Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation


(Record Group 41)
1774-1973

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 41.1 Administrative History
  • 41.2 Headquarters Records of the Steamboat Inspection Service 1812-1944
    • 41.2.1 Correspondence and related records
    • 41.2.2 Records relating to casualties, vessel inspection, and safety of life at sea
    • 41.2.3 Records of the Board of Supervising Inspectors
    • 41.2.4 Records relating to vessel personnel
    • 41.2.5 Other records
  • 41.3 Field Records of the Steamboat Inspection Service 1845-1955
    • 41.3.1 Records of the First Supervising District (San Francisco, CA)
    • 41.3.2 Records of the Second Supervising District (New York, NY)
    • 41.3.3 Records of the Third Supervising District (Baltimore, MD, 1852-88; Norfolk, VA, 1888-1942)
    • 41.3.4 Records of the Fourth Supervising District (St. Louis, MO)
    • 41.3.5 Records of the Fifth Supervising District (Galena, IL, 1862-78; St. Paul, MN, 1879-95; Dubuque, IA, 1896-1911)
    • 41.3.6 Records of the Sixth Supervising District (Louisville, KY, 1852-82, 1886-89, 1898-1936; Memphis, TN, 1883-85; Evansville, IN, 1889-97)
    • 41.3.7 Records of the Seventh Supervising District (Cincinnati, OH, 1852-66, 1878-1910; Pittsburgh, PA, 1867-77, 1910-42)
    • 41.3.8 Records of the Eighth Supervising District (Detroit, MI)
    • 41.3.9 Records of the Ninth Supervising District (Buffalo, NY)
    • 41.3.10 Records of the Tenth Supervising District (New Orleans, LA)
  • 41.4 Headquarters Records of the Bureau of Navigation 1798-1935
    • 41.4.1 Correspondence and related records
    • 41.4.2 Records relating to vessel documentation
  • 41.5 Field Records of the Bureau of Navigation 1774-1973
  • 41.6 Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation 1840-1944 (bulk 1920-44)
    • 41.6.1 General records
    • 41.6.2 Records relating to vessel inspection and safety
    • 41.6.3 Records relating to casualties and violations
  • 41.7 Records of the Shipping Service and its Predecessors 1917-42 (bulk 1917-21)
  • 41.8 Textual Records (General) 1866-1945
  • 41.9 Cartographic Records (General) 1940
  • 41.10 Still Pictures (General)

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41.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of the Treasury, by act of May 27, 1936 (49 Stat. 1380).

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of the Treasury:
  • Steamboat Inspection Service (1852-1903)
  • Bureau of Navigation (1884-1903)
In the Department of Commerce and Labor:
  • Steamboat Inspection Service (1903-13)
  • Bureau of Navigation (1903-13)
In the Department of Commerce:
  • Steamboat Inspection Service (1913-32)
  • Bureau of Navigation (1913-32)
  • Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection (1932-36)

Functions: Enforced laws relating to the construction, safety, operation, equipment, inspection, and documentation of merchant vessels. Investigated marine casualties. Enforced navigation laws. Collected tonnage taxes and other navigation fees. Examined, certified, and licensed merchant vessel personnel.

Merchant vessel documentation functions transferred to Bureau of Customs; and functions relating to merchant vessel inspection, safety of life at sea, and merchant vessel personnel to U.S. Coast Guard, by EO 9083, February 28, 1942.

Abolished: By Reorganization Plan No. III of 1946, effective July 16, 1946.

Successor Agencies: Bureau of Customs and U.S. Coast Guard.

Finding Aids: Preliminary inventory of field office records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation and its predecessors in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of District Courts of the United States, RG 21.
Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, RG 26.
Records of the U.S. Shipping Board, RG 32.
Records of the U.S. Customs Service, RG 36.
General Records of the Department of the Treasury, RG 56.

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41.2 Headquarters Records of the Steamboat Inspection Service
1812-1944

History: Vessel inspections, first required by an act of July 7, 1838 (5 Stat. 304), were performed by engineers appointed by U.S. district court judges. The Steamboat Act (10 Stat. 61), August 30, 1852, formally established the Steamboat Inspection Service in the Department of the Treasury and authorized the appointment of supervising steam vessel inspectors, who collectively constituted the Board of Supervising Inspectors. An act of February 28, 1871 (16 Stat. 458), authorized the appointment of a Supervising Inspector General for the Steamboat Inspection Service. Steamboat Inspection Service transferred to Department of Commerce and Labor by act of February 14, 1903 (32 Stat. 825), and to Department of Commerce by act of March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 736). Combined with the Bureau of Navigation to form Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection by act of June 30, 1932 (47 Stat. 415). Renamed Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1936. See 41.1.

