John N. Cobb papers, 1876-1970  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Cobb, John N. (John Nathan), 1868-1930
Title
John N. Cobb papers
Dates
1876-1970 (inclusive)
1897-1930 (bulk)
Quantity
11.04 cubic feet (25 boxes and 3 folders)
Collection Number
1595
Summary
Papers of a fisheries biologist, author and editor, federal official, and University of Washington professor.
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

The papers are open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Best known as a leading authority on fisheries and for initiating and directing the University of Washington fisheries program, John Cobb was a fisheries biologist, author and editor, federal official, and college professor. Cobb became a leader in his field and received commissions to investigate fisheries along the Atlantic coast, Great Lakes, and the Pacific coast. Most of Cobb’s work was in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but his investigations included everything from lobster fisheries in Maine to sponge fisheries in Florida. Aside from his development of the University of Washington fisheries program, some of Cobb’s most noteworthy contributions were inventions to allow salmon to overcome modern barriers. These included fishways, such as escalators, to allow salmon to pass over dams, and electric gates to keep young salmon out of irrigation ditches.

Cobb was born in 1868 in Oxford, New Jersey, where he attended public schools. After finishing high school, Cobb received no further formal education. In the late 1880s, he began to work as a newspaper reporter and editor.

Cobb’s fisheries career began when he took a job with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, which lasted from 1895 until 1904. At the bureau he authored various publications, but unlike his later works, Cobb’s research and writing in the 1890s reflected a lack of scientific training. During this time, Cobb married Harriet C. Bidwell of Jersey City in 1898.

As he gained more experience in the field, his work improved and his reputation began to spread; Cobb furthered his career in 1904 when he accepted a position as the assistant agent of the Salmon Fisheries of Alaska. From 1913 to 1917, he served as editor of the Pacific Fisherman, a journal published in Seattle. In 1917 Cobb became the assistant general superintendent of the Alaska Packers Association, a job he held until 1919.

In the 1910s Cobb began to encourage the University of Washington to establish the first fisheries college in the United States. The university had begun consulting Cobb about a fisheries program as early as 1914, but once World War I began, the university put the program on hold until 1919. When the university opened the school in 1919, Cobb was asked to be its director. Given that Cobb had not even earned a bachelor’s degree, his appointment was somewhat unusual and reflected his remarkable reputation and achievements. Without any familiarity with academic customs, Cobb was assigned to organize a new college, recruit faculty, establish a curriculum, and teach.

During Cobb’s tenure as director (and later dean) of the College of Fisheries, he continued to publish and enhance his reputation in the field. In 1921 and 1923, he served as president of the Pacific Fisheries Society. During his career at the University of Washington, Cobb also gained a reputation as an irascible character who dealt ruthlessly with students and faculty alike.

By 1929 Cobb had developed a debilitating heart condition that forced him to put his teaching and research aside. In January 1930, Cobb died of a heart attack in La Jolla, California, at the age of 61.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Correspondence, diaries, writings, lectures, notebooks and field notes, publications, reports, drawings, clippings, certificates, labor agreements, financial records, legal documents, legislation, and newsletters (1890-1930). Also includes records relating to Genevieve Cobb, John N. Cobb's daughter; the University of Washington Fisheries College; and the Washington State Fisheries Board. Major correspondents include Miller Freeman, the Alaska Packers Association, the Pacific Fisherman, the Pacific Power and Light Company of Portland, Oregon, the Union Fish Company of San Francisco, the United States Fish and Fisheries Commission, the United States Fisheries Bureau, and the Washington Fisheries and Game Department.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The creator's literary rights have not been transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Accession No. 1595-004: John N. Cobb papers, 1876-1970Return to Top

1 cubic foot (1 box)

Scope and Content: Correspondence (family), clippings, ephemera, photographs, speeches and writings.

