Category Archives: Research

SSHSA Announces Launch of Ship History Center

Extensive archive now available to researchers by appointment.

Photo courtesy of SSHA

Photo courtesy of SSHA

The Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA) is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year by offering unprecedented access to its vast archives. With the official opening of the Ship History Center in Warwick, R.I., the organization’s entire collection is now housed under one roof and accessible to researchers.

“This is an exciting time for us and we are pleased to finally have this wealth of knowledge available for study,” SSHSA Executive Director Matthew Schulte said. “The information we have gathered over the years helps us understand not only where we’ve been, but where we are heading in the future. We hope that there are plenty of researchers out there who can take advantage of it.”

Photo courtesy of SSHSA

Photo courtesy of SSHSA

The SSHSA archive comprises hundreds of thousands of images, artifacts, periodicals, artwork, official records and memorabilia that help tell the extensive history of engine- powered vessels, their passengers and their crews. Until recently, these items were stored in warehouses ranging from Long Island to Baltimore.

Last October, the society – which also publishes the quarterly magazine, PowerShips – moved into a building formerly used by the New England Institute of Technology. Since that time, it has consolidated its collection, finally bringing the last of it together this spring. While the goal is to be open for the general public in the near future, additional staff, volunteers and funding are needed before these hours can expand beyond research appointments.

SSHSA 29“This Ship History Center is something that we have been working toward for years, and it is satisfying to see us take this first step,” Schulte said. “But we also know that the work doesn’t stop here. Our goal is not just to appeal to the amateur and professional historians, but to everyone interested in this fascinating segment of American history.”

The move comes as the organization looks to broaden its role as an educator and steward of maritime resources. In recent years, it has launched the online Image Porthole, which has helped identify pictures of thousands of ships from around the world and worked toward uploading portions of its collection so they can be shared instantaneously around the world.

Photo courtesy of SSHSA

Photo courtesy of SSHSA

Future goals include the development of an educational program that will help students connect the revolutionary progress that steamship technology made in the 19th century with the technological advances of today.

The SSHSA was founded in 1935 in a Manhattan apartment by seven amateur steamship historians. Eighty years later, it has grown to become the world’s leading organization on the history of engine-powered vessels, with close to 3,000 domestic and international members in more than 40 countries.

To schedule a visit, please contact us at (401) 463-3570.

Submitted by Bryan Lucier, SSHSA

Penobscot Marine Museum Seeks Input on Fisheries Database

Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

At the recent CAMM meeting Cipperly Good let the membership know that we are at work on imaging and cataloging the 25,000 or so photographs in the National Fisherman collection. This is a visual document of the American fishery from about 1950 to 2000. We hope to have 5,000 images up this summer and will have special pages for these on our web site.

The collection contains material from all over the country, from the Gulf shrimp industry to Bering Sea king crabbers, from California salmon trollers to the Maine lobster industry.

Since the numbers of images in some categories is likely to grow into the hundreds if not thousands I have been thinking about prepackaging some searches on the overall website. And here I can use help because I don’t know what people want to know about fisheries outside of Maine. How do CAMM members address these? These could take the form of drop down lists: regions, craft, species, and/or themes that people might be curious about such as Deadliest Catch.

Please download and review this working spreadsheet of search and subjects. Note the subject headings and search terms that are currently in use that are especially relevant to National Fisheries. Also note the question about regionalization. Comments, additions and clarifications would be welcome. Please email them to me at <bfuller@pmm-maine.org> 

Submitted by Ben Fuller, Penobscot Marine Museum

SSHSA Celebrates New Home

SSHSA's library has been in storage since the 2006 move from the University of Baltimore and they are very excited to make it available to researchers once again.

SSHSA’s library has been in storage since the 2006 move from the University of Baltimore. They are very excited to make it available to researchers once again.

Matthew Schulte and the board and staff of the Steamship Historical Society of America will be officially opening their new headquarters with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15th. Speakers will include Congressman James Langevin, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, CDR Marc Cruder, USCG Ret. (Traveling Senior Marine Inspector for USCG), and Erik Ryan, SSHSA Board President.

CAMM president Dave Pearson sends his congratulations on behalf of all the members of the Council of American Maritime Museums. The new facility is at 2500 Post Road in Warwick Rhode Island.

CAMM Website Resources

Attention CAMM members!

I have recently created two new resource pages on the CAMM website. These public pages are intended to assist researchers and educators in using your online resources. Research Links provides links to information about your research collections and online tools for using those collections. Educational Materials is intended to assist educators find online tools for teaching maritime history. Aside from teacher training opportunities, this listing does not include programs offered at your facility but rather online curriculum and other resources that can be used offsite. I gathered these links by perusing your websites. Please let me know if I have overlooked a link that should be included.

A related resource page, Ship Plans Directory, has also been developed based on the survey forms many of you filled out last summer. Additional collections may be added by filling out the CAMM Ship Plans Survey form and returning it to my attention.

Candace Clifford
CAMM Administrator
maritimemuseums@gmail.com