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The Mariners’ Museum Library holds the largest maritime history collection in the Western Hemisphere. With its rich collections and international scope, the Library is a premier resource for maritime research.

The Library collections consist of over two million items including books, magazines, rare books, manuscripts, maps and charts, vessel plans, newspaper articles, photographs, Chris-Craft archives, and The Mariners’ Museum’s archives.

The purpose of the Library, as envisioned by founder Archer M. Huntington, is to provide a research center for students, writers, scientists, and others pursuing various lines of maritime investigation. In addition, it is to create a repository for reference materials to be used by the staff in connection with the identification, appraisal, maintenance and display of the Museum’s collections, exhibits and programs.

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The Mariners’ Museum Library houses the largest maritime history collection in the Western Hemisphere. The Library strives to make its collection equally accessible to students researchers and lovers of history.


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The Mariners’ Museum Library Reopening

 

The Mariners’ Museum and Park Library reopened to staff for partial access in June 2018. This allows researchers from all over the world to access the Museum’s Library and Archives through staff assistance. The staff is now able to access roughly 90% of the Library’s extensive collection, including the renowned Chris-Craft Collection. We look forward to assisting patrons with remote research requests. Send your research questions to [email protected] Although the current configuration of the Library does not include a public reading room, library staff can make arrangements for in person research visits on an appointment only basis. Please review the guidelines and email us at [email protected] to schedule an appointment. The the vast collection.

Special Collections

The Special Collections area of The Mariners’ Museum Library collects manuscripts, maps and charts, and log books and journals on the history of humankind’s relationship to the sea and its tributaries.

Begin your search of the Library’s manuscripts, logbooks, and journals.

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Learn more about our ships’ plans and drawings.

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Major themes include maritime history, technology, art, commerce, and culture of the sea. Following is a list of our most significant collection topics:

Discover the largest inlet in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the eastern United States. Find information on the history, settlement, exploration, culture, art, customs, commerce, recreation, navigation and seafaring life of the ports of Hampton Roads, of the Virginia portions of the Bay and of its tributaries. Search for material on Bay boats, as well as selected items on Maryland portions of the Bay, estuaries, marine resources, and the natural environment and stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Alexander C. Brown Papers: 1940-1980
    Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal; Dismal Swamp; Juniper Waterway; Lightships; RMS Lusitania; Old Bay Line (Baltimore Steam Packet Company); US Coast Guard; US Navy; Virginia Pilots; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, notes, photographs (MS137)
  • Baltimore Steam Packet Company Collection: 1924-1959
    Chesapeake Bay; Steamship Travel—annual reports, financial statements (MS201)
  • C. Richard Gillespie Collection on the James Adams Floating Theatre: 1927-1940
    James Adams Floating Theatre, Steamboats—playbills, ephemera (MS0350)
  • Captain F. W. Hershey Papers: 1921-1932
    Yawls—journals (MS037)
  • E. Runk Kayan Collection: 1890’s
    Chesapeake Bay, Sailing Vessels-photographs (MS272)
  • Menhaden Products Company Papers: 1920’s-1930’s
    Fishing Industry—correspondence (MS027)
  • Records of the Virginia Pilot Association, 1866-1984
    Chesapeake Bay-pilots and pilotage—correspondence, photographs, ledgers (MS114)

Relive the Battle of Hampton Roads through eye-witness accounts and contemporary interpretations. Examine archaeological discoveries and learn how the event was viewed by the 19th-century press. Delve into all aspects relating to the design, construction, and operation of the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. Review material from the NOAA MonitorNational Marine Sanctuary USS Monitor Collection and related material on Civil War naval history.

This collection has been transferred to National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Patrons should contact NARA at www.archives.gov for further assistance.

Become immersed in the ethnology, anthropology, religion, mythology, traditions, music, literary works, superstitions, and medical practices relating to the sea. Explore traditions and myths surrounding fishing rituals, crossing-the-line ceremonies, the lost city of Atlantis, sea monsters and tattoos. Survey maritime art including paintings, jewelry, printing, textiles, object d’art, scrimshaw, ship models, photographs, drawings, sculpture, rope work, knot work, furniture, figureheads, porcelain, pottery, folk art, woodcarving.

  • Ashley’s Book of Knots Manuscript Collection: 1944
    Knots—drawings, notes (MS166)
  • Carl Everingham Collection: 1960’s
    Figureheads—correspondence, ephemera, notes, photographs, publications (MS160)
  • Chandi Singer Venetian Gondola Collection: 1865–2011
    Gondolas in art; Gondoliers; Venice (Italy) — postcards, photographs, paintings, music, lithographs, ephemera(MS0522)
  • Charles M. Wright Collection: 1850’s-1930’s
    Figureheads; Sailing Vessels—photographs (MS268)
  • Edwin Tappan Adney Papers: 1897-1949
    Birch; Boatbuilding; Canoes and Canoeing; Fur Trade; Indians of North America; Indians of South America; Languages; Migrations; Models—clippings, correspondence, drawings, manuscripts, notes, photographs (MS20)
  • Elwin M. Eldredge Collection: 1800-1964
    Maritime Art; Maritime Commerce; Ship Construction; Steamships; Steamship Companies; Steamship Travel; Tourism; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper and magazine articles, notes, photograph albums, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS091)
  • Henry Bushby’s “Notes on Knots” Manuscript Collection: 1902-1926
    Knots; knot theory; ropework — manuscript notebooks (MS0519)
  • R. S. Brenner Collection: 1970’s
    Boatswain Calls—photographs (MS307)
  • Roux Research Collection: 1950’s
    Maritime Art—newspaper articles, note, photographs (MS297)
  • Sheet Music Collection: 1850’s-1950’s
    Music; Patriotism; Popular Culture; US Navy—sheet music (MS093)
  • Sound Recording Collection: 1930’s-present
    Folk Music; The Mariners’ Museum; Music; Oral Interviews; Popular Music; Steamship Whistles—cassette tapes, compact discs, reel tapes, vinyl discs (MS019)

Search primary and secondary sources on voyages and expeditions that occurred over the past two thousand years. Although the concentration is on the last four hundred years, this topic contains descriptions of all types of voyages: circum-navigational, trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Indian Ocean, and polar. Accounts contain geographic, navigational, political, economic, cultural, scientific, and natural history information, as well as personal narratives and biographical data.

  • Baldwin-Ziegler Collection: 1901
    SS Frithjof; Polar Exploration—photograph albums (MS271)
  • D. F. Welch Collection: 1910’s
    Antarctic Exploration; Scott Expedition—photographs (MS264)
  • Eclipse Expedition Photo Album: 1889
    Eclipse Expedition; USS Pensacola (1859)—photograph albums (MS321)
  • Edward Peirce Collection, 1848-1852
    Andalusia; California Gold Rush—correspondence, maps, drawing (MS12)
  • Francis L. Galt Papers: undated
    CS Navy; CSS Alabamajournal entries (photocopies) (MS328)
  • George M. Parker Papers: 1843-1856
    Commodore Matthew C. Perry; Expeditions, Japan—correspondence, ships’ papers (MS214)
  • Joseph Judge Papers: 1980’s-1990’s
    Age of Exploration; Christopher Columbus—notes (MS025)
  • Robert B. Pegram Collection: 1830-1864
    CS Navy; Japan Expedition, 1854; Commodore Matthew C. Perry; USS Powhatan; US Navy—certificates, correspondence, ephemera (MS084)
  • Robert G. Skerrett Collection: 1880’s-1940’s
    Aeronautics; Diving; RMS Lusitania; Naval Aviation; Naval Medicine; SS Normandie; Robert Peary; Polar Exploration; Salvage; Ship Launchings; Steamships; Submarines; Torpedoes; US Navy; World War II—newspaper and magazine articles, correspondence, ephemera, government papers, manuscripts, patents, photographs, plans (MS163)
  • Tim Severin Collection: 1992-1993
    The China Voyage: Across the Pacific by Bamboo Raft—newspaper articles, correspondence, notes (MS085)
  • USRC Bear Collection: 1890’s
    Alaska; Arctic Exploration; US Revenue Cutter Service (USCG)—photographs; negatives (MS145)

Examine maps, charts, and atlases dating from the 16th century to the present. Investigate works on cartography, historical geography, global locations, islands, ports, coastal communities, astronomy, geography of the oceans, natural resources, migration, and selected items on oceanography. Gain knowledge of national borders, natural resources, the slave trade, growth of nations, military engagements and sea power.

  • Edward Peirce Collection, 1848-1852
    Andalusia; California Gold Rush—correspondence, maps, drawing (MS12)
  • Stewart B. Nelson Collection: 1960’s-1970’s
    Oceanography—photographs, notes (MS143)
  • William Sanger Collection: 1898-1903
    Lighthouses; US Coast and Geodetic Survey; US Navy—charts, correspondence, journals, maps, photographs, survey books (MS136)

Explore histories, port activities, papers, photographs and images of major seaport cities, harbors, and river and coastal towns. There is a strong focus on North America.

  • Atlantic Deeper Waterways Collection: 1909
    Norfolk, VA—photographs (MS245)
  • Baltimore Port Authority Records: 1797-1805
    Maritime Commerce; Ports—government papers, ships’ papers (MS141)
  • Charles R. Patterson Collection: 1930’s-1940’s
    Ellis Island; New York NY—photographs (MS255)
  • Dennis P. Meyers Stereoview Collection: 1860’s-1910’s
    Ports; Steamships—stereoviews (MS308)
  • John Bowen Collection: 1960’s-1970’s
    Harbors; Lighthouses; Navigation—photographs (MS191)
  • Milton H. Dickey Collection: 1921-1963
    Ports (Asia and Europe); US Navy—booklets, certificates, newspaper articles, photographs (MS244)
  • Records of the Virginia Pilot Association, 1866-1984
    Chesapeake Bay-pilots and pilotage—correspondence, photographs, ledgers (MS114)
  • United States Army Signal Corps Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation Photographs, Indexes, and Other Material, 1942-1946
    US Army; Shipment of goods; Liberty Ships; World War II—photographs (P0003)
  • Virginia Ferry Corporation Papers: 1941
    Del-Mar-Va Peninsula; Virginia Ferry Corporation—correspondence, ephemera, photographs, publications (MS119)
  • Virginia Pilots Association Papers: 1900’s-1980’s
    Maritime Commerce; Virginia Pilots—certificates, financial papers, journals, microfilms, minutes, photographs, publications (MS114)
  • William B. Collier Collection: 1917-1949
    Virginia Pilots—certificates, correspondence, photographs (MS241)

Reconstruct the immigrant’s maritime experience, and in particular, emigration to North America. View selected passenger lists and indexes, as well as books on immigrant ships, early trans-Atlantic migrations, and immigration law. Uncover information on forced migrations, such as the transatlantic and coastal slave trades, and the movement of indentured servants.

