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Henry N. Barkhausen Collection - GLMS 46

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Henry N. Barkhausen Collection was transferred to the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes on April 11, 1981. The instrument of gift was signed on April 30, 1981. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public.

Copying of materials is permitted for the purposes of conservation and scholarly research.

Numerous publications and 1,555 photographs were donated with the current collection and have been separated for inclusion in the cataloged print materials and photographic images general collection. The Barkhausen Collection described herein contains 0.6 cubic feet of material for use. Processing was completed in July 1992 by Mark J. Barnes.

Biographical Sketch

Henry N. Barkhausen's life has been one of continuing involvement in the use and preservation of natural resources. A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Barkhausen was born in 1914 into a community actively engaged in the commercial and recreational exploitation of the Great Lakes environment. A keen eye for visualizing the interconnected state of the human and natural resources near Lake Michigan led from a boy's youthful enjoyment of sailing to the directorship of the Illinois Department of Conservation (1970-1973). Retired since 1981, Barkausen and his wife of over fifty years, Alice, still spend one month annually sailing the Great Lakes with their five children.

As a boy, the association with Illinois' natural resources began with a move from Wisconsin to the Chicago area. Following service in World War II as a lieutenant commander in the Navy, Barkhausen's business interests in heavy machinery sales and limestone quarrying from 1963 to 1981 revolved around balancing resources with preservation.

With a growing reputation as an effective business manager and as a committed environmentalist, Barkhausen was able to enter the Illinois political structure with a goal of harmonizing seemingly incompatible constituencies. His quarrying interests prospered and he also effectively preserved large sections of Illinois wetlands. Many years of effort as a state agency director and as a member of private conservation groups led to the designation of 30,000 acres as the Cypress Creek Federal Refuge. Barkhausen received the third annual National Wetlands Protection Award for his efforts. With his quarries located near the federal wetland area, Barkhausen was able to show businessmen and environmentalists a clear example of harmonized goals coming from antagonistic sources.

As an author, Barkhausen has used print media to advocate environmental preservation in numerous articles. His boyhood days in Wisconsin gave rise to an interest in the maritime history of the Great Lakes. In 1948, Wooden Sailing Ships of the Great Lakes was published as an expression of Barkhausen's accomplishments in documenting lake vessel history. The work is now considered a collector's item.

The chronicling of Great Lakes vessels has also made Barkhausen a skilled documentor of the photographs of commercial traffic on the Great Lakes taken since the nineteenth century. His donation of such materials to research centers is much valued and appreciated.

Retirement finds Henry Barkhausen as busy as ever. Construction of full-size replicas of historic lake vessels (31 feet and 16 feet so far) at his farm near the Cypress Creek Refuge occupies much of his time. He has also been instrumental in forming organizations such as the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History.

Scope and Content

The Henry N. Barkhausen Collection contains subject files, newsclippings, and architectural drawings documenting the maritime history of the Great Lakes. The Barkhausen files date primarily from about 1879-1940.

Items of note in the collection are the architectural drawings of fourteen schooners built for the Great Lakes trade from 1867 to 1918. Numerous sail plans are included to document this aspect of marine technology. Clippings regarding vessel sinkings in the 1930s and in 1940 offer views of reactions to these tragedies in the newspapers of the Great Lakes area.

Printed material and 1,555 photographs have been separated for inclusion in the main HCGL collections of such research materials.

Series Description


0.25 cubic feet
ca. 1879-1939
Series contains correspondence and report forms on the subjects: letterheads, marine insurance, the Northwest Engineering Co., vessel trip sheets, and the Wolverine Dry Dock Company.


0.25 cubic feet
ca. 1892-1940, n.d.
Series contains newsclippings on Great Lakes vessels and events. Of particular note are compiled clippings on storm-related wrecks of the 1930s and 1940s.


0.10 cubic feet (3 file folders, 2 oversize)
ca. 1935, 1952
Series contains drawings for sailing vessels, most are schooners, compiled during the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey of the 1930s. The vessels documented with these drawings were built in Great Lakes ports from 1867 to 1918. See the inventory for individual vessel names.


Box 1


1. Subject File Correspondence letterheads, ca. 1879-1908
2. Subject File Correspondence marine insurance, ca. 1902-1905
3. Subject File Correspondence Northwest Engineering Co., 1918-1921, 1927, 1939, n.d.
4. Subject File Correspondence trip sheets, 1895
5-15. Subject File Correspondence Wolverine Dry Dock Company, 1888-1916
16. Architectural Drawings specifications for the 100' wooden harbor tug EBEN, 1918

Oversize Materials


  2. Architectural drawings for: Mackinaw Fishing Boat, EMILY B. MAXWELL, MILTON, OUR SON, LUCIA A. SIMPSON, VERMONT

Drawings Inventory

  1. ALICE schooner, sail plan
  2. ARENDAL sail plan
  3. BECKER schooner, sail plan
  4. BOYCE, G. J. sail plan
  5. CASE, GEORGE M. schooner, 1. After body and forward body plans. 2. Sheer plan and half breadth plan
  6. CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS schooner, sail plan
  7. EBEN 100' wooden harbor tug, 1. Inboard profile, hold section, midship section. 2. Detail for small faking box "B"
  8. KEEWAUNEE schooner, sail plan
  9. Mackinaw Fishing Boat 1. Body plan and sheer plan. 2. Half breadth plan
  10. MAXWELL, EMILY B. schooner, sail plan
  11. MILTON Great Lakes scow schooner, outboard profile
  12. OUR SON schooner, 3 sail plans
  13. LUCIA A. SIMPSON schooner, 1. Body plan, half breadth plan, sheer plan. 2. Sail plan
  14. VERMONT schooner, sheer plan, body plan, half breadth plan.

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