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Source: Genevieve C. Cobb, June 1974.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder Accession
1/1 1595-004
Historical Information
1913-1921
Correspondence
Box/Folder Accession
1/2 1595-004
National Cyclopedia of American Biography
Scope and Content: Regarding biography of John N. Cobb.
1935-1936
1/3-17 1595-004
Family Correspondence
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
Scope and Content: Major correspondents: John N. Cobb, Harriet (Bidwell) Cobb, Genevieve Cobb, Alfred Bidwell, Louise Bidwell, May Bidwell, Catherine Frentz, Maude (Bidwell) Palmer, Barbara Pollock. Notes on addresses of Cobb family members placed at the beginning of the family correspondence files.
1879-1941
Box/Folder Accession
1/18 1595-004
Clippings
1907-1972
Ephemera
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
Box/Folder Accession
1/19 1595-004
Harriet Bidwell (Mrs. John Cobb)
1876-1889
1/20 1595-004
Mr. and Mrs. John N. Cobb's Wedding and Honeymoon
1898
1/21 1595-004
Miscellaneous
1914-1930
1/22 1595-004
University of Washington Library
1934-1947
1/23 1595-004
John N. Cobb
1949-1967
Box/Folder Accession
1/24 1595-004
Legal Documents Relating to the Estate of Harriet Bidwell Cobb
1930-1942
1/25 1595-004
Photographs
circa 1898-1931
Speeches and Writings
Box/Folder Accession
1/26 1595-004
Cobb, Harriet B.
undated
1/27 1595-004
Cobb, John N.
1904

Accession No. 1595-005: John Cobb papers, 1893-1924Return to Top

1 folder.

Scope and Content: Correspondence, 1893-1924.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Copyright owned by Stanford University Archives.

Acquisition Info: Source: Joanne Webb, 3/31/1986.

Accession No. 1595-006: John N. Cobb Papers, 1884-1969 (bulk 1897-1930)Return to Top

10 cubic feet (24 boxes and 1 vertical file)
Arrangement: Arranged in 4 series:
  • Professional and personal papers
  • Genevieve C. Cobb papers
  • University of Washington Fisheries College records
  • Washington (State) Fisheries Board records

Scope and Content: This accession is mostly about Cobb’s professional work, with only a small number of records from the Fisheries College. The accession contains correspondence (bulk 1910-1928), diaries (1897-1928), writings, lectures, notebooks and field notes (bulk 1905-1915), publications, reports (1919-1929), drawings, photographs that were enclosed with letters, clippings, certificates, labor agreements (1914-1918), financial records (1907-1918), legal documents (1909, 1928), legislation (1899-1927), and newsletters. There are two groups of correspondence, general and fishways, which have some overlap.

There are also records relating to Genevieve Cobb, his daughter (1936-1952); the University of Washington Fisheries College (1920, 1923); and the Washington State Fisheries Board (1924-1926).

Major correspondents include Miller Freeman, the Alaska Packers Association, the Pacific Fisherman, the Pacific Power and Light Company of Portland, the Union Fish Company of San Francisco, the United States Fish and Fisheries Commission, the United States Fisheries Bureau, and the Washington Fisheries and Game Department.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Acquisition Info: Merger of Accession No. 1595-001 (gift of Genevieve C. Cobb, April 1971), Accession No. 1785-002 (gift of the University of Washington Oceanography Library, December 1971; Accession No. 1595-003 (gift of Genevieve C. Cobb, May 1972).

