Documentation Projects: Sally Kress Tompkins Maritime Internship


CAMM supports the documentation of maritime resources by funding the Sally Kress Tompkins Maritime Internship, a cooperative effort with the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) of the U.S. National Park Service.


In 1978, Sally Kress Tompkins joined the HABS staff as an Architectural Historian, serving as Division liaison with high ranking Department of the Army personnel and representatives from other Federal agencies in relation to the identification, evaluation, and inventory-IeveI recording of significant historic structures on military installations. She successfully managed and completed many inventory projects.  After a 1985 Congressional mandate to identify and document historic maritime resources throughout the nation, Sally became the lead on the development of the HAER Maritime Program.  Sally was promoted to Deputy Chief of HABS/HAER in 1989.

Approximately one week after Tompkins’ death, Lynn Hickerson of the National Trust Maritime Program informed HABS/HAER Chief Robert Kapsch that she had been in contact with the leadership of the maritime preservation community and that they had requested that they do something in Sally’s memory to commemorate her efforts in reestablishing a maritime recording program in the United States.  During the 1930s, the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey (HAMMS), modeled after HABS, recorded over 400 ships, of which reportedly only several survive today. One of Sally’s contributions to preservation was to reestablish the maritime recording function within the framework of HAER.

Subsequently, on May 18, 1990, a meeting was held in the HABS/HAER office to establish the Sally Kress Tompkins Internship in Maritime Recording, in honor of Sally’s contribution to that field, and to encourage young architects to develop maritime delineation expertise and to assist in maritime recording.  Those in attendance were Ralph Eshelman, President of CAMM and Director of the Calvert Marine Museum; J. Revell Carr, President and Director of Mystic Seaport Museum; and Peter Neill, President of the South Street Seaport Museum. HABS/HAER Chief Robert Kapsch, HABS/HAER Deputy Chief, John Burns and HAER architect Robbyn Jackson represented HABS/HAER.  CAMM and HABS/HAER entered into a cooperative agreement to implement the internship following that meeting and the two organizations have continued to work towards the goal of maritime documentation throughout the United States.

Some — projects have been completed through this program.  The completed documentation is submitted to the the Prints and Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress and is available online.

The current program coordinator is Todd Croteau of the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER).

Completed Projects

Ongoing Projects

  • Columbia River Boat Surveys
  • Currituck County, North Carolina, watercraft
  • Launch Ena
  • Sloop Kathleen