The Resource Matthew Fontaine Maury letters

Matthew Fontaine Maury letters

Matthew Fontaine Maury letters, 1848-1861
Matthew Fontaine Maury letters
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Letters, 1848-1861, of Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) of Washington D.C. and Albemarle County, Virginia, discussing ocean and wind currents; charts and maps of the ocean currents; sailing directions; his efforts to improve recordation of meteorological observations, both on land and at sea; navigation and its improvements as aid to commerce; weather patterns in eastern Tennessee and western Virginia, specifically the Shenandoah Valley; agricultural education; the Transatlantic Cable; possible lecture appearances in Chicago, Illinois; and nitric acid. Maury's correspondents included Andrew Hull Foote (1806-1863), H. J. Raymond (1820-1869), Charles James Faulkner (1806-1884), Chicago mayor John Wentworth (1815-1888), and John Anthony Winston (1812-1871)
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Biographical or historical data
Matthew Fontaine Maury was born near Fredericksburg, Virginia, 14 January 1806 to Richard Maury (1766-1843) and Diana Minor Maury (1768-1843). At five he moved with his family to Tennessee. In 1825, he received a midshipman's warrant and joined the United States navy. After nine years on active duty at sea, Maury returned to Virginia in 1834 and married Ann Hull Herndon (1811-1901) 15 July 1834. He settled in Fredericksburg and began writing articles on the navy. In 1842, he was appointed superintendent of the Depot of Charts and Instruments of the Navy Department and began researching ocean winds and currents. His work resulted in time being cut off from sea voyages. In 1858, he was restored to active command with the rank of Commander. When the Civil War began, he resigned his commission 20 April 1861. He was appointed special agent to England by the Confederate government. While in England, he helped procure ships for the Confederacy and worked on electric mines. When the war ended, Maury offered his services to the Emperor Maximilian (1832-1867) to colonize former Confederates in Mexico. Colonization proved to be a failure and Maury returned to England in 1866, where he received an honorary degree from Cambridge University. Friends convinced him to return to the United States and in in 1868, he was appointed professor of meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. Maury died in Lexington 1 February 1873 and was buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. Maury and his wife had eight children.
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Matthew Fontaine Maury letters
  • The Library of Virginia
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  • Inventory
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Immediate source of acquisition
Benjamin, Walter R.
Type of unit
  • leaves and 40
  • p.



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    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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