Container(s) Description Dates
Professional and Personal Papers
Box/Folder Accession
1/1-2 1595-006
Biographical Information
1/3 1595-006
Letters of Recommendation
circa 1884-1922
General Correspondence
Box/Folder Accession
1/4 1595-006
Alaska Codfish Company, San Francisco
1906-1915
1/5-7 1595-006
Alaska Packer's Association
1911-1929
1/8 1595-006
American Fisheries Society
1916
1/9 1595-006
Applegate, S.
1908
1/10 1595-006
Associated Sunday Magazines
1906-1909
1/11 1595-006
Atwood & Payne Company, Gloucester, Massachusetts
1912-1913
1/12 1595-006
British Columbia Fisheries Department
1919
1/13 1595-006
California Fish and Game Commission
1913-1916
1/14 1595-006
California Academy of Sciences
1916-1917
1/15 1595-006
Chamber of Commerce, Seattle
1911-1929
1/16 1595-006
Cohoon Packing Company, Orlando, Florida
1914
1/17 1595-006
Fishing Gazette
1913-1922
1/18 1595-006
Garfield, Charles D.
1921
1/19 1595-006
Hall, (G. Batcheller) Company
1918
1/20 1595-006
Hawaii Attorney General
1904
1/21 1595-006
Holder, Charles F.
1911-1915
1/22 1595-006
Ives, W.C.
1911
1/23 1595-006
Lippincott (J.B.) Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1916
1/24 1595-006
Little, Brown, and Company
1921, 1929
1/25 1595-006
McGowan, Henry S.
1908-1915
1/26 1595-006
MacMillan Company, Publishers
1921
1/27 1595-006
Matheson Fisheries Company, Anacortes, Washington
1915-1916
1/28 1595-006
National Canners Association
1919
1/29 1595-006
Pacific Fisheries Society
1915-1916, 1924
1/30 1595-006
Pacific Fisherman (Miller Freeman)
1909-1928
1/31 1595-006
Pinchot, Gifford
1911
1/32 1595-006
Poindexter, Miles C.
1911
1/33 1595-006
Robinson Fisheries Company, Anacortes, Washington
1914-1915
2/1 1595-006
Seattle Aquarium Society
1929
2/2 1595-006
Seattle Rod and Gun Club
1925, 1930
2/3 1595-006
Shannon, George D.
1899-1902
2/4 1595-006
Stanford University
1904-1917
2/5 1595-006
Thomas, William S.
1908-1909
2/6 1595-006
Union Fish Company, San Francisco, California
1910-1917
2/7 1595-006
Union Fishermen's Co-operative Packing Company, Astoria, Oregon
1915
2/8 1595-006
United States Agriculture Department
1914-1915
2/9 1595-006
United States Commerce and Labor Department
1906-1920
2/10 1595-006
United States Fish and Fisheries Commission
1895-1903
2/11-16 1595-006
United States Fisheries Bureau
1903-1929
2/17 1595-006
United States Justice Department
1908, 1912
2/18 1595-006
Warren, Frank M.
1918-1919
2/19 1595-006
Washington (State) Conservation and Development Department
1924
2/20 1595-006
Washington (State) Fisheries and Game Department
1908-1921
2/21 1595-006
University of Washington
1918
Box/Folder Accession
2/22-3/4 1595-006
Others, Alphabetical A-Z
1890-1930
Box/Folder Accession
3/5 1595-006
Unidentified Fragments
General Correspondence - Regarding Fishways
Box/Folder Accession
3/6 1595-006
Beaver, Hugh
1925, 1928
3/7 1595-006
California Fish and Game Commission
1924
3/8 1595-006
Chelan County Game Commission
1924-1925
3/9 1595-006
Cruickshank, J.H.
1925-1926
3/10 1595-006
Journal of Electricity
1924-1926
3/11 1595-006
Link-Belt Meese & Gottfried Company
1924
3/12 1595-006
O'Malley, Henry
1924
3/13 1595-006
Oregon Fish Commission
1924-1929
3/14 1595-006
Pacific Power & Light Company, Portland
1924-1926
3/15 1595-006
Portland Electric Power Company
1924-1925
3/16 1595-006
United States Army Engineer Corp., Seattle District
1920-1929
3/17 1595-006
United States Fisheries Bureau
1924-1925
3/18 1595-006
United States Reclamation Bureau
1921-1925
3/19 1595-006
Veazie and Veazie, Portland, Oregon
1928
3/20 1595-006
Warren Packing Company Portland, Oregon
1924
3/21 1595-006
Washington Fisheries and Game Department
1923-1924
4/1 1595-006
Washington Irrigation & Development Company
1924
4/2 1595-006
Washington Water Power Company
1924, 1926
4/3-11 1595-006
Other Correspondence
1921-1929
Box/Folder Accession
4/12-13 1595-006
Incoming Letters - Regarding Publications, Bibliographies, Reports, and Autographs
1893-1912
5/1 1595-006
Incoming Letters - Condolences on Death of Cobb
1930
5/2 1595-006
Outgoing Letters
1905-1929
Diaries
Box/Folder Accession
5/3 1595-006
March 1897 - January 1898
1897-1898
5/4 1595-006
February 1898 - October 1898
1898
5/5 1595-006
October 1898 - May 1899
1898-1899
5/6 1595-006
May 1899 - April 1900
1899-1900
5/7 1595-006
April 1900 - November 1900
1900
6/1 1595-006
November 1900 - July 1901
1900-1901
6/2 1595-006
July 1901 - March 1902
1901-1902
6/3 1595-006
March 1902 - December 1902
1902
6/4 1595-006
December 1902 - December 1903
1902-1903
6/5 1595-006
December 1903 - December 1904
1903-1904
6/6 1595-006
July 1904 - September 1904
1904
6/7 1595-006
June 1905 - August 1905
