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Historic Ships' Records

 Collection
Identifier: MH 259

Scope and Content Note

The Historic Ships' Records is an artificial collection which contains material having to do with the shipping industry primarily in Salem, Massachusetts, but also Boston, Amsterdam, New Orleans, San Francisco, and London. Items in the collection include bills of lading, receipts, crew lists, disbursement records, and personal accounts.

Also included in the collection are ships' passports, each signed by United States presidents from Thomas Jefferson through John Quincy Adams. The passports in this collection are made out for the vessels Agnes, Clothier, Ellinor, Fame (brig), Frederick (brig), Grand Turk, Lotus, Marion (brig), Maryland (ship), Massachusetts (ship), Otho, Sally (schooner), Rebecca, Republican, and the William and Henry (brigantine). Nathaniel Hawthorne signed a customs document for the brig Mary, Samuel Adams signed a port document for the brig Polly; John Hancock signed a bill of lading for the Lydia and the brig Eleanor.

Several accounts of hardship on board are included in the collection; accounts of shipwrecks can be found in folders for the Lady Hobart, J. P. Whitney, and the Yoruba. A newspaper clipping from 1899 recounts the story of the U.S.S. Maine. Accounts of deaths can be found in the folders of the Nantasket, Elizabeth (sloop), and the Osterley, while the Meteor offers the account of a mutiny. Personal journals or letters are included with the papers of the Nantasket, Neptune (ship), Quickstep, Sophia, Star of the West, Syren, Talma, Tobacco Plant, and the Trident. The Turk and the Guy C. Goss include examples of poetry written by sailors; a sailor on the Guy C. Goss wrote an account of and a poem on the problems his shipmate was having with cockroaches.

Note: Because this collection is arranged at the item level, no series are delineated and the folders are arranged alphabetically. When the ship type is not known, the entry is designated as "unknown."

Dates

  • 1662-1980

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Extent

8.25 Linear feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials

Undetermined

Overview

The Historic Ships' Records is an artificial collection which contains material having to do with the shipping industry primarily in Salem, Massachusetts, but also Boston, Amsterdam, New Orleans, San Francisco, and London. Items in the collection include bills of lading, receipts, crew lists, disbursement records, and personal accounts.

Provenance

This collection is an amalgamation of ships' papers from a number of different sources; some were donated or purchased, while others were removed from other collections in the library's holdings.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Rachel Jirka, April 2009, and updated by Tamara Gaydos, July 2016.
Title
HISTORIC SHIPS' RECORDS, 1662-1980 MH 259
Author
Processed by: Rachel Jirka; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Your Name Here Special Collections Repository

Contact:
City on a Hill MA 03210 United States