Peruse information on canals, inland waterways and watercraft. Review business papers, correspondence and photographs of waterways, including the Great Dismal Swamp.

  • Alexander C. Brown Papers: 1940-1980
    Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal; Dismal Swamp; Juniper Waterway; Lightships; RMS Lusitania; Old Bay Line; US Navy; US Coast Guard; Virginia Pilots; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, notes, photographs, research material (MS137)
  • Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company Papers: 1836-1843
    Canals; Inland Waterways—business papers (MS211)
  • Clinton Havill Papers: 1915
    USS Ohio; Panama Canal—correspondence (MS243)
  • W. W. Old Collection: 1930’s
    Chesapeake-Albemarle Canals—photographs (MS251)

Search lighthouse reports, histories, personal narratives, architectural drawings, and correspondence. Examine photographs of lighthouses, lighthouse keepers, lifeboats and the US Lifesaving Service.

  • Captain H. A. Burns Papers: 1909-1934
    Lighthouses; Mallory Line; Merchant Marine; US Navy; World War I—certificates, correspondence, journals, logbooks, ships’ papers (MS028)
  • John Bowen Collection: 1960’s-1970’s
    Harbors; Lighthouses; Navigation—photographs (MS191)
  • Joseph Francis Papers: 1849-1851
    Lifeboats; Lifesaving—correspondence (MS304)
  • Nancy H. Marshall Lighthouse Photograph Collection, 1950s-2000
    Lighthouses—photographs, postcards, stamps, ephemera (MS340)
  • Ralph Smith Collection: 1930’s
    Lighthouse Keepers; Lighthouses—photographs (MS190)
  • William Sanger Collection: 1898-1903
    Lighthouses; US Coast and Geodetic Survey; US Navy—charts, correspondence, journals, maps, photographs, survey books (MS136)

Learn about the history of The Mariners’ Museum, founded by Archer and Anna Huntington in Newport News, Virginia in 1930.

  • Anna H. Huntington Sculpture Collection: 1930s
    Art; Huntington Family—photographs (MS259)
  • Brookgreen Gardens Collection: 1930s
    Huntington Family—photographs (MS252)
  • Cerinda Evans Papers: 1880’s-1960’s
    Huntington Family; Newport News, VA; Railroads—business papers, certificates, correspondence, ephemera, microfilm, notes (MS004)
  • Frederick F. Hill Collection: 1935-1937
    Maritime Artifacts; Nautical Instruments; Shipbuilding—photographs (MS157)
  • Iconography of Ships Collections: 1932
    Hispanic Society of America; Huntington Family—photographs (MS284)

Study international harbors, port authorities, marine terminals, and major trade routes. Research merchant companies and steamship lines that shaped history. Browse information on fisheries, whaling, the seafood industry, ocean mining, maritime shipping law and the trade of particular goods.

  • A. P. Burruss Collection: 1918-1945
    Merchant Marine—postcards, shore passes (MSS248)
  • Agents of Virginia Collection: 1772-1802
    Maritime Commerce; Norfolk, VA—correspondence (MS242)
  • Alan A. Lynn Collection: 1948-1949
    Merchant Marine—certificates, photographs, postcards (MS183)
  • Albert Barnes Collection: 1820-1968
    Fishing; Menhaden; Whaling—correspondence, drawings, ephemera, newspaper and magazine articles, notes, photographs (MS198)
  • Baltimore Steam Packet Company Collection: 1924-1959
    Chesapeake Bay; Steamship Travel—annual reports, financial papers (MS201)
  • Calvin W. Becker Papers: 1870’s-1890’s
    Maritime Commerce; Sailmaking—certificates, correspondence (MS082)
  • Captain H. A. Burns Papers: 1909-1934
    Lighthouses; Mallory Line; Merchant Marine; US Navy; World War I—certificates, correspondence, journals, logbooks, ships’ papers (MS028)
  • Charles P. Leverick Collection: 1850’s-1860’s
    Maritime Commerce; Steamship Companies; United States Mail Steamship Company—correspondence, ships’ papers(MS069)
  • D. F. Barry Collection: 1900’s-1920’s
    Great Lakes Shipping, Whaleback Ships—photographs (MS263)
  • Dudley Woodbridge Papers: 1780’s
    Maritime Commerce—business papers (MS100)
  • Ed Kacyinski Papers: 1940’s-1950’s
    Merchant Marine—certificates, scrapbooks (MS148)
  • Elwin M. Eldredge Collection: 1800-1964
    Maritime Art; Maritime Commerce; Ship Construction; Steamships; Steamship Companies; Steamship Travel; Tourism; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper articles, notes, photograph albums, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS091)
  • Frederick J. Sedgewick Collection: 1890’s-1930’s
    Maritime Commerce; Steamship Travel; Tourism—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper articles, notes, photographs, postcards (MS095)
  • George H. Howland Papers: 1849-1856
    Maritime Commerce—correspondence, ledger books (MS106)
  • H. B. Smith Collection: 1910’s
    Collingwood Shipbuilding Company; Shipyards—photograph albums (MS279)
  • Hendricks Brothers Collection: 1847-1886
    Cargo; Shipping—accounts, bills of lading, receipts (MS210)
  • Henry Eagleton Papers: 1870’s-1920’s
    Maritime Commerce; Merchant Marine; World War I—certificates, correspondence, journals, maps, newspaper articles, photographs, postcards, tables (MS029)
  • Horne Brothers Collection: 1940’s-1950’s
    Hampton Roads, VA; Liberty Ships—financial papers, photographs, plans (MS222)
  • Isaac Harris Papers: 1845-1863
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence, legal papers, newspaper articles, ships’ papers (MS036)
  • J. M. Hood Company Papers: 1849-1860
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence (MS103)
  • Jerry Bielicki Collection: 1970’s-1980’s
    Great Lakes Shipping—photographs (MS173)
  • John Frye Collection: 1920’s-1980’s
    Hampton Roads, VA; Menhaden Fishing; Workboats—photographs (MS199)
  • John P. Reeder Collection: 1880’s-1960’s
    Great Lakes Shipping; Small Craft; Steamships—notes, photographs (MS147)
  • Ken and Jean Haviland Collection: 1900-1986
    Chinese Steamboats, Maritime Commerce, Shipwrecks, Steamship Travel—clippings, photographs, notes, subject files(MS342)
  • Massachusetts Fishing Voyages Collection: 1798-1814
    Fishing Industry—logbooks (MS051)
  • Menhaden Products Company Papers: 1920’s-1930’s
    Fishing Industry—correspondence (MS027)
  • Merchant Marine Collection: 1930’s-1960’s
    Maritime Commerce; Merchant Marine; Port Security; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, legal papers, manuscripts, photographs (MS112)
  • Nathan Long Papers: 1793-1815
    Insurance; Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence (MS101)
  • Newport News US Customs Collection: 1900-1950
    Newport News, VA; Maritime Commerce; US Customs Service—government papers, legal papers, ships’ papers(MS040)
  • Olive S. Southard Papers: 1870’s-1880’s
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence, ships’ papers (MS124)
  • Pennsylvania Railroad Vessels in Hampton Roads: 1930’s 1950’s
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence, photographs (MS128)
  • Phil Meyers Collection: 1940’s-1970’s
    Cargo Vessels; Tankers—photographs (MS 178)
  • Reanie, Neafie & Company Papers: 1844-1861
    Maritime Commerce; Ship Design; Steamships—business papers, correspondence, journals (MS102)
  • Roanes General Store Collection: 1870’s-1890’s
    Hampton Roads, VA; Maritime Commerce; Old Dominion Steamship Company—business papers (MS060)
  • Robert J. Williams: 1944-1946
    Merchant Marine—certificates, identification cards, photographs (MS218)
  • Sail Card Collection: 1840’s-1870’s
    Maritime Commerce; Travel—advertisements, schedules (MS009)
  • Sailing Card Collection, 1850
    Clipper Ships; Advertisements—sail cards (MS9)
  • Samuel H. Harrison Collection: 1950’s-1960’s
    Getty Oil; Oil Exploration; Ship Construction; Tankers—business records, correspondence, ephemera, handbooks, photograph albums, reports (MS126)
  • Securities Collection: 1840’s-present
    Railroads; Shipping Companies—certificates, legal papers (MS053)
  • Seth Low Papers: 1830-1835
    Maritime Commerce—ships’ papers (MS070)
  • Stewart & Nesbitt Papers: 1782-1790
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence (MS001)
  • Swift & Allen Papers: 1839-1863
    Whaling—correspondence (MS257)
  • Thomas Downing Papers: 1950’s-1970’s
    Fisheries; Maritime Commerce; Maritime Legislation; Merchant Marine; US Congress—bills, correspondence, ephemera, notes, photographs, reports (MS138)
  • Thomas McKnight Papers: 1879-1903
    Merchant Marine—certificates, correspondence (MS107)
  • Thomas Reynolds Collection: 1920’s-1930’s
    Merchant Marine—photographs (MS172)
  • Thomas W. Williams Papers: 1850-1880
    Whaling—booklets, correspondence, crew lists, deeds, ships’ papers (MS044)
  • Townsend & Stanton Collection: 1758-1836
    Maritime Commerce—bills of lading (MS109)
  • Whalemen’s Shipping List Collections:
    Whaling— (MS288)
  • William Barthold Lamont Lieste Papers: 1918-1957
    Merchant Marine—certificates, correspondence, ephemera, ships’ papers (MS046)
  • William C. Hoffman Shipping Agents Papers: 1795-1934
    Maritime Commerce—insurance papers, ships’ papers (MS039)
  • William Dennett Papers: 1830’s-1850’s
    Maritime Commerce—business papers (MS026)
  • Moses Taylor Barque Rapid Ship’s Papers
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, ships’ papers (MS115)
  • William Hagey Papers: 1909-1950
    Merchant Marine—certificates, ephemera, notes, plans, postcards (MS087)
  • William Hunt & Company Papers: 1829-1872
    Maritime Commerce—business papers, correspondence, ships’ papers (MS127)
  • Witherle Shipping Collection: 1790’s-1860’s
    Maritime Commerce—ships’ papers (MS061)

Become engaged in the development, growth, technological advances, and use of naval power. This material is international in scope, with an emphasis on North American and European navies and ranges from ancient eras to recent conflicts. Review vessel histories and firsthand, press and photographic accounts of naval campaigns. Analyze naval strategies, ordnance, the rise of the defense industries, and the development of submersible craft, steam powered craft, iron clad ships, air power, and battleships. Study the flags, manuals, prisons, customs, ceremonies, and medicine related to naval life.

