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Maritime History Collection

Identifier: Maritime History Collection

Scope and Contents

This composite collection contains records such as ship logs, personal journals composed by captains and other crew members, and other miscellaneous documents including an Italian signal book, “protests” or documents that indicate that ship’s crew did not misperform duties when cargo was damaged, and correspondence. The collection spans from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, covering the transition from sail power to steam. Ships’ logs begin in 1797 and span the 19th century ending in 1859, recalling visits to certain islands, ship supplies, and details of journeys to India and China, as well as in the North Sea and Baltic. One log of the H.M.S. Sans Pareil recounts duty with the British fleet in the English channel off the west coast of Europe in 1795. Personal journals primarily belong to captains, officers, and one ship doctor, and span 1840-1926. Journals detail the exploration by the South China Sea and Southeastern Asia in the 1840s, the journey of James F. Smith to California via the U. S. S. Charles Carrol around Cape Horn and South America in 1849-1851, and the travels of Dr. Karl W. Vogel, a yacht physician, who traveled through Europe and South America via the Suez Canal in 1921-1922. The collection also contains miscellaneous documents such as list of ships owned by Royal Navy (1798), protests, and signals from the early 19th century.


  • 1777 - 1926


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

This composite collection contains logs, personal journals, and other miscellaneous documents related to maritime and naval activities of ships primarily from the United States, Great Britain, and Italy. Notably it contains logs and journals from crew and captains of the H. M. S Algiers, H. M. S. Perseverance, H. M. S. Royal George that sank in 1782, H. M. S. Cruizer, and H. M. S. Sans Pareil. It also includes journals from the William Leverreth Hudson (1794-1862), captain of the doomed American ship, the U. S. S. Peacock that of which wrecked off the coast of the Columbia River as part of the Wilkes Expedition in 1841 to explore the Pacific Ocean, as well as the flagship the U. S. S. Vincennes.


2.5 Cubic Feet (8 flat boxes)

Language of Materials




This collection is divided into three series:

Series I: Ships’ Logs, 1777-1859 Series II: Personal Journals, 1841-1926 Series III: Miscellaneous Records, 1798-1817

Series I is arranged alphabetically by ship name, Series II is arranged alphabetically by creator, and Series III is arranged alphabetically by title of document.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

A large portion of the collection has been donated by Dr. Jerome P. Webster.
Guide to the Maritime History Collection
In Progress
Michelle C. Sigiel, prepared from paper card catalog
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106