John H. Darling papers
Scope and Contents
The collection contains correspondence, diaries, articles and addresses written by Darling, a subject file, personal financial materials, news clippings, photographs, and engineering plans. Photographs (Box 2, folder 34) include portraits of John Darling and his wife, Addie Darling.
Correspondence, 1813-1942, contains three letterpress books, 1882-1907, general correspondence, 1892-1942, and correspondence files for specific individuals. The letterpress books largely contain business correspondence reflecting Darling's engineering duties, though many personal letters originating from Detroit and St. Paul can be found in the first letterpress book, 1882-1893. The books contain information on navigational projects and shipwrecks on Lake Superior. Also included are letters, 1834-1860, written by Darling's father, Henry Darling. Most of these are addressed to a personal friend, Rev. Cyrus Brooks. One letter, 1813, from Darling's great grandfather, Noyes Darling, tells of his son being called into service during the War of 1812.
Diaries, July 1897-October 1913, describe Darling's daily business affairs as an engineer. Many projects are described and include drawings. The diaries are difficult to read.
Manuscripts, 1904-1931, include unpublished articles written by Darling. See also "Addresses and Articles" in the Subject File.
Subject File, 1851-1942, contains correspondence, reference materials, photographs and news clippings. The file includes information on many of Darling's professional and avocational projects such as proposals for a central Duluth Canal, 1906-1907, plans and specifications for work on the Duluth Canal, 1897-1898, and the Darling Observatory, 1916-1917, as well as genealogical information on the Darling family. A book, Memorial to my Honored Kindred, 1888, written by Charles W. Darling, describes the family genealogy. The file also contains photographs of Darling and his observatory, as well as general news clippings, some written about astronomy by Darling.
Financial Records, 1868-1942, document Darling's personal finances, including income taxes, 1931-1938.
- Creation: 1813-1965
Conditions Governing Access
Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.
Biographical / Historical
John Henry Darling was born on April 15, 1847 at Lake Ridge, Michigan, son of Henry and Matilda (Osborn) Darling. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1873 in engineering and immediately obtained a job as sub-assistant engineer with the government. Darling spent nine years working on the measurement of the primary triangulation which formed the basis for navigational charts of the Great Lakes. In 1882, he worked in the St. Paul district on river improvements in Minnesota. Darling came to Duluth, Minnesota in 1884 to become principal U.S. assistant engineer on harbor improvement of Lake Superior. Darling was responsible for the designing and construction of breakwaters, entrance piers, channels and other navigational improvements in Lake Superior.
Darling retired from government in 1913 to travel and pursue his avocation of astronomy. He designed and built an observatory in 1917 at 9th Avenue West and 3rd Street in Duluth, and often would open the observatory to the public. The observatory was willed to the Duluth State Teachers College upon Darling's death in 1942, to provide for its permanent maintenance, and was torn down sometime around 1973 after the University of Minnesota, Duluth abandoned plans to relocate the observatory closer to campus.
Darling married Addie A. Ford of Tecumseh, Michigan in 1880. She died in 1920. Darling belonged to many engineering and Duluth civic organizations, and was elected to the Duluth Hall of Fame in 1920. He died in 1942 at age 95.
John Henry Darling was born on April 15, 1847 at Lake Ridge, Michigan, son of Henry and Matilda (Osborn) Darling. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1873 in engineering and began work for the government on lake and river navigation projects. Darling was located in Duluth, Minnesota in 1884 as principal U.S. assistant engineer until his retirement in 1913. The rest of his live was devoted to travel and astronomy. In 1917, Darling designed and built an observatory and opened it to the public. Darling died in 1942.
2.00 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The collection contains correspondence, diaries, articles and addresses written by Darling, a subject file, personal financial materials, news clippings, photographs, and engineering plans.
Arrangement of Materials:
The collection is divided into six groups: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Diaries, Manuscripts, Subject File, and Financial Records.
This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at email@example.com or 218-726-8526.
4 boxes + 3 sets of blueprints
This collection is part of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections, which are housed in the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives at the Kathryn A. Martin Library, and are on permanent loan from the St. Louis County Historical Society.
Genre / Form
- Academic papers
- Architectural drawings
- Financial records
- Newspaper clippings
- Speeches, addresses, etc.
- Guide to the John H. Darling papers
- Finding Aid Authors: B.H. Bruemmer.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Collecting Area Details
Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area
Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001