  • A. A. Hoehling “Great War at Sea” Collection: 1950’s
    World War I—manuscripts, notes (MS047)
  • A. A. Hoehling Photograph Collection: 1914-1919
    German Navy; U-Boats; World War I—photographs (MS258)
  • Admiral David G. Farragut Collection: 1861-1865
    Battle of Mobile Bay; Civil War; US Navy—correspondence, military papers (MS313)
  • Andrew Calligeris Papers: 1934-1966
    Merchant Marine; US Coast Guard; World War II—certificates, journals, notes (MS113)
  • Arthur K. Thompson Papers: 1917-1939
    Subchasers; US Naval Auxiliary Reserve; World War I—correspondence, manuals, notes, photographs (MS133)
  • Barna Cook Papers: 1863-1865
    Civil War; US Navy—military papers (MS078)
  • Captain H. A. Burns Papers: 1909-1934
    Lighthouses; Mallory Line; Merchant Marine; US Navy; World War I—certificates, correspondence, journals, logbooks, ships’ papers (MS028)
  • Carlton Chapman Collection: 1898-1899
    Spanish-American War; US Navy—scrapbooks (MS042)
  • Chester A. Lozier Papers: 1917-1918
    USS Cumberland; US Navy; World War I—correspondence (MS038)
  • Cigarette Card Collection: 1910’s-1950’s
    Royal Navy; German Navy; Pirates; Steamships; US Navy; World War I; World War II—cards (MS204)
  • Coleman Kent Letters and Photographs: 1944-1945
    US Navy; World War II—correspondence, envelopes, photographs (MS0043)
  • Don E. Gammon Collection: 1920’s-1980’s
    Steamships; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, photographs, plans, notes (MS168)
  • E. L. Elliot Papers: 1940’s-1980’s
    US Navy; World War II—certificates, ephemera, negatives, photographs, reports (MS088)
  • Elwin M. Eldredge Collection: 1800-1964
    Maritime Art; Maritime Commerce; Ship Construction; Steamships; Steamship Companies; Steamship Travel; Tourism; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper and magazine articles, notes, photograph albums, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS091)
  • English Ordnance Manual: 1843
    Royal Navy; Gunnery—drawings; manuscripts (MS265)
  • Erastus W. Smith Papers: 1840-1880
    Ship Construction; Steamships; US Navy—correspondence, government papers, plans, ships’ papers (MS067)
  • Ernest W. Stirling Collection: 1923
    USS Mississippi; US Navy—photograph albums (MS231)
  • Ernest Peterkin Collection: 1914-1919
    Royal Navy; German Navy; U-155; U-Boat; World War I—photographs (MS181)
  • Henry X. Wright Papers: 1849-1924
    CS Navy—certificates, military papers, regulations (MS0072)
  • Henry W. Phillips Papers: 1863-1868
    Armored Vessels; US Navy—correspondence, military papers (MS074)
  • Fred Archer Collection Papers: 1940’s-1970’s
    Merchant Marine; US Navy; World War II—certificates, ephemera, newspaper articles, notes (MS086)
  • Frigate Virginia Research Collection: 1778-1780
    American Revolution; British Navy; HMS Blonde; HMS Virginia—logbooks, manuscripts, notes (MS130)
  • George S. Geer Family Papers, 1862-1995
    Battle of Hampton Roads; USS Monitor—correspondence (MS0010)
  • George F. Pushan Collection: 1917-1919, 1992
    USS Henderson; US Navy; USS Virginia; World War I—photographs (MS174)
  • George Masters, Jr. Collection: 1944-1946
    Seabees; US Navy—accounts, newsletters, photographs, postcards (MS182)
  • George S. Geer Papers: 1862-1866
    Battle of Hampton Roads; USS Monitor—correspondence (MS010)
  • George Warming Collection: 1915-1917
    German Commerce Raiders; German POWs; German Village, Newport News, VA; World War I—ephemera, photographs, postcards (MS189)
  • H.A. Richardson Letter: 1862 March 27
    Peninsular Campaign, USS Monitor — correspondence (MS0317)
  • Harold Sniffen Collection: 1942-1945
    Japan Campaign; Landing Ships; US Navy; World War II—certificates, correspondence, military papers, photographs, plans (MS057)
  • Harry S. Taylor Papers: 1910’s-1920’s
    US Navy; World War I—certificates, correspondence, notes, photographs, scrapbooks (MS059)
  • Henry D. Wilson Collection: 1880’s-1910’s
    Great White Fleet; Spanish-American War; US Navy—scrapbooks (MS161)
  • Henry M. Wright Papers: 1861-1917
    CS Navy—certificates, military papers, regulations (MS072)
  • Henry W. Phillips Papers: 1863-1868
    Armored Vessels; US Navy—correspondence, military papers (MS074)
  • Isaac Newton Papers: 1840-1935
    Armored Vessels; John Ericsson; USS Monitor; Peninsula Campaign; CSS Virginiacertificates, correspondence, ephemera, military papers, notes, photographs, publications, reports (MS013)
  • J. G. Dugdale Collection: 1914-1916
    Royal Navy; Gallipoli Campaign; HMS Prince of Wales; World War I—photograph album (MS196)
  • Jacob Nicklis Papers: 1862-1863
    Civil War; USS Monitor; US Navy—correspondence (MS363)
  • Jay Warren Collection: 1920’s-1930’s
    Destroyers; US Navy—photographs (MS170)
  • John Ericsson Letter: 1864
    USS Monitor, John Ericsson—letter (MS0312)
  • John B. Huhn Collection: 1920’s-1940’s
    Aviation; US Navy—ephemera, photographs (MS171)
  • John C. Beaumont Journal, 1862-1863
    Civil War, South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, USS Sebago, USS Nantucket, Siege of Charleston, Fort Wagner—journal(MS409)
  • John Ericsson Letter: 1864
    USS Monitorcorrespondence (MS312)
  • John L. Worden Papers:1844-1896
    USS Monitorcertificates, correspondence, ephemera, photographs, reports (MS016)
  • John O. Sands Papers: 1960’s-1970’s
    American Revolution; Underwater Archaeology; “Yorktown’s Captive Fleet”—correspondence, manuscript, notes, photographs (MS144)
  • Joseph D. Legere Papers: 1944-1946
    USS Gherardi; World War II—correspondence (MS066)
  • Lester Beardslee Collections: 1890’s-1900’s
    Asia; Expeditions, Japan, Commodore Matthew C. Perry; South America; US Navy—invitations, newspaper articles, photographs, programs (MS260)
  • Lily McCarthy Collection: 1780’s-1950’s
    Royal Navy; Horatio Nelson—maps, photographs, plans, stamps (MS285)
  • Lorraine M. Bartlett Papers: 1943-1945
    US Navy WAVES; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, military papers, newspaper articles, photographs(MS041)
  • Mclwane Naval Career Collection: 1920’s
    Naval Training Station, Newport, RI; Seaplanes; US Navy—scrapbooks (MS150)
  • Milton H. Dickey Collection: 1921-1963
    Ports (Asia and Europe); US Navy—booklets, certificates, newspaper articles, photographs (MS244)
  • P. Shepard/Stephen Donelly Papers: 1885-1891
    USS Juanita; US Navy—journal (MS291)
  • Postal Stamp and Cover Collection: 1840-present
    Foreign Navies; Ports; Steamships; US Navy—envelopes, stamps (MS002)
  • Rezin H. Gist Letters: 1813
    War of 1812; USS Chippewa; Dudley’s Defeat –correspondence (MS0292)
  • Robert G. Skerrett Collection: 1880’s-1940’s
    Aeronautics; Diving; RMS Lusitania; Naval Aviation; Naval Medicine; SS Normandie; Robert Peary; Polar Exploration; Salvage; Ship Launchings; Steamships; Submarines; Torpedoes; US Navy; World War II—articles, correspondence, ephemera, government reports, manuscripts, newspaper articles, patents, photographs, plans (MS163)
  • Robert Loder Papers: 1917-1918
    US Navy; World War I—correspondence, photographs (MS065)
  • T. B. DeNegre, Jr. Papers: 1898
    Monitor Type Vessels; Spanish-American War; US Navy—photographs, scrapbooks (MS151)
  • Thomas F. Rowland Collection: 1862-1910
    Continental Iron Works; USS Kaatskill; USS Monitorcontracts, notes, patents, photograph albums, plans (MS376)
  • Thomas H. Stevens Papers: 1862
    USS Monitor; Charles Wilkes—correspondence, military papers (MS358)
  • United States Army Signal Corps Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation Photographs, Indexes, and Other Material, 1942-1946
    US Army; Shipment of goods; Liberty Ships; World War II—photographs (P0003)
  • USS Bon Homme Richard Collection: 1940’s-1960’s
    Aviation; US Navy—photographs (MS177)
  • USS Constellation: 1910’s-1920’s
    USS Constellation; US Navy Vessels—newspaper articles, photographs (MS253)
  • USS Hampton Collection: 1993-present
    Submarines; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, minutes, photographs, plans (MS035)
  • USS Java Outfitting Papers: 1815
    Commodore Oliver H. Perry; US Navy—ships’ papers (MS215)
  • USS Monitor Design and Construction Collection: 1861-1862
    Cornelius Bushnell; CS Navy; CSS Alabama; John A. Griswold; US Navy; USS Monitor—correspondence, receipts, telegraphs (MS335)
  • Virgil N. Respess Papers: 1942-1955
    US Coast Guard; World War II—certificates (MS301)
  • Virginia Ferguson Papers: 1910-1914
    Aviation; Eugene Ely; Underwater Photography; Wreck Sites—newspaper articles, photographs (MS235)
  • W. R. Akers Papers: 1912
    USS Texasnotes (MS186)
  • William Culver: 1941-1945
    US Navy; World War II—correspondence, manuscripts, notes (MS129)
  • William Moneghan Papers: 1861-1862
    Peninsula Campaign; USS Monitor; CSS Virginiacorrespondence (MS014)
  • William Pinkney Papers: 1807-1808
    Chesapeake-Leopard Affair—correspondence (MS097)
  • William S. Wheeler Papers: 1856
    US Navy—notes (MS185)
  • World War II US Navy Ship History Collection: 1930’s-1950’s
    US Navy; World War II—ephemera, manuscripts, notes, photographs (MS200)

Explore information on coastal, inland and ocean navigation. Study material on seamanship, including skills necessary to operate vessels, such as celestial navigation and the use of navigational instruments, including horological instruments. Seek out works on navigational aids, such as buoys, nautical tables, pilot’s guides and sailing directories. Find selected items on maritime weather and safety at sea.

