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William Larrabee, Jr., Collection of 1893 Expedition Photographs

Identifier: RG30.0001.022

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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.

This collection includes 266 photographs mounted on cards, with each bearing a caption. The activities of Captain Flowers and his crew were photographed, as well as those of the expedition party, both aboard ship and on various islands. The Cuban people and architecture 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. During the expedition, 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) on the verso, while others include Larrabee's name.


  • Creation: 1893-1895


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical or Historical Information

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. 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.

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


1.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Method of Acquisition

These materials were donated to the University Archives by Mr. Larrabee's daughter, Janet Larrabee Mitchell, in January 1983. Guide created November 2007.

Related Materials

Folder, "Houser, Gilbert Logan," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Folder, "Nutting, Charles C. ," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Papers of Charles C. Nutting (RG99.0194)

Papers of Edwin L. Sabin (MsC0688)

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 (RG01.0001.001)

Records of the Museum of Natural History (RG06.0041.001)

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

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242