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41.2.1 Correspondence and related records

Textual Records: Letters sent by Secretaries of the Treasury, and Secretaries of Commerce and Labor, 1852-1907. Letters sent by the Supervising Inspector General, 1873-1905. Letters sent to supervising and local inspectors, 1889-1905; and to inspectors of foreign vessels, 1883-95. Letters and reports received by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Supervising Inspector General, 1852-1902. Indexes to and registers of letters received, 1866- 1907. General records, including correspondence and memorandums, 1905-35 (560 ft.), with index, 1905-23.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Steamboat Inspection Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

Subject Access Terms: Boiler Explosions, Commission on.

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41.2.2 Records relating to casualties, vessel inspection, and
safety of life at sea

Textual Records: Records relating to casualties, violations of law, and changes in the character of vessels, 1877-1911. Reports of casualties and violations investigated, 1911-35. Transcript of investigation into wreck of the S.S. Valencia, 1906. Lists of boiler manufacturers, 1877-91. Records relating to transportation of dangerous cargo, 1911. Records concerning vessels inspected, 1871-72, 1880-82; steam vessel name changes, 1881-1911; and owners and agents of steam vessels, 1886. Records of the Commission on Boiler Explosions, 1873-76.

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41.2.3 Records of the Board of Supervising Inspectors

Textual Records: Journals and proceedings, 1852-1942. Case files relating to revised rules and safety devices, 1910-42 (109 ft.).

Related Records: For later records relating to the approval of safety rules and devices, see records of the Merchant Marine Council, 26.5.14.

Subject Access Terms: General Slocum, S.S., investigation into sinking of.

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41.2.4 Records relating to vessel personnel

Textual Records: Correspondence concerning certificates of service, 1928-37. Applications for lifeboatman certificates, 1928-34. Certificates issued to lifeboatmen and able seamen, 1915-36 (250 ft.). Lists of officers licensed, 1894-1942. Records of yearly and monthly salaries, 1872-1911. Records of commissions for local inspectors, 1852-96.

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41.2.5 Other records

Textual Records: Annual reports, 1895-1937. Annual statistical reports of local inspectors, 1920-44. Reference file of laws and regulations governing vessel inspection and safety of life at sea, 1812-1942. Circulars, 1877-1941. Bulletins, 1915-35. Records of Supervising Inspector General Dickerson N. Hoover, 1908-33.

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41.3 Field Records of the Steamboat Inspection Service
1845-1955

History: Local inspectors were appointed by federal district court judges, 1838-52. The Steamboat Act of 1852 (SEE 41.2) authorized the Presidential appointment of nine supervising inspectors, each responsible for the administration of steamboat inspection regulations within a given geographical district. Thereafter, local inspectors were chosen by a commission consisting of the district collector of customs, the supervising inspector, and the U.S. district court judge. Local inspectors licensed and classified steam vessel personnel; inspected hulls, boilers, and other equipment; and investigated marine casualties.

Finding Aids: Kenneth R. Hall, comp., "The Organization of the Field Offices of the Steamboat Inspection Service, 1852-1942 (Record Group 41)," 1985.

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41.3.1 Records of the First Supervising District (San Francisco,
CA)

Textual Records: Letters sent and received by local boards at Juneau and Sitka, AK, 1898-1910; and journal of George Whitney, local inspector for Alaska, May-October, 1898. Records of the local board at Seattle, WA, including case files of casualties and violations, 1887-1942; annual reports, 1907-23; inspections of hulls and boilers, 1898-1927; and selected docketed correspondence, 1908-33 (in Seattle).

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41.3.2 Records of the Second Supervising District (New York, NY)

Textual Records (in Boston): Certificates of inspection of steam vessels at New Bedford, MA, by the inspectors of hulls and boilers for the District of Boston and Charlestown, MA, 1870-77.