  • Addington D. Frye Papers: 1865-1868
    Compass Adjustment—correspondence (MS208)
  • Charles H. B. Caldwell Collection: 1865
    Signal Codes—correspondence, drawings (MS238)
  • Edward J. Willis Collection: 1920’s-1930’s
    Aerial Navigation; Altitude; Navigation; US Navy—charts, correspondence, newspaper articles, manuscripts, reports(MS162)
  • Edward J. Willis Collection: 1932-1936
    Navigational Instruments—patents (MS108)
  • English Ordnance Manual: 1843
    Royal Navy; Gunnery—drawings; manuscripts (MS265)
  • John Bowen Collection: 1960’s-1970’s
    Harbors; Lighthouses; Navigation—photographs (MS191)
  • R. S. Brenner Collection: 1970’s
    Boatswain Calls—photographs (MS307)
  • Werner Caskel: 1930’s
    Astrolabes; Navigational Instruments—manuscripts, notes (MS295)

Follow your recreational interests into boating, sailing, cruising, water sports, races and the history of Chris-Craft industries and antique classic boats. Trace histories of the Gold Cup Races, water skiing, surfboarding, wakeboarding, swimming, beaches, boat shows, yacht clubs, recreational fishing, diving, rafting, rowing, tubing and other water sports.

  • Arthur Piver Collection: 1950’s-1960’s
    Construction; Design; Multi-Hulls; Recreational Boating; Small Craft; Tri-Marans—correspondence, drawings, notes, photographs, plans, publications (MS232)
  • Barney M. Kerstine Collection: 1942-1947
    Dodge Boat & Plane Company—newspaper articles, photographs (MS184)
  • Basnight Boat Works Collection: 1947-1968
    Small Craft—certificates, newspaper articles, notes, photographs, lists (MS142)
  • Chris-Craft Boat Company Collection: 1922-1980
  • Glenville S. Tremaine Collection: 1930’s-1940’s
    Electric Boat Company (Elco) Boats; Small Craft—catalogs, photographs, plans (MS278)
  • Hampton-One Design Papers: 1950’s-1970’s
    Sailing; Yachts—correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs (MS022)
  • Horace E. Dodge Boat Company Collection: 1930’s-1940’s
    Dodge Boats; Recreational Boating; Small Craft— (MS282)
  • John L. Hacker Collection: 1935-1961
    Recreational Boating; Small Craft; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, photographs, plans (MS310)
  • Lewis R. Gardner Collection: 1903-1959
    Yacht Atlantic—ephemera, invoices, logbooks, newspaper articles, photographs
  • P. J. Grant Collection: 1870’s-1880’s
    Yachts—photograph albums (MS267)
  • R. R. Moore Collection: 1880’s-1960’s
    Yachts—photographs, plans (MS205)
  • Richard Mitchell Collection: 1930’s-1980’s
    Small Craft; Steam Launches; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts photographs, postcards (MS139)
  • Robert Speltz Small Craft Collection: 1910’s-1990’s
    Recreational Boating; Small Craft—advertisements, catalogs, ephemera, newspaper and magazine articles (MS146)
  • T. T. Holder Papers: 1910’s
    Yacht Wachusett—photographs (MS221)
  • Yacht Nourmahl Collection: 1910-1914
    Vincent Astor; Sailing; Yachts—correspondence, plans, boat specifications (MS052)

Discover sailing vessel design, construction and activities from around the world. Analyze historical treatments, commercial and recreational perspectives, using correspondence, plans, and photographs. Strengths include yachting, especially The America’s Cup, along with selected coverage of noteworthy sailing vessels.

  • Adrian C. Nuzzo Collection: 1856-1860
    Sailing Ships—ships’ papers (MS296)
  • Bottomry Case Collection: 1806-1814
    Schooner Aurora—correspondence, legal papers, ships’ papers (MS049)
  • C. C. Carts Papers: 1920’s-1930’s
    Sailing Vessels; Ship Models—correspondence, drawings, newspaper articles, notes (MS058)
  • Charles M. Wright Collection: 1850’s-1930’s
    Figureheads; Sailing Vessels—photographs (MS268)
  • Charles W. DeVoe Papers: 1902-1903
    Cabin Sloops—manuscripts, photographs (MS116)
  • Edward Peirce Collection, 1848-1852
    Andalusia; California Gold Rush—correspondence, maps, drawing (MS12)
  • James Newton Collection: 1930’s
    Mississippi River Vessels—photographs (MS227)
  • Joe Evangelista Collection: 1980-1889
    SS United States—photographs (MS236)
  • M. Brewington Papers: 1920’s-1940’s
    Sailing; Tuckups—correspondence, newspaper articles, photographs, notes (MS063)
  • Martin C. Malone Collection: 1920’s
    Square Rigged Ships—photographs (MS149)
  • Noah Scovill Papers: 1785-1786
    Brig Dolphin—ships’ papers (MS110)
  • Sailing Card Collection, 1850
    Clipper Ships; Advertisements—sail cards (MS9)
  • Scharpenburg Papers: 1860’s-1870’s
    Barque Scharpenburg; Shipping—bills of lading, ships’ papers (MS230)

Examine an extensive collection on shipbuilding, naval architecture, marine engineering, shipyards, navy yards, and boatbuilding, especially Northrop Grumman Newport News, formerly Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Study materials on marine machinery, marine engines, ship and boatbuilding materials, hydraulic engineering, hydraulic structures, ship model making, ship decoration including figureheads, and shipbuilding apprentice schools. Learn how to conduct maintenance and repair on ships, yachts and boats.

  • Abbott H. Thayer Papers: 1910’s
    Ship Camouflage; World War I-correspondence (MS050)
  • Baker Manufacturing Company Papers: 1955-1967
    Monitor Hydrofoil—ephemera, film, newspaper articles, photographs, publications, reports (MS021)
  • Battery Associates Records on Monitor Design and Construction: 1862-1862, 1890
    Cornelius Bushnell; CS Navy; CSS Alabama; John A. Griswold; US Navy; USS Monitor—correspondence, receipts, telegraphs (MS335)
  • C. C. Carts Papers: 1920’s-1930’s
    Sailing Vessels; Ship Models—correspondence, drawings, newspaper articles, notes (MS058)
  • Charles Bailey Collection: 1903-1905
    Newport News, VA; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company—photographs (MS270)
  • Charles E. Emery Papers: 1890
    Pusey & Jones Company; Shipbuilding—correspondence (MS266)
  • Donnell Brass Foundry Papers: 1860’s-1890’s
    Ship Construction—business papers, correspondence, journals (MS089)
  • Edwin S. Cramp Papers: 1900’s-1910’s
    Shipbuilding; Shipyards—correspondence, financial papers (MS226)
  • Edwin Tappan Adney Papers: 1897-1949
    Birch; Boatbuilding; Canoes and Canoeing; Fur Trade; Indians of North America; Indians of South America; Languages; Migrations; Models—clippings, correspondence, drawings, manuscripts, notes, photographs (MS20)
  • Elwin M. Eldredge Collection: 1800-1964
    Maritime Art; Maritime Commerce; Ship Construction; Steamships; Steamship Companies; Steamship Travel; Tourism; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper and magazine articles, notes, photograph albums, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS091)
  • Erastus W. Smith Papers: 1840-1880
    Ship Construction; Steamships; US Navy—correspondence, government papers, plans, ships’ papers (MS067)
  • Floating Dry Dock Camouflage Design Sheets: 1941-1945
    Ship Camouflage; World War II—diagrams, plans (MS056)
  • G. Guy Via Collection: 1930’s-1940’s
    Apprentice School; Naval Architecture; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company—correspondence, handbooks (MS269)
  • Harlan & Hollingsworth Company Plans: 1849-1896
    Ship construction; Steamships; Steam engines—ships plans, deck plans, renderings, architectural drawings (MS0573)
  • Henry A. Leigh Papers: 1880’s-1940’s
    New York Navy Yard; Ship Construction—ephemera, journals, notes, photographs (MS030)
  • Henry A. Swanton Collection: 1895-1903
    Bath Iron Works; Crescent Shipyards; Harlan and Hollingsworth Company; Maryland Steel Company—photograph albums (MS197)
  • Herbert L. Broadbelt Collection: 1920’s
    Cargo; Propellers; Shipyards—photographs (MS249)
  • Homer Ferguson Notebook Collection: 1890’s
    Naval Architecture—notes (MS280)
  • Isaac Newton Papers: 1840-1935
    Armored Vessels; John Ericsson; USS Monitor; Peninsula Campaign; CSS Virginiacertificates, correspondence, ephemera, notes, orders, photographs, publications, reports (MS013)
  • J. V. Patterson Papers: 1904-1928
    Electric Boat Company; Seattle Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; Submarines; World War I—business papers, correspondence, drawings, photographs, plans (MS152)
  • James Rumsey Papers: 1789
    Steam Propulsion of Ships—correspondence (MS048)
  • John Ericsson Letter, 1859
    Steam engines; engine design—correspondence (MS349)
  • John Morrison Papers: 1904-1911
    Armored Vessels; USS Monitor; New York Shipyards; CSS Virginiacorrespondence, notes, reports (MS006)
  • John Oxford Collection: 1730
    Treatise on Shipbuilding—manuscripts (MS302)
  • Marcus F. Ritger, Jr. Collection: 1940’s-1950’s
    SS America; USS Forrestal; The Mariners’ Museum; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; Norfolk, VA; USS Ranger; Skipjacks; US Navy—photographs (MS192)
  • NARA USS Monitor Collection: 1861-1862
    Cornelius Bushnell; Construction; CSS Virginia; John Dahlgren; Gustavus Fox; John Griswold; USS Monitor; Gideon Welles; John Winslow—contracts, correspondence, drawings, reports, specifications (photocopies) (MS341)
  • Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Launching Collection: 1931-1946
    SS America; Newport News, VA; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company History; Ship Construction; World War II—photographs (MS155)
  • Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Record Prints Collection: 1882-1938
    Newport News, VA; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company History; Ship Construction—photographs(MS153)
  • Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Ship Repair Collection: 1943-1962
    Newport News, VA; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company History; Ship Construction; World War II—photographs (MS154)
  • Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Views and Apartments Collection: 1917-1919
    Newport News, VA; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company History—photographs (MS156)
  • North Carolina Shipping Papers: 1941-1946
    Liberty Ships; Shipbuilding; World War II—charts, correspondence, photographs, plans, publications, reports (MS032)
  • Samuel H. Harrison Collection: 1950’s-1960’s
    Getty Oil; Oil Exploration; Ship Construction; Tankers—business records, correspondence, ephemera, handbooks, photograph albums, reports (MS126)
  • Sea Legs Collection: 1950’s-1960’s
    Hydrofoils—photographs, notes, publications, reports (MS090)
  • SS United States Construction Photos: 1951-1952
    Shipbuilding; SS United States—photographs (MS240)
  • Sydney L. Wood Collection: 1930’s-1950’s
    Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; Ship Construction—booklets, manuals (MS309)
  • Thomas F. Rowland Collection: 1862-1910
    Continental Iron Works; USS Kaatskill; USS Monitorcontracts, notes,
    patents, photograph albums, plans
    (MS376)
  • W. M. A. Fletcher Papers: 1880’s-1930’s
    New York, NY; Shipbuilding; Shipyards—business papers, correspondence (MS123)
  • William Angas Papers: 1936-1940
    Screw Propulsion; Steamships—correspondence, notes, photographs, plans (MS134)
  • William C. Hoffman Shipping Agents Papers: 1795-1934
    Maritime Commerce—insurance papers, ships’ papers (MS039)
  • William F. Gibbs Collection: 1910’s-1960’s
    SS America; Fire Engines; Fireboats; Gibbs & Cox; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; Ship Construction; Steamship Travel; SS United States; World War I—business records, correspondence, ephemera, journals, manuscripts, notes, patents, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS179)

