
Box 3 The Dram Tree, ch. 1-21 - "original long draft" (7 folders)
Box 4 The Dram Tree, ch. 22-25 - "original long draft"
Box 2 Eruption of Mt. Pelé, "Ideas for a novel" - includes handwritten pages, research notes, and letter to his publisher over new book ideas; never published
Box 4 Our Naval War with the Caribbean Pirates 1800-1836 - drafts A-C; appears to be unpublished (6 folders)
Box 4 Pirate Wench - dDraft A, includes minor corrections and edits (2 folders)
Box 5 Pirate Wench - draft B (2 folders)
Box 5 These Are the Virgin Islands
Box 5 Miscelllaneous - incomplete chapters, outline, pages. etc.
Box 5 The Moon and Henry Morgan - under pen name of Otis Cochran
Box 5 Miscellaneous - includes a couple of handwritten poems; one set of poems includes photos (2 folders)
Box 6 Miscellaneous (2 folders)
Radio scripts
Box 6 Buried Treasure - a series of 15 minute radio dramas; note on folder says these were produced in 1934
Box 6 Famous Pirates of the Southern Seas - different from "Buried Treasure" above; note says these were produced by radio station WHAM in Rochester, NY in 1934
Box 6 Gibraltar...Mighty Fortress Commanding Two Continents - according to note, "radio talk broadcast over station WHEC, Rochester, NY, February 16, 1932"
Box 6 Miscellaneous
Box 6 Application for membership to the Society of Authors, Playwrights, and Composers
Box 6 Photographs - includes Cochran, window display of books
Oversize 2 Blockade Runners of the Confederacy
Oversize 2 Captain Ebony
Box 6 The Dram Tree
Oversize 3 Silver Shoals
Oversize 3 These are the Virgin Islands
Printed material
Box 6 Articles by Sep 1953
Box 6 Book list, "New Books for Apr 1947 of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia"
Books by Cochran, Swedish editions
Box 2 Kapten Morgan, translated by Sven Rydström; Stockholm: Forum 1960 - Swedish translation of Windward Passage
Box 2 Silverbankarna, translated by Lisbeth Och Louis Renner; Stockholm: Forum 1949 - Swedish translation of Silver Shoals
Box 6 Clipping

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