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41.3.3 Records of the Third Supervising District (Baltimore, MD,
1852-88; Norfolk, VA, 1888-1942)

Textual Records: Samples of licenses as mates of river steamers, Charleston, SC, 1900-39.

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41.3.4 Records of the Fourth Supervising District (St. Louis, MO)

Textual Records (in Kansas City): Abstracts of vessels inspected, 1901-15. Records relating to marshals and witnesses, 1907-12. Reports of penalties imposed, 1908-12. Correspondence concerning violations, 1883-1904. Quarterly reports of vessels inspected, 1900-11.

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41.3.5 Records of the Fifth Supervising District (Galena, IL,
1862-78; St. Paul, MN, 1879-95; Dubuque, IA, 1896-1911)

Textual Records (in Kansas City): Records of the Supervising Inspector, including letters sent, 1862-1911; letters and circulars received, 1866-1910, with registers, 1888-1910; reports to the Secretary of the Treasury, 1874-89; vessel inspection certificates, 1882-1910; and records of actions taken concerning licenses and investigations, 1875-1908. Records of the local board at Galena, IL, and Dubuque, IA, including letters sent, 1871-1910; letters and circulars received, 1871-1910, with registers, 1896-1911; index of licenses, 1870-1910; officers' licenses and related records, 1905-55; and inspection permits and related records, 1867-1910. Records of the local board at St. Paul, MN, including records relating to officers' licenses and oaths, 1879-96; and yacht inspection certificates, 1885-1906.

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41.3.6 Records of the Sixth Supervising District (Louisville, KY,
1852-82, 1886-89, 1898-1936; Memphis, TN, 1883-85; Evansville,
IN, 1889-97)

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1906-41. Blueprints of safety devices, 1907-36. Diaries, Office of the Supervising Inspector, 1924-32. Affidavits of loyalty oaths, 1862-65. Records relating to licenses, 1861-67. Decisions on appeals, 1874-1906.

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41.3.7 Records of the Seventh Supervising District (Cincinnati,
OH, 1852-66, 1878-1910; Pittsburgh, PA, 1867-77, 1910-42)

Textual Records: Vessel inspection files, Pittsburgh, PA, 1922-42 (in Philadelphia). General records of the Supervising Inspector, 1908-39.

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41.3.8 Records of the Eighth Supervising District (Detroit, MI)

Textual Records: Letters sent by supervising inspector, 1906-10. Annual and quarterly reports of casualties, violations, and investigations, 1861-73. Case files of investigations of casualties and violations, Grand Haven, MI, 1911-35. Records (in Chicago), consisting of registers of licenses issued, Chicago, IL, 1870-92; engineers' certificates, Detroit, MI, 1865-67; index of pilot and engineer licenses, St. Ignace, MI, 1871-1919; and records of inspection and certification, Lacrosse, WI, 1875-1911.

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41.3.9 Records of the Ninth Supervising District (Buffalo, NY)

Textual Records: Records of the local board at Cleveland, OH, including applications for certificates of service, 1915-37; journal of the local inspectors, 1853-71; and record of insurance surveys, 1845-49.

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41.3.10 Records of the Tenth Supervising District (New Orleans,
LA)

Textual Records: Records of the local board at New Orleans, including certificates of inspection, 1854-55; and inspectors' workbooks, 1906-10.

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41.4 Headquarters Records of the Bureau of Navigation
1798-1935

History: Navigation law administration placed under Secretary of the Treasury by an act of September 1, 1789 (1 Stat. 55), with local enforcement by Treasury customs officials. On January 22, 1793, the Register of the Treasury became responsible for vessel documentation and for navigation and tonnage statistics. Bureau of Statistics established by an act of July 28, 1866 (14 Stat. 331), to collect navigation statistics, assign numbers to merchant vessels, and publish the annual list of American merchant vessels. Pursuant to acts of May 26, 1790 (1 Stat. 122) and March 3, 1797 (1 Stat. 506), district court judges submitted requests to the Secretary of the Treasury for remission of fines and penalties under the navigation laws. Navigation Division established in Treasury Department, 1870, to administer the fines and penalties function. Redesignated Internal Revenue and Navigation Division, 1878; further redesignated Mercantile Marine and Internal Revenue Division, 1884; abolished, 1887. U.S. circuit courts handled disputes between seamen and masters until June 7, 1872, when judges were authorized to appoint shipping commissioners at various ports to administer navigation laws relating to merchant seamen.