Immerse yourself in the study of underwater archaeology, marine salvage, shipwrecks, treasure and wreck sites, especially the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Examine materials on salvage standards and practices, excavations, legal issues, and deep diving.

  • Barque Kobenhaven Collection: 1938-1944
    Shipwrecks—correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, newspaper articles, notes, photography (MS121)
  • Captain J. Johnson Papers: 1900-1928
    Marine Salvage; Merritt, Chapman, and Scott—business papers, correspondence, legal papers (MS111)
  • Cowley Diving Serving Collection: 1930’s-1940’s
    Chicago Harbor; Diving; Salvage—photographs (MS194)
  • Elliot Snow Papers: 1930’s-1950’s
    Ship Launchings; Steamships; US Navy Construction—correspondence, ephemera, invitations, manuscripts, notes(MS023)
  • Frank Aks Collection: 1912-1980’s
    RMS Titanic—correspondence, ephemera, legal papers, newspaper articles, photographs (MS140)
  • George E. Ashby Papers: 1856-1883
    SS George Law; SS Indian Empire; US Navy; Shipwrecks—certificates, correspondence, manuscripts, military papers, newspaper articles, notes (MS122)
  • Grant S. Taylor Collection: 1880’s-1950’s
    Shipwrecks; Steamship Companies; US Navy—drawings, ephemera, notes, photographs (MS064)
  • Helen R. Ostby Letter: 1912
    Titanic; Carpathia; shipwrecks—correspondence (MS0475)
  • John E. Williamson Collection: 1913-1914
    Diving; Barge Jules Verne; Salvage—photographs (MS175)
  • Ken and Jean Haviland Collection: 1900-1986
    Chinese Steamboats, Maritime Commerce, Shipwrecks, Steamship Travel—clippings, photographs, notes, subject files(MS342)
  • Mary Lines Letter, 1912
    Titanic; Carpathia; shipwrecks—correspondence (MS435)
  • Northrop Grumman Newport News USS Monitor Photograph Collection: 2001-2002
    The Mariners’ Museum; USS Monitor; NOAA; Salvage—photographs
    (color)
    (MS336)
  • R. W. Orrell Papers: 1914-1974
    USS Cyclopscertificates, correspondence, newspaper articles, reports (MS068)
  • RMS Lusitania Collection: 1915-1957
    Ship Sinkings; World War I—correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper articles (MS045)
  • Robert G. Skerrett Collection: 1880’s-1940’s
    Aeronautics; Diving; RMS Lusitania; Naval Aviation; Naval Medicine; SS Normandie; Robert Peary; Polar Exploration; Salvage; Ship Launchings; Steamships; Submarines; Torpedoes; US Navy; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, government papers, manuscripts, newspaper articles, patents, photographs, plans (MS163)
  • Samuel W. Stanton Collection: 1870’s-1910’s
    Hudson River: Steamship Travel; RMS Titanic; Tourism—correspondence, drawings, ephemera, journals, notes, photographs (MS094)
  • Virginia Ferguson Papers: 1910-1914
    Aviation; Eugene Ely; Underwater Photography; Wreck Sites—newspaper articles, photographs (MS235)

Explore all aspects of the design, construction, and history of steam, nuclear and diesel powered ships. Trace the history of steamships from transportation to a means of recreation. Browse through photographic images, steamship line histories, scrapbooks, newspaper articles and business correspondence.

    • Airfoto Collection: 1970’s
      Steamships—photographs (MS165)
    • Alexander C. Brown Papers: 1940-1980
      Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal; Dismal Swamp; Juniper Waterway; Lightships; RMS Lusitania; Old Bay Line (Baltimore Steam Packet Company); US Navy; US Coast Guard; Virginia Pilots; World War II—correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, notes, photographs, research material (MS137)
    • Baltimore Steam Packet Company and Chesapeake Steamship Company Merger Records: 1939-1940
      Baltimore Steam Packet Company; Chesapeake Steamship Company; Steamship Travel—business papers; legal papers; reports (MS132)
    • Baltimore Steam Packet Company Collection: 1924-1959
      Chesapeake Bay; Steamship Travel—annual reports, financial papers (MS201)
    • C. R. Suter Collection: 1870’s-1910’s
      River Steamboats; Steam Launches—photographs (MS180)
    • Captain H. A. Burns Papers: 1909-1934
      Lighthouses; Mallory Line; Merchant Marine; US Navy; World War I—certificates, correspondence, journals, logbooks, ships’ papers (MS028)
    • Cecil Spanton Ashdown Collection: 1940-1981
      Alcoa Company; Shipping Lines—newspaper articles, photographs, scrapbooks (MS234)
    • Cecil Spanton Ashdown Papers: 1950’s-1980’s
      Alcoa Steamships; Motor Vessels; Tourism—booklets, calculations, correspondence, ephemera, plans (MS220)
    • Charles Krcilek Papers: 1931-1932
      Steamship Travel; Tourism; Tourism, United States Lines—correspondence (MS117)
    • Christian Bjornson Papers: 1936-1940
      Steamship Travel; Tourism—correspondence, ephemera, notes (MS118)
    • Cigarette Card Collection: 1910’s-1950’s
      Royal Navy; German Navy; Pirates; Steamships; US Navy; World War I; World War II—cards (MS204)
    • Denys P. Meyers Stereoview Collection: 1860’s-1910’s
      Ports; Steamboats—photographs (MS308)
    • E. J. Timmons Collection: 1939
      SS Cimaron; Launchings; SS Seakay; Steamships—photographs (MS158)
    • Elliot Snow Papers: 1930’s-1950’s
      Ship Launchings; Steamships; US Navy Construction—correspondence, ephemera, invitations, manuscripts, notes(MS023)
    • Elwin M. Eldredge Collection: 1800-1964
      Maritime Art; Maritime Commerce; Ship Construction; Steamships; Steamship Companies; Steamship Travel; Tourism; US Navy—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper and magazine articles, notes, photograph albums, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS091)
    • Erastus W. Smith Papers: 1840-1880
      Ship Construction; Steamships; US Navy—correspondence, government papers, plans, ships’ papers (MS067)
    • Ernest A. Maier Collection: 1930-1983
      SS Laieta; Tankers—photographs (MS206)
    • Frederick J. Sedgewick Collection: 1890’s-1930’s
      Maritime Commerce; Steamship Travel; Tourism—correspondence, ephemera, maps, newspaper articles, notes, photographs, postcards (MS095)
    • Frederick Parker Collection: 1910’s-1930’s
      Riverboats-photograph albums (MS195)
    • Grant S. Taylor Collection: 1880’s-1950’s
      Shipwrecks; Steamship Companies; US Navy—drawings, ephemera, notes, photographs (MS064)
    • Harry C. Armstrong Collection: 1960’s
      Cargo Vessels; Ferries; Steamships; Tugs—photographs (MS193)
    • Ken and Jean Haviland Collection: 1900-1986
      Chinese Steamboats, Maritime Commerce, Shipwrecks, Steamship Travel—clippings, photographs, notes, subject files(MS342)
    • Kowalchie Collection: 1968-1969
      Steamship Travel; Tourism; SS United States—ephemera, maps, plans (MS239)
    • Leo E. Ullman Jr. Collection: 1937-1967
      Steamship Travel; Tourism—newspaper articles, menus, passenger, postcards, tickets (MS256)
    • Marcus F. Ritger, Jr. Collection: 1940’s-1950’s
      SS America; USS Forrestal; The Mariners’ Museum; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; Norfolk, VA; USS Ranger; Skipjacks; US Navy—photographs (MS192)
    • Mary Lines Letter, 1912
      Titanic; Carpathia; shipwrecks—correspondence (MS435)
    • Nieuw Amsterdam Menus, 1953-1954
      Holland America Line; Nieuw Amsterdam—menus (MS417)
    • Phil Meyers Collection: 1940’s-1970’s
      Cargo Vessels, Tankers—photographs
    • Postal Stamp and Cover Collection: 1840-present
      Foreign Navies; Ports; Steamships; US Navy—envelopes, stamps (MS002)
    • Rolf Bjornson Papers: 1980’s-1990’s
      Cruises; Steamship Travel; Tourism—ephemera, newsletters (MS017)
    • Samuel W. Stanton Collection: 1870’s-1910’s
      Hudson River: Steamship Travel; RMS Titanic; Tourism—correspondence, drawings, ephemera, journals, notes, photographs (MS094)
    • SS Ephemera Box List
      Guide to the Steamship Ephemera Collection Box List (MS0015)
    • SS Ephemera Folder Listing: 1840’s-present
      Cruises; Immigration; Maritime Commerce; Steamship Travel; Tourism—ephemera (MS015)
    • SS United States Construction Photos: 1951-1952
      Shipbuilding; SS United States—photographs (MS240)
    • SS United States Scrapbook: 1951-1960
      William F. Gibbs; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; SS United States—correspondence, ephemera, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs (MS096)
    • Thomas L. Rowlands Letter: 1864 January 6
      USS Roanoke; USS Minnesota; Naval operations; Newport News (Va.) — correspondence
    • William F. Gibbs Collection: 1910’s-1960’s
      SS America; Fire Engines; Fireboats; Gibbs & Cox; Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; Ship Construction; Steamship Travel; SS United States; World War I—business records, correspondence, ephemera, journals, manuscripts, notes, patents, photographs, plans, scrapbooks (MS179)
    • William Monegan Letters: 1861-1885
      Peninsula Campaign; USS Monitor; CSS Virginia—correspondence (MS0014)
    • William Tippitt Collection: 1865-1888
      Cairo, IL; Steamboats—manuscripts, newspaper articles, photographs (MS120)

Photography Collection

The collection of over 600,000 images has given support for research, publications, and exhibits. The photographic collection traces the historical, technological, and artist developments of the medium. The collection includes daguerreotypes, salt prints, ambrotypes, tintypes, stereographs, cyanotypes, cabinet cards, gelatin-silver prints, and recently color-prints. The Museum also has an extensive collection of approximately 20,000 post cards depicting a wide variety of maritime related activities including life saving, harbors and towns, ships portraits and construction,naval ships and deck scenes.