1905
7/1 1595-006
January 1905 - October 1906
1905-1906
7/2 1595-006
May 1906 - September 1906
1906
7/3 1595-006
October 1906 - October 1907
1906-1907
7/4 1595-006
May 1907 - September 1907
1907
7/5 1595-006
October 1907 - December 1907
1907
7/6 1595-006
April 1908 - August 1908
1908
7/7 1595-006
April 1909 - July 1909
1909
8/1 1595-006
January 1909 - April 1910
1909-1910
8/2 1595-006
May 1910 - November 1910
1910
8/3 1595-006
May 1910 - October 1911
1910-1911
8/4 1595-006
April 1911 - July 1911
1911
8/5 1595-006
April 1912 - October 1913
1912-1913
8/6 1595-006
April 1917 - July 1917
1917
8/7 1595-006
April 1918 - August 1918
1918
8/8 1595-006
July 1920 - August 1920
1920
8/9 1595-006
September 1920 - May 1922
Scope and Content: Includes a record of fish, fry, and eggs.
1920-1922
8/10 1595-006
June 1922 - June 1923
1922-1923
8/11 1595-006
June 1924 - October 1924
1924
9/1 1595-006
November 1926 - June 1927
1926-1927
9/2 1595-006
June 1927 - July 1927
1927
9/3 1595-006
June 1928
1928
Notebooks and Fieldbooks
Box/Folder Accession
9/4 1595-006
Alaska Salmon Measurements
1906-1907
9/5 1595-006
Address Books - Assistant Alaska Salmon Agent
1912, undated
9/6-7 1595-006
Bibliographies
1902-1912
9/8 1595-006
Biological Survey Financial Records
1921
9/9-10 1595-006
Canning Procedures
1910-1915, undated
9/11 1595-006
Check Register
1907-1909
10/1 1595-006
Expenses
1909-1911
10/2 1595-006
Factbook on Fisheries
1917
10/3-4 1595-006
Fisheries Related Topics
1907-1914
10/5 1595-006
Graves Notebook
undated
10/6 1595-006
Record of Negatives of Graves of Prominent People
undated
10/7 1595-006
Stores Record
1912
Writings by Cobb
Box/Folder Accession
10/8-12/4 1595-006
Manuscripts and Typescripts
General Notes: Numbered 1-108, missing 71, 102-106.
undated
Publications
Box Accession
12 1595-006
Fisheries of Hawaiian Islands
1902
12 1595-006
Fisheries of Alaska
1904-1911
13 1595-006
Fisheries of Alaska
1905-1910
13 1595-006
Miscellaneous Fishery Papers
1906
13 1595-006
Pacific Salmon and Cod Fisheries
1911
13 1595-006
Pacific Salmon Fisheries
1916
13 1595-006
Pacific Cod Fisheries
1927
14 1595-006
Fish Cookery
1922
14 1595-006
Canning of Fishery Products
1919
Box/Folder
14-15/3 1595-006
Others
15/4-16/1 1595-006
Lectures
1921-1929
Writings of Others
Box/Folder Accession
16/2-3 1595-006
Typescripts
1922, undated
Publications
Box/Folder Accession
16/4-5 1595-006
University of Washington
1924-1929
17/1 1595-006
Government Publications
1911, 1919, 1924
17/2-3 1595-006
Pacific Fisherman
1913, 1914, 1919
17/4-5 1595-006
Other
1921, 1926, 1930, 1950, undated
Box Accession
17 1595-006
Scrapbook, "Miscellaneous Papers by John N. Cobb"
1903-1918
Box/Folder
17/6 1595-006
Conferences and Conventions
1920, 1922
17/7 1595-006
Financial Records
1907-1918
18/1 1595-006
Labor Agreements
1914-1918
18/2 1595-006
Legal Documents
1909, 1928, undated
18/3 1595-006
Court Papers
undated
18/4-8 1595-006
Legislation
1899-1927
18/9 1595-006
Executive Orders and Proclamations
1915-1923
18/10 1595-006
Treaties
undated
Reports
Box/Folder Accession
18/11 1595-006
Congressional
1919-1924
18/12 1595-006
Regarding Fishway Work
1924-1927
18/13 1595-006
Others
1929
Pack Reports
Box/Folder Accession
19/1-2 1595-006
Alaska
1914-1928
19/3-4 1595-006
British Columbia
1917-1930
19/5 1595-006
Puget Sound
1918-1929
19/6 1595-006
Others
1891-1924
Box/Folder Accession
19/8 1595-006
Newsletter - Puget Sound Academy of Science
1930
19/9 1595-006
News Releases
1924
19/10 1595-006
Membership Cards
undated
19/11 1595-006
Announcements
undated
19/12 1595-006
Certificates
undated
box:oversize
Misc. 3 1595-006
Certificates Oversize
undated
Box/Folder
19/13 1595-006
Programs
undated
19/14 1595-006
Lists
1911, undated
19/15 1595-006
Maps
undated
19/16-17 1595-006
Drawings of Fishways
undated
19/18 1595-006
Miscellany - Fishways
1897-1924
19/19 1595-006
Miscellany
1915-1929
20/1 1595-006
Ephemera - Canadian Pacific Railway Company
1918-1926
20/2 1595-006
Ephemera
1909-1926
20/3 1595-006
Photographs
undated
Clippings
Box/Folder Accession
20/4 1595-006
Fishways
1924-1928
20/5 1595-006
Legislation
1916-1917
20/6- 23/3 1595-006
Chronological and Unsorted Clippings
1896-1930, 1950, 1958, 1961, 1967-1969
Box Accession
24 1595-006
Flag - United States Fisheries Department
Box/Folder Accession
23/4 1595-006
Genevieve C. Cobb Papers
1936-1952
23/5 1595-006
University of Washington Fisheries College Records
1920, 1923
Washington (State) Fisheries Board Records
Box/Folder Accession
23/6 1595-006
General Correspondence
1925-1926
23/7-9 1595-006
Meeting Transcripts
1924
23/10 1595-006
Hearings
undated
23/11 1595-006
Clippings
1913, 1924