Bureau of Navigation established in the Treasury Department by act of July 5, 1884 (23 Stat 118), to consolidate the administration of all navigation laws except those relating to vessel inspection, lighthouses, lifesaving, and revenue collection (see 26.1). Comprised of employees from the Bureau of Statistics concerned with numbering merchant vessels; the Register and Tonnage Division of the Register of the Treasury; the Internal Revenue and Navigation Division; and shipping commissioners, thereafter appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Transferred to Department of Commerce and Labor by act of February 14, 1903 (32 Stat. 825), and to Department of Commerce by act of March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 736). Consolidated with Steamboat Inspection Service, effective August 1, 1932, by an appropriations act of June 30, 1932 (47 Stat. 415) to form Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection. Redesignated Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1936. See 41.1.

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41.4.1 Correspondence and related records

Textual Records: Letters sent and registers of letters received relating to fines, penalties, and forfeitures, 1865-87; and navigation and tonnage, 1870-87. Letters sent by the Secretary of the Treasury, 1884-95; and the Commissioner of Navigation, 1884- 89. Navigation letters sent, 1884-1907. Registers of letters received, 1884-1906. General correspondence, 1884-1935 (1,567 ft.), with index, 1906-35 (214 ft.). Records relating to the International Marine Conference, 1897-1902; and the Harbor Line Advisory Board, 1895-97, 1900, 1905. Index to navigation bills, 1919-23. Records of appointment and compensation of shipping commissioners and subordinates, 1884-1907. Lists of fines, penalties, forfeitures, and seizures, 1872-81. Digests of decisions and instructions, First Comptroller of the Treasury (1791-1819), 1866; and Secretary of the Treasury (1833-63), 1861-64.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Navigation in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

Subject Access Terms: Dauntless, S.S.; Laurada, S.S.; "motorboat" laws; neutrality laws; Three Friends, S.S.; tonnage tax treaties.

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41.4.2 Records relating to vessel documentation

Textual Records: Certificates of enrollment, 1815-1915, and registry, 1815-1919. Applications for official numbers, 1867- 1917. Yacht licenses and enrollments, 1881-1907. Abstracts of enrollments, 1815-1911; registers, 1815-1912; licenses, 1876- 1912; and yacht licenses, 1883-1910. Index to vessel documents, 1867-1919. Copies of customhouse records used in French spoliation claims (1789-1811), n.d. Records relating to tonnage tax, 1893-1901; tonnage statistics, 1798-1800, 1813-45, 1849-67; and tonnage changes, 1900-23. Records of vessels built, 1878-1926, and metal vessels built, 1825-1919. Records concerning vessels lost at sea or wrecked, 1867-1901; abandoned, 1875-1901; and sold to foreigners, 1875-1924. Records relating to vessels bought from or sold to the Federal Government, seized, or forfeited, 1815-1923. Records concerning foreign built vessels, 1824-1923. Records relating to vessels exempt from documentation, 1874-1924; and merchant vessels removed from documentation, 1879-85. Lists of official numbers and signal letters granted, 1869-1912, and of vessel name changes, 1881-1920.

Finding Aids: Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., List of American-Flag Merchant Vessels that Received Certificates of Enrollment or Registry at the Port of New York, 1789-1870, SL 22, 2 volumes (1968).

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41.5 Field Records of the Bureau of Navigation
1774-1973

History: Vessel documentation functions were performed by customs officials beginning in 1789. Laws relating to merchant seamen were enforced by federal circuit courts until 1872, when shipping commissioners were appointed. Frequently, deputy collectors of customs in local ports served as shipping commissioners. Many of the early records of the Bureau of Navigation were created by collectors of customs.