A partial listing of the scope and significance of the collections include:

  • Whaling Sailing Ships
  • USS Monitor
  • Fishing Activities
  • Ocean Liners/Steamships
  • Lighthouses and Keepers
  • Disaster at sea
  • Lifesaving
  • Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation
  • Immigration
  • U.S. Navy History
  • Yachting
  • Sailing Ships
  • Americas Cup
  • River Steamers
  • Chesapeake Bay
  • Ship Design
  • Recreational Boating
  • New York Harbor
  • Port Cites
  • Ship Construction
  • Spanish-American War
  • Great Lakes
  • Commercial Shipping
  • Early diving and salvage
  • Civil War at Sea

On the Deck of the Schooner by Edwin Levick On the Deck of the Schooner, circa 1923

Edwin Levick came to America in 1899 from London to work as a translator of Arabic for the Guaranty Trust Company in New York City. He soon turned his attention to photography and was supplying his photographic services to the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the New York Herald Tribune as well as Rudder and Motorboat Magazine. He began to write for newspapers and photograph for magazines of the day; he eventually decided to specialize in maritime photography. Within a few years, Levick’s successful business had expanded having to employing seven assistants, including Morris Rosenfeld, who would later gain a reputation as a premier maritime photographer in his own right.

Photograph, Crowd Seeing Off Olympic by Edwin Levick

Crowd Seeing Off Olympic, 1921 56288
Edwin Levick Collection

In 1929, Levick died at his home at 173 Mount Joy Place at the age of 61 and the peek of career, in New Rochelle, New York. The New Rochelle Standard declared he was the “best known maritime photographer in the nation…. a genuinely artistic soul.” He had lived in New Rochelle for the past fifteen years and was a member of the New Rochelle Yacht Club.

The Long Haul, 1952 by A. Aubrey Bodine The Long Haul, 1952
By A. Aubrey Bodine

A true son of the Chesapeake, A. Aubrey Bodine was born in Baltimore in 1906. He became interested in photography as a teenager, and at only twenty-one he began working as a photographer for the Baltimore Sun-a professional relationship that would last a half-century. Every week Bodine’s work was featured in the newspaper’s popular Sunday magazine. Whether photographing watermen, cypress trees, or a Maryland power plant, Bodine showed a unique artistic vision and a love of the life and landscape of the Chesapeake Bay throughout his work. His exquisite photographs instantly distinguished him from other photographers and created in their viewers an awareness and keen appreciation of the beauty and diversity of the region.

Dawn Arrival, 1958 by A. Aubrey Bodine Dawn Arrival, 1958
By A. Aubrey Bodine
The Stevedores by A. Aubrey Bodine The Stevedores, 1959
By A. Aubrey Bodine
    Photograph, 91st Division aboard HR-103 by HRPE 1st Lt. Chetlain Sigmen and Company K, 3rd Battalion, 91st Division aboard HR-103 before Sailing Overseas, April 1, 1944

    A natural harbor, Hampton Roads had served the nation as a military port in the Spanish-American War and World War I. During World War II the port headquarters was established in Newport News, Virginia. During this time, the port ranked third in total tonnage after the ports of New York and San Francisco, California. The number of ships that left port during that time numbered 3,294. An astounding 12.5 million measured tons of supplies and equipment and more that 1.6 million troops would move through the facility at the wars end. Brigadier General John R. Kilpatrick, former commanding officer of the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, donated more than 150,000 negatives and photographs to The Mariners’ Museum. Created by the United States Army Signal Corps, these images of Hampton Roads’ role in the war have become a poignant visual diary of a nation in time of war.

    Check out our HRPE Online Exhibit

    Photograph, Red Cross volunteers serve coffee by HRPE Red Cross Volunteers Serve Coffee to Soldiers on Pier 6, Newport News, VA March 20, 1945
    Photograph, Welcome Home by Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation Welcome Home, Homeward Bound Veterans Marching through Victory Arch August 8, 1945
      McDougall by David Barry McDougall by David Barry

      David Barry was born in Honeoye Falls, New York, March 6,1856. In 1878, David Barry apprenticed with photographer O.S. Goff who had an established business in Bismarck, North Dakota taking photographs of military personnel and Indian subjects. Two years later Barry established himself as a professional photographer. He specialized in photographs of the Sioux Indians involved in the Custer Battle and was nicknamed “The Little Shadow Catcher”.

      In 1891, he moved and established a photography studio at 522 Tower Avenue in West Superior, Michigan and began to take photographs of the Great Lakes whalebacks as they were built. By 1892, thirty-one whalebacks were constructed, and of these fifteen were freight steamers, twenty-four were barges, and one passenger steamer, Christopher Columbus. Whaleback construction ended in 1899, but Barry continued to photograph until his death on March 6th, 1936 his eightieth Birthday.

        Photograph Airship Akron over Ferry Boat President Roosevelt by Percy Loomis Sperr Airship Akron over Ferry Boat President Roosevelt, circa 1926

        Percy Loomis Sperr was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1889 and gravitated to New York City after college sometime in 1924. An author by choice, he began to illustrate his literary ambitions with photographs and then discovered his photographs were in greater demand than his writing. Sperr sold enough photographs to maintain a livelihood but eventually opened and managed a second hand bookstore until his death in 1964.

        Sperr became know as the “official photographer of New York City,” photographing community activities and events. His photographers business card read “A growing collection of over 30,000 views of: New York Harbor; ships; old and modern, Sky-lines, dock scenes, skyscrapers, Old Houses, Foreign Quarters, Pushcarts, Farms, Old New York Scenes.” His chief interest became the waterfront and his photographs often show ship’s mast and harbor scenes juxtaposed in the background seen against the towering city skyline.

        Photograph, Dockworkers Nosing Barge up to Pier, circa 1927 by Percy Loomis Sperr Dockworkers Nosing Barge up to Pier, circa 1927
        Photograph, Schooner Theoline at Pier 11, circa 1935 by Percy Loomis Sperr Schooner Theoline at Pier 11, circa 1935
          Air-Blown Skin Boats, Bajuar, Nepal, circa 1880 by Samuel Bourne, photographer Air-Blown Skin Boats, Bajuar, Nepal, circa 1880 by Samuel Bourne, photographer

          This image of inflated animal (possibly goat or sheep) skins being carried to the banks of the Beas River, Bajura, Nepal was taken by British photographer Samuel Bourne. In the 1860’s, British photographer, Samuel Bourne (1834-1912), traveled extensively across India photographing landscapes, historical places and people. The inflated skins would be secured to one another and a small platform placed on the top to form a buoyed raft or “sarnai.” Such rafts have been used in Asia – India, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, China, Iran, Iraq, and Armenia – as a means of transporting people and cargo for thousands of years. Bourne’s dark room tent can be seen under the tree on the left side of the photograph.

            The Reliance, 1903, Nathaniel Livermore Stebbins, photographer The Reliance, 1903, Nathaniel Livermore Stebbins, photographer

            Nathaniel Livermore Stebbins was born in 1847 and began photographing around 1887. His documentation of early America’s Cup races includes yacht launchings and construction, shipyard workers, and those who sailed in the early Cup races. In 1899, his photographs were displayed at the International Maritime Exhibition in Boston alongside the work of America’s premier marine artists, including painters William Pierce Stubbs and Antonio Jacobsen. Stebbins was the only photographer represented in the exhibition, attesting to the high esteem in which his work was held.



            Research Assistance

            Library staff provide assistance to researchers visiting the facility. Prior to your scheduled visit, please read the guidelines, search the Library Catalog to identify items of interest, and review our Special Collections.

                • Fees for services vary. Prepayment is required.
                • Requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
                • Staff will conduct a maximum of six hours of research per request.

            As a general rule, the more information you provide, the better the final research product.

            Essential

                • A detailed description of the information you are seeking
                • For vessel requests, the complete name of the vessel or name of boat model and length
                • For Chris-Craft, the hull number is required. Model and length are desired.
                • For other recreational craft, the model and length of boat are needed.

            Highly Desirable

                • Year the vessel was built or years of activity
                • There are many vessels with the same name operating during a particular time period, therefore the year built is almost essential. If you do not have this information, the research will require additional time.

            Desirable

                • Vessel builder or designer
                • Name of shipbuilder or shipyard
                • For recreational craft, the complete company name
                • Type of propulsion
                • Identify if the vessel is powered by sail, steam, diesel, or other
                • Type of rigging, hull structure or function of vessel

            For sailing vessels, rigging such as Bark, Brig, Brigantine, Schooner, Ship, Sloop, Snow, etc.
            Hull structure or function of vessel such as Bugeye, Buy Boat, Canoe, Deadrise, Dory, Ferry, Hydrofoil, Liberty Ship, Skiff, Skipjack, Tanker, Tugboat, etc.

            When searching for your immigrant ancestor’s vessel

                • Port and date of departure
                • Port and date of arrival
                • Ship Captain’s name

            Note: our collection focuses primarily on vessels rather than on individuals although we have a limited number of passenger lists from the late 19th century.