Accession No. 1595-007: John N. Cobb papers, 1921-1921Return to Top

1 folder

Scope and Content: Correspondence, blueprints and photographs; ca. 1921. The materials document the site and new installation of an enlarged salmon hatchery on the island of Etorofu, Japan.

Restrictions on Access: Presume open to all users

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Source: Pamela Mofjeld, January 1987.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • College teachers--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Fisheries--Alaska
  • Fisheries--Pacific Coast (North America)
  • Fisheries--Research
  • Fisheries--Study and teaching (Higher)--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Fisheries--United States
  • Fisheries--Washington (State)
  • Fishery innovations--United States
  • Fishery schools--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Fishery schools--Washington (State)--Seattle--Faculty--Archives
  • Fishery scientists--Washington (State)--Seattle--Archives
  • Fishways--United States
  • Personal Names :
  • Cobb, Genevieve Catherine, 1900-1977
  • Cobb, John N. (John Nathan), 1868-1930--Archives
  • Freeman, Miller, 1875-1955
  • Jordan, David Starr, 1851-1931
  • Corporate Names :
  • Alaska Packers Association
  • Pacific Power and Light Company
  • United States. Bureau of Fisheries
  • University of Washington. College of Fisheries
  • University of Washington--Faculty--Archives
  • Washington (State). Fisheries Board
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • agreements
  • Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)
  • correspondence
  • Diaries
  • drawings
  • ephemera
  • field notes
  • financial records
  • lectures
  • legal files
  • Newsletters
  • Notebooks
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • reports
  • Scrapbooks
  • writings
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Pacific fisherman
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • University of Washington. University Archives

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • University Archives/Faculty Papers (University of Washington)