59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Florence Kern Research Papers

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum
Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441
Call NumberRU 450
Creator Kern, Florence, 1902-1997
TitleFlorence Kern research papers
Date1863, 1958-1995
Extent3 boxes and 13 oversize folders (1.633 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection consists of research notes, drafts, newspaper clippings, and photocopies accumulated by Florence Kern between 1974 and 1995. Florence Kern, 1902-1997, was a writer and summer resident of the Vineyard, known for her extensive research on the early history of the United States Coast Guard.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to the library's staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 450, Florence Kern Research Papers.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Florence Kern between 1981 and 1991. Accession no. 1978.023, 1981.002, 1983.001, 1983.029, 1991.073. For material that falls outside of these dates the immediate source of acquisition and date of accession is unknown.


McGovern, Thomas L. "At Weschler's, a used book with a postcard inside has an unexpected epilogue - Washington Post." Featured Articles From The Washington Post. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-08-10/entertainment/35494025_1_military-officers-antique-dealers-books (accessed August 14, 2013).

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441

Revision Description

 Addition to the Collection; Addition of Box 3, Folders 8-13 [CJ]. August 2015

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Arielle Petrovich in August 2013 with assistance from Lara J. Ullman and machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick in March 2015.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

See also, RU 330, William Cooke Pease Collection.

Controlled Access Headings


  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Maps
  • Photocopies
  • Photographs
  • Research notes

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cape Poge (Mass.)
  • Chappaquiddick Island (Mass.)
  • Edgartown (Mass.)
  • Holmes Hole (Mass.)
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Beetle, Henry W.
  • Coffin, Sirson
  • Cooke, Thomas, Sr.
  • Cooke, Thomas, Jr.
  • Darrow, Ira
  • Luce, Lorenzo
  • Marchant, Charles M.
  • Marchant, Cornelius B. (Cornelius Beetle), 1815-1896
  • Norton, Constant
  • Norton, Howes, Jr.
  • Norton, John
  • Osborn, Abraham, approximately 1833-
  • Pease, Cyrus
  • Pease, John H. (John Harper)
  • Pease, Joseph
  • Pease, William Cooke, 1819-1865
  • Thaxter, Leavitt, 1789-1863
  • Vinson, John
  • Worth, Henry Pease


  • Customs houses--1860-1870
  • Lighthouse
  • Lighthouse keepers
  • Revenue-Cutter Service (U.S.)
  • United States. Coast Guard
  • United States. Revenue-Cutter Service--1890-1900
  • United States. Revenue-Cutter Service--History--19th century

Biography/Historical Note

Florence Kern was born April 6, 1902 to Henry and Maude Pfalzgraf. Florence had one sister, Beatrice Pfalzgraf Darlington. After graduating from Wellesley College in 1923, Florence made crossword puzzles and wrote short stories under the pseudonym, "Florence Leighton." In 1935, her short story, "Heaven's Gate" was adapted into the motion picture film "Our Little Girl" starring Shirley Temple. Her murder mystery novel, "As Strange A Maze" was published in the same year. Sometime after 1945, Florence began to summer on Martha's Vineyard with her husband, Clarence Kern and children.

While on the Martha's Vineyard, Florence conducted research on the history of the United States Coast Guard, and its predecessor, the Revenue Cutter Service. Between 1960 and 1979, Florence went on to write a series of books on the first ten revenue cutters. In 1982, Florence published the book, Captain William Cooke Pease, U.S. Coast Guard pioneer: From sail to steam, from East to West (1982). The Coast Guard Historian's office published two more of her books, U.S. Revenue Cutters of the Civil War (1990) and Traditions, 200 years of history (1990). On April 29, 1997, Florence died of pneumonia in Potomac, Maryland. She was 95 years old.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of research papers accumulated by Florence Kern between 1980 and 1995. The research papers largely relate to articles and books written by Florence Kern. The collection also contains a copy of the book, Aboriginal Settlement Patterns in the Northeast (1973), two copies of her own book, Captain Pease U.S. Coast Guard Pioneer: From Sail to Steam-From East to West (1982), and copies of her U.S. Revenue Cutters.


The collection is arranged by topic and in loose chronological order thereunder. Material added to the collection in August 2015 from the archival survey begins at Box 3, Folder 8 and is arranged

Collection Inventory


Aboriginal Settlement Patterns in the Northeast, by William A. Ritchie and Robert E. Funk. Albany, NY: The University of the State of New York, 1973 


Early Settlers on Martha's Vineyard, 1990-1991, undated 


Early Settlers on Martha's Vineyard, 1991-1994, undated 


Customs Collection Reference Materials [1 of 2 folders], 1982-1989, undated 


Customs Collection Reference Materials [2 of 2 folders], 1982-1989, undated 


Customs Collection Reference Materials, 1989, undated 


Customs Collection Reference Materials, 1986, 1990-1993, undated 


General History of Customs Collection, 1980, 1986, 1995, undated 


Early Customs and the First Collectors, 1973, 1980-1988, undated 


Early Customs and the First Collectors, 1985-1990, undated 


Customs Collection from 1842-1856, undated 


Customs Collection from 1842-1856 (Loose papers), undated 


Customs Collection from 1856-1870, 1986, 1990, undated 


Customs Collection from 1856-1870 (Loose papers), 1992 


The Last Customs Collectors, 1990-1994, undated 


The Last Customs Collectors, undated 


Captain Pease U.S. Coast Guard Pioneer: From Sail to Steam-From East to West, by Florence Kern. Bethesda, MD: Alised Enterprises, 1982 


There are two copies.


William C. Pease, 1986 


William C. Pease, undated 


William C. Pease, undated 


William C. Pease, 1983, 1987 


Cyrus Pease, undated 


Revenue Cutters in Wartime, 1990, undated 


The Old Print Shop Portfolio, 1958 


Historical Pictures Project, undated 


Notes from the Long Room, London, England, 1974 


Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1988-1991 


Miscellaneous, 1982, 1986, undated 


Miscellaneous, 1963, 1982-1988, undated 


Miscellaneous, 1980, 1988-1989, undated 


Miscellaneous, 1986, 1990, undated 


Edgartown papers and research materials, 1879-1880, undated 


U.S. Revenue Cutter, 1902 


U.S. Revenue Cutters, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1979 
Author/Creator:  Kern, Florence


U.S. Revenue Cutters, 1975, 1976, 1978 
Author/Creator:  Kern, Florence


U.S. Revenue Cutters, 1977, 1978 
Author/Creator:  Kern, Florence


William Pease research materials, 1988, undated