            For the Library or general research requests contact:

            Library & Archives
            (757) 591-7782
            [email protected]

            For information on Chris-Craft, or for Chris-Craft research requests contact:

            Chris-Craft Archives
            (757) 591-7785
            [email protected]

            For Licensing information (commercial use, public display, licensing agreements) contact:

            Digital Services Department
            (757) 591-7703
            [email protected]

              Effective July 1, 2018

              Low-Resolution Digital Scans

              Library staff can provide low-resolution digital scans upon request. A processing fee of $15 for Museum members and $30 for non-members will be added for scans in excess of 50 pages and will be applied to each set of 50 pages.

              Non-Members$1.00 per page
              Members$0.50 per page

              Research Fees

              Library staff members are available to conduct in-depth research of our collections for patrons. Research requests should be submitted to [email protected] or via the online Request Research Assistance Form.

              Pre-payment for research is required and will be invoiced via PayPal. Payments can also be made by check or money order. Research packets include up to 15 low-resolution digital scans. If additional scans are required, additional fees may be assessed. Research packets include up to 15 low-resolution digital scans. If additional scans are required, additional fees may be assessed.

              A prepaid non-refundable research fee is required:

              Non-Members$60/hour; $30/half-hour
              Members$45 per hour; $22.50 per half-hour

              Requests are answered in the order received. Although our staff will do their best to answer your questions, please understand that we cannot guarantee a positive result.

              Shipping and Tax

              Any applicable shipping cost will be based on delivery address. Virginia residents are subject to tax.

              Plans and High Resolution Reproductions

              For inquiries regarding reproductions of our plans or for high-resolution reproductions, please contact [email protected]

                • Response times will vary depending upon the number of requests received, the complexity of your request and the number of staff available to conduct research.
                • Normal response time for a research package is 4 – 6 weeks following receipt of payment or providing credit card information.
                • Normal response time for vessel or plan image research is 1-2 weeks following receipt of payment.
                • Fax a copy of the Library Research Request Form to (757) 591-7310
                • Call (757) 591-7782
                • Submit a Research Request online
                • Mail a written request including a check, money order or credit card information to:
              • The Mariners’ Museum Library
                100 Museum Drive
                Newport News, VA 23606

                To facilitate the research process, we prefer electronic or written research requests containing detailed information.


                  Chris-Craft Archives

                  The Chris-Craft name is synonymous with speed and craftsmanship. For more than sixty years, this world-wide boating empire, founded by Christopher Columbus Smith, was a leader in producing powered pleasure boats.

                  The archives of Chris-Craft Industries were acquired by the Museum in 1986. Comprising more than 350 linear feet of records, this collection is considered one of the most complete histories of a boatbuilding company. The collection covers all models produced by Chris-Craft from 1922 through 1980 and consists of the major components listed below.

                  The Mariners’ Museum Library is proud to have the responsibility of maintaining the legacy of Christopher Smith, the “dean” of American standardized boatbuilding.

                  A Chris-Craft Hull Card

                  Boat Equipment Records

                  Popularly termed “hull cards,” these are primary sources of information. Approximately 119,000 of these documents were created by Chris-Craft as a permanent record for the original standard and optional features of each hull produced. Details such as hull number, model, engine type, paint color, upholstery, place of construction, original dealer, and other hardware features are contained on these cards.

                  Constructing a runabout

                  Photographs

                  More than 25,000 black and white photographs in the collection depict early boat construction, dealer showrooms, marine engine productions, and celebrity Chris-Craft owners, as well as the many models of runabouts and cruisers produced by the company.

                  Boat plans of a Chris-Craft

                  Boat Plans

                  More than 55,000 original design plans document virtually every model built. Some of the more popular models represented include the Cadet, Riviera, Cobra, Continental, Holiday, Sportsman, and Racing Runabout, in addition to a full range of cruisers. These plans illustrate the beauty and strength of the Chris-Craft boats.

                  Chris-Craft Instruction Manuals

                  Sales Catalogs, Price Lists, & Boat and Engine Manuals

                  A nearly complete collection of sales and boat literature provides accurate data on boat styling, pricing, and general specifications.

                    History of Chris-Craft Runabouts

                    Learn more about the history of Chris-Craft Runabouts, by reading an article written by Tom Crew, former archivist of The Mariners’ Museum, who has a national reputation as an expert on the history of Chris-Craft boats.

                    By Tom Crew, former Archivist, The Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VirginiaChris C. Smith, Boat & Engine Co.

                    The Chris-Craft name is synonymous with both speed and craftsmanship. For more than sixty years, this worldwide boat building empire, founded by Christopher Columbus Smith, was a leader in producing standardized powered pleasure boats. Thousands have enjoyed the cooling spray while boating on a warm summer afternoon in a classic Chris-Craft. Many antique boat enthusiasts easily recognize the design features and rakish style of these varnished mahogany beauties. Yet most people know little about the early Chris Smith runabouts or their features. Documentation is sparse and photographs are rare, but through careful research and interviews with some owners of these rare boats, the specifications begin to emerge.

                    It is commonly accepted that Chris Smith’s runabout business did not begin until the establishment of Chris Smith and Sons Boat Company in February 1922. In fact, as early as 1915, Smith advertised his custom boat building services in Power Boating Magazine, urging readers to “Let Me Build You A Smith Boat.”

                    This promotional piece featured designs for “pleasure launches, fast runabouts, express cruisers and passenger carrying hydroplanes.” It also clearly showed Smith’s interest in and capabilities for building pleasure boats long before he began the runabout business in 1922. An increasingly successful racing career probably encouraged him to expand his business. Competitive speedboat racing was a method by which boat builders and hull designers tested the quality of their ideas and gained recognition among their peers, Many were propelled into the ring as popular heros. The lust for speed was fueled by such designers as John L. Hacker, George Crouch, and Christopher Columbus Smith, but financed by gamblers, industrialists, and syndicates.

                    By 1915, Smith’s proven winners, Baby Speed Demon and Baby Reliance, were awarded the American Power Boat Association’s coveted Gold Cup. His dreams for a successful pleasure boat business began to take shape. Smith’s racing career continued to flourish during the next several years. An admiring media extolled the string of victories achieved by the Miss Detroit series and it’s championship designer the “wizard 2 of Algonac.” Despite all his racing success, Smith apparently did not wish to remain a one-dimensional boat builder. Although most of his energies seemed to concentrate on racing hulls, he continued to solicit pleasure boat contracts. Stunning documentation of Chris Smith’s ability and virtuosity as a hull designer and boat builder is published in Lloyd’s Register of American Yachts. This premier compilation of data regarding American and Canadian-owned yachts offers indisputable evidence of what was perhaps Smith’s most ambitious project, an 80-foot cruiser. The record indicated a wooden-hulled vessel named Hourless measuring 80ft.x16ft.x6ft., weighing 42 gross tons, and powered by twin, six- cylinder Murray and Tregurtha gasoline engines, designed and constructed by C. C. Smith Boat Company, Algonac, Michigan, in 1919 for Walter E. Flanders of Detroit, Michigan. The cruiser enjoyed a long career, continuing to appear in the registers as the Hourless until 1947. Subsequent name changes and final disposition of the vessel are not indicated. It is, however, an astonishing historical fact that Chris Smith, undoubtedly with the assistance of his talented sons, produced this 80- foot marvel. Their accomplishment is all the more remarkable when you consider that their giant boat building empire never produced a standard cruiser greater than 72 feet in length.

                    Article on the Chris-Craft 26' RunaboutBy 1921, Smith was marketing a standardized 26-foot express runabout through a boat broker, the Central Marine Service Corporation, Detroit, Michigan. A remarkably informative advertisement about this design appeared in the August 1921 issue of Power Boating. The boat was powered with a Hall-Scott four- cylinder 100 horsepower engine and equipped with electric starting and lighting, standard reverse gear, and water-cooled exhaust. It sold for $3,950 and was available in two models, a standard painted finish with mahogany trim or a full mahogany hull for $500 extra.

                    Chris Smith and sonsBoth models were built with Smith’s trademark double- planked bottom. The ad also featured a rare photograph of this runabout showing a large rear cockpit design aft of the engine rather than the more familiar forward steering. This is clear evidence of a design transition. Smith’s design reflected the work of his contemporaries, who typically built runabouts which resembled automobiles with steering controls behind the engine. Within two years, however, Smith redesigned his runabouts with the more popular forward steering. This will be discussed in more detail later. There are no existing records to indicate how many of these boats were built, but here again is clear evidence that Chris Smith was anticipating a move into pleasure boat production before the storied dissolution of his racing partnership with Gar Wood. The following year, Chris Smith and his four sons, Jay W., Bernard, Owen, and Hamilton, established the new Chris Smith and Sons Boat Company.

                    What was perhaps the company’s first advertisement appeared in the April 1922 issue of Motor Boat magazine. Many of us have conformed to the popular notion that the standard 26-foot runabout was the only boat model initially offered by Chris Smith and Sons. This ad contradicts that misconception by listing four different models available. First, there was a 24-foot, 18-mile-per-hour runabout which sold f or $2,200. There were also two different 26′ models, a forward drive double cockpit and a rear drive single cockpit. They sold for $3,000 and $2,800, respectively. These two models reflected the Smiths’ transition from the traditional rear cockpit design to the modern forward cockpit steering. It also indicated their awareness of what was in demand by the popular market. The fourth model offered, a 33-foot Baby Gar, may be a complete surprise to many.

                    Chris-Craft advertisementThis boat achieved advertised high performance speeds from 50 to 60 miles per hour and sold for $7,500. It is true, the first 33-foot Baby Gar runabouts were built by Chris Smith for Gar Wood. The original table of offsets is found in the Chris-Craft Collection. Incidentally, this same advertisement may be the first published use of the nickname “Chris Smith Craft.” This was soon shortened to the better-known Chris-Craft.

                    So what were the first Chris- Crafts? Research into the early accounting and purchase ledgers reveal that the first hull built by the Smiths’ new company was not a runabout, but rather a racer, the Packard-Chris Craft. It was contracted by Colonel Jesse G. Vincent, founder of the Packard Motor Car Company, and delivered to him in August 1922 just in time to participate in the Gold Cup races to be held the following month in Detroit.

