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John D. Wainwright Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 21 Oct 2010

Biographical History

John Drayton Wainwright (1878-1965) was an American naval officer. He served from 1900 to 1942, retiring with the rank of Rear Admiral. During the course of his career he commanded the USS Massachusetts and USS Tenadores (World War I), the USS Cleveland, and the U.S. Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

His father, John Wainwright, was a native of Syracuse, New York. A Colonel in the Union Army during the United States Civil War, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Battle of Fort Fisher (North Carolina) on January 15, 1865.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John D. Wainwright Collection contains material relating to both Rear Admiral John Drayton Wainwright and to his father, Colonel John Wainwright.

Biographical material contains two copies of a typescript relating the events of the Battle of Fort Fisher and Colonel Wainwright's role, which led to his receiving a Medal of Honor. There is also an original letter (and a copy of same) in the Colonel's hand, reflecting on his service, which reads in part: "I am not conscious of having done more than my duty in any of the engagements in which I participated with my regiment...I always aimed to do my level best and to do that as promptly as possible." Also included is a letter of condolence to Rear Admiral Wainwright's widow, on the occasion of his death, and a few pages of typescript with genealogical information about the Wainwright family.

Clippings consists of several obituaries for John D. Wainright, and several clippings regarding the donation of the Wainwright material to Syracuse University.

Correspondence includes letters between John D. Wainwright and Charles Kohen, the collector who donated the Wainwright material, and between Wainwright and John S. Mayfield of Syracuse University, who accepted the donation.

Photographs contains three identical photographs of John Wainwright and one of John D. Wainwright.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by type. Within each type, material is arranged chronologically where possible.


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.

Related Material

See also the W. F. McPheron Biography of John Wainwright.

Subject Headings


Wainwright, John D.
Wainwright, John, b. 1839.

Corporate Bodies

United States -- Armed Forces -- Officers.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States. -- Navy -- Officers.


Fort Fisher (N.C. : Fort) -- Capture, 1865.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Genealogies (histories)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John D. Wainwright Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

John Wainwright letter, gift of Charles Kohen, 1961.

Additional material, gift of John D. Wainwright, 1962.

Some correspondence, gift of John S. Mayfield, 1965.

Table of Contents

Biographical information