                    This powerful new entry onto the racing scene measured 26ft. x 6ft. x 2ft. and was equipped with a six-cylinder Packard 200 Hp. engine which could achieve speeds up to 45.6 miles per hour. The racer had a white painted hull with the words Packard and Chris Craft written in distinctive script on the sides. Colonel Vincent drove Packard-Chris Craft to victory, defeating GarWood, who had won the race the previous five years. Wood’s boat, Baby Gar. Jr., was also a Chris Smith design. A third Smith-built boat known as Chris Craft II also participated in that Gold Cup race. This boat was driven by Gar Wood’s brother George, no doubt in friendly competition, It differed greatly in appearance from its Packard counterpart because it was designed as a standard 26- foot runabout with a single cockpit and steering controls forward of the engine. It was powered by a 180 horsepower Hall-Scott model A7-A aviation engine which proved to be too small for competitive racing. Nevertheless, its importance lay in the fact that this was the second hull built by the Smiths. A previously unidentified photograph found in the Chris-Craft Collection provided a rare glimpse of this early runabout. Through persistent research, the boat’s Gold Cup racing number, G-31, seen in the photograph, was verified to be the Chris Craft II.

                    The Chris-Craft runabout PackardThis photograph proved an excellent source of documentation for many features found on the carly Smith runabouts. Several notable details appear: a single cockpit forward of the engine, no windshield, no lifting rings, pleated upholstery, a raised engine hatch, four large engine compartment vents installed on the covering boards, a large open rear cockpit with wicker chairs, and dark seam compound instead of white deck stripes. Another photograph of a 1922 model boat identified as hull number four, named the All Star, reveals many of the identical features. One notable exception is that the engine hatch was no longer raised, but was redesigned and widened to give a smoother appearance. This boat was originally owned by Dr. W. E. Sanborn.

                    Chris-Craft, the Greatest Bargain Ever OfferedSo did the Smiths follow any standards in building these carly runabouts? In addition to photographic resources, the original hand-written specifications for the 1922 model “Standard 26′ Chris Craft” are carefully preserved in The Mariners’ Museum Research Library and Archives. This seven-page equipment and materials list unquestionably confirms the original features, both seen and hidden, found on these boats. The hull’s overall dimensions were 26ft.x6ft.6in.x24in. The boat was powered by an eight- cylinder Curtiss OX-5 aviation engine, converted for marine use, which generated 90 horsepower at 1400 rpm.

                    It turned an 18×24 Hyde propeller, with a left-hand rotation to achieve a maximum speed of 32 miles per hour. A single forward cockpit provided seating for three people including the driver, while the larger aft cockpit could comfortably carry five on a bench seat and two wicker chairs. The standard double-planked mahogany hull bottom was designed the same as the 26-foot Gold Cup model with canvas coated in white lead laid between the layers and the sides of batten seam construction. The interior featured pleated blue upholstery and gray linoleum flooring. Surprisingly, all the deck hardware consisted of polished brass instead of nickel. This included all the following: cutwater, chocks, cleats, vents, hatch handles, piano hinges, fuel filler plate and cap, bow light, stern flagpole socket, exhaust flanges, self- bailer, and some additional items. All the instruments, however, were nickel-plated, If you purchased a Smith boat it was also equipped with some accessories: mahogany paddle, mahogany pike, canvas fenders, life preservers, 25-pound anchor and line, mooring lines, and tools. It is interesting to note that although the boat was constructed primarily with Philippine mahogany, it also included significant amounts of white oak, butternut, spruce, and ash. Construction costs for this sturdy and well-appointed runabout were calculated to be $997.50 plus motor, installation, and overhead. The boat, therefore, retailed for $3,200.00 plus tax. The Smiths were very pleased with the performance and design of the Chris- Craft, which was described by A. W. Mackerer as a “splendid boat; handles easily — dry, fast and turns.”

                    By 1924 very few changes were evident. A slightly larger 100 horsepower Curtiss OX-5 engine was offered and the runabout’s beam was widened two inches to 6ft.8in., but the addition of a windshield as standard equipment was perhaps the most significant improvement. This attractive curved bottom tilt windshield was eventually offered in two sizes. On the smaller one-piece model the glass was mounted in a metal frame on fifteen-inch stanchions; on the larger two-piece model the glass was divided by a frame molding and mounted on seventeen-inch stanchions. Interestingly, the larger windshield secured on fifteen-inch stanchions, is found on the Miss Belle Isle in The Mariners’ Museum. After only two years in business, the Smiths runabout was beginning to make an impact on the marketplace. Rapid sales growth of the Chris-Craft in the spring of 1924 resulted in the company’s increased production to four boats per week. By May, forty-one new boats were completed for delivery.

                    Chris-Craft Motor Boat Flyer, March 25, 1925This new growth prompted a media campaign in 1925 to expand the public awareness of the Chris-Craft. A redesigned runabout with a new forward double cockpit illustrated full-page advertisements promoting the ability of Chris Smith and Sons to maintain lower prices as a result of their application of “motor car standardization and volume production methods” for their boats. The Smiths were probably the first boat builders to apply these techniques. In an effort to stay ahead of their competition, they cleverly offered the first time payment plan ever presented for selling boats. A potential buyer only needed a down payment of $1,340 to secure his Chris-Craft, with the balance due within twelve months. Another sales incentive fully guaranteed the quality of each boat against construction defects for one year. The literature declared, “It is so nearly trouble-proof that this guarantee has cost an average of only $6 a boat.”

                    The Smiths also tried to avert any possible consumer fears of unscrupulous dealers who would not honor the company’s guarantee with the statement, “When you purchase a Chris Craft, you deal directly with the builders, who are fully responsible for service.” Several more years passed before a dealer network was established.

                    Encouraged by their early success and eager to reach a national market, the Smiths registered their first boat display at the 1926 National Motor Boat Show held in New York City. Here was a wonderful opportunity for the boating public to comparison shop. Fortunately, the Smiths received a great boost from the show’s advanced publicity found in Yachting Magazine. Its editor awarded Chris Smith and Sons Boat evolved and built what are today recognized by many as the world’s fastest boats. This new model assures the Chris-Craft owner a complete unit, economical to operate, fully guaranteed, and setting an envious pace for safety, comfort, speed and smartness.” what a recommendation! The 1926 model did offer two new features, a larger 150 horsepower Kermath engine and a reinforced tilt windshield. This redesigned and strengthened windshield had a solid wood base. It replaced the stanchion- mounted model, which lacked rigidity. Despite only four years in business, the young Chris Smith and Sons Boat Company had achieved a reputation for excellence. Their standard 26-foot runabout known as the Chris-Craft was speedy, strong, safe, and stylish.

                    Chris-Craft New Record articleContinuing improvements, along with an expanding product line, attracted an increasing share of the boating market. The ambitious Smiths made a calculated risk in starting a pleasure boat company, but their love of boats and history of success carried over from racers to runabouts. A boating dynasty was begun.

                    Tom Crew was The Mariners’ Museum Archivist for 14 years, from 1982-1996, and responsible for arrangement, preservation, and administration of the manuscript and photographic collections of The Mariners’ Museum, and has acquired a national reputation as an expert on the history of Chris-Craft boats.

                    Research Assistance

                    Chris-Craft staff search the company archives to prepare research packages tailored to a specific Chris-Craft boat. The research is based upon the Chris-Craft hull identification number and/or the original engine serial number. If you would like to order a Chris-Craft Research package, you must provide the hull number. Failure to do this will necessitate additional correspondence and delay your research, since the Chris-Craft Corporation filed the permanent record of each boat, by this number.

                    Effective July 1, 2018

                    Research Package

                    A research package consists of photocopies of the following types of primary documents, depending upon the quantity of archival information available for a specific boat.

                        • Boat equipment record “Hull Card”
                        • Sales literature
                        • Original price sheet
                        • Black and white production photographs
                        • Engine information
                        • A list of technical drawings
                        • A list of wiring diagrams

                    A prepaid non-refundable research fee is required:

                    Non-Members$60.00
                    Members$35.00

                     

                    Hull Card Only

                    Non-Members$10.00
                    Members$8.00

                     

                    Plans

                    Prices vary based upon the size of the original drawings.

                    8×10$10.00 / $8.00*
                    12×18$25.00 / $20.00*
                    18×24$35.00 / $28.00*
                    24×36$45.00 / $36.00*

                    *Members receive a 20% discount on plans and photographs.

                    Photographs

                    8×10$20.00 / $16.00*
                    11×14$35.00 / $28.00*
                    16×20$45.00 / $36.00*

                    *Members receive a 20% discount on plans and photographs.

                     

                    Manuals

                    Prices vary depending upon the number of pages.

                    Non-Members$10.00 – $20.00
                    Members$8.00 – $16.00

                     

                    Color Reproductions of Sales Literature

                    Prices vary depending on size, number of pages.

                     

                    Low-Resolution Digital Scans

                    Archives staff can provide low-resolution digital scans upon request. A processing fee of $15 for Museum members and $30 for non-members will be added for scans in excess of 50 pages and will be applied to each set of 50 pages.

                    Non-Members$1.00 per page
                    Members$0.50 per page

                     

                    Shipping and Handling

                    Shipping cost based on delivery address. Virginia residents subject to tax.

                     

                    How do I find the Chris-Craft Hull Number?

                    The locations of the hull numbers are as follows:

                        • On a metal plate attached to the underside of the engine hatch cover or engine box on single engine models, and on a metal plate attached to the underside of the starboard engine hatch cover or engine box on twin engine models.
                        • Stamped into the aft surface of the forward header of the engine hatch on single engine models, and stamped into the aft surface of the forward header of the port engine hatch on twin engine models.
                        • Stamped into the top edge of the engine stringer starboard adjacent to engine coupling on single engine models, and stamped into the top edge of the inboard stringer, port engine, adjacent to engine coupling on twin engine models.
                        • Either on top of wood towing bitt, aft face of bow block, extreme forward inboard surface of port toe rail, or aft face of stem midway between chine and sheer.
                        • SPORT BOATS AND RUNABOUTS – Stamped into the forward surface of aft deck beam if seat back is removable.
                        • On the exterior surface of the port bow, just aft of the stem and slightly below and parallel to the sheer.
                        • Stamped into the engine mounting pad, in the case of outboard powered boats, and into a transom frame or suitable wood member in this area. Where no wood surface is readily available, the number will be glassed into the transom on the inboard side.
                        • On the interior surface of the port hull side, forward of the foremost bulkhead. Numbers are glassed over with glass cloth impregnated with clear resin.
                        • Outboard powered models of the sailboat division will also have the number stamped into the engine mounting pad.

                    How do I request Chris-Craft Research Assistance?

                    Fill out the form below and we will get back with you as soon as possible.


                    Links to Selected Chris-Craft Resources

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