Textual Records: Vessel documentation and merchant seamen records maintained for the following locations by Bureau of Navigation and predecessor offices, and including certificates of enrollment and registry, licenses, applications for vessel numbers, abstracts of enrollment, builders' certificates, bills of sale, conveyances, mortgages, records of admeasurement and inspection, tonnage statistics, bonds, certificates of ownership, owners' and masters' oaths, master carpenter certificates, shipping articles, logbooks, crew lists, whalemen's shipping papers, mutual release (discharge) books, and registers of services performed by shipping commissioners:

Alton, IL, 1875; Annapolis, MD, 1774-1918; Apalachicola, FL, 1896-1913; Astoria, OR, 1850-1907;

Baltimore, MD, 1789-1920; Barnstable, MA, 1814-1913 and (in Boston) 1835-1918; Bath, ME, 1789-1904; Baytown, TX, 1924-44 (in Fort Worth); Beaufort, SC, 1867-1928; Beaumont, TX, 1934-43 (in Fort Worth); Belfast, ME, 1818-1967; Beverly, MA, 1865-1944 (in Boston); Biloxi, MS, 1863-77; Boothbay, ME, 1870-1908; Boston, MA, 1789-1901; Brashear, LA, 1871-1900; Bridgeport, CT, 1857-1901; Bridgeton, NJ, 1790-1913; Bristol-Warren, RI, 1885-1900; Brooklin, ME, 1876-98; Brownsville, TX, 1875-1922 (in Fort Worth); Brunswick, GA, 1869-1913; Buffalo, NY, 1816-96 (in New York); Burlington, IA, 1867-96 and (in Chicago) 1867-1914; Burlington, NJ, 1904-10; Burlington, VT, 1887-1912;

Cairo, IL, 1870-1916 (in Kansas City); Calais, ME, 1873-1909; Camden, ME, 1856-94; Camden, NJ, 1841-1913; Castine, ME, 1819-1911; Cape Charles City, VA, 1888-1900; Cedar Keys, FL, 1876-1912; Charleston, SC, 1826-1922 and (in Atlanta) 1947-50; Chatham, MA, 1878-96; Cheboygan, WI, 1927-46 (in Chicago); Cherryfield, ME, 1868-75; Cherrystone, VA, 1869-75; Chester, MD, 1789-1822; Chicago, IL, 1872-1902 and (in Chicago) 1865-1952; Cincinnati, OH, 1852-93; Cleveland, OH, 1870-82 and (in Chicago) 1850-67; Coos Bay, OR, 1873-97; Crisfield, MD, 1867-1900;

Damariscotta, ME, 1873-1903; Darien, GA, 1865-70; Dennis, MA, 1878-96; Des Moines, IA, 1913-39 (in Chicago); Detroit, MI, 1818-98 and (in Chicago) 1831-1973; Dubuque, IA, 1865-1935 (in Chicago), 1856-92 (in Kansas City); Duluth, MN, 1872-83 and (in Kansas City) 1871-1951;

Eastport, ME, 1866-96; Eastville, VA, 1875-88; Edenton, NC, 1840-1902; Edgartown, MA, 1874-1922; Elizabeth City, NC, 1865-1916; Ellsworth, ME, 1835-1918; Erie, PA, 1871-86 (in New York); Evansville, IN, 1855-1900 and (in Chicago) 1865-1968;

Fairfield, CT, 1789-1900; Fall River, MA, 1871-91 and (in Boston) 1789-1943; Fernandina, FL, 1875-1901; Frenchman's Bay, ME, 1822-33;

Galena, IL, 1871-1912 (in Chicago); Galveston, TX, 1861-1900 and (in Fort Worth) 1860-1949; Georgetown, DC, 1811-1902; Gloucester, MA, 1846-1946 (in Boston); Gouldsboro, ME, 1868-75; Grand Haven, MI, 1916-40 (in Chicago); Great Falls, MT, 1892-1912;

Hartford, CT, 1845-1906; Havre de Grace, MD, 1815-85; Houston, TX, 1908-45 (in Fort Worth); Hyannis, MA, 1879-81;

Jacksonville, FL, 1868-1909 and (in Atlanta) 1864-1963; Juneau, AK, 1932-35 (in Anchorage);

Kansas City, MO, 1886-1914 (in Kansas City); Key West, FL, 1839-1900;

La Crosse, WI, 1875-96 and (in Chicago) 1874-1921; Lamberton, NJ, 1871-1900; Lake Charles, LA, 1928-43 (in Fort Worth); Long Beach, CA, 1914-42 (in Los Angeles); Los Angeles, CA, 1876-1946 (in Los Angeles); Louisville, KY, 1866-84 and (in Chicago) 1851-1924; Ludington, MI, 1864-1949 (in Chicago);

Machias, ME, 1804-1900; Marquette, MI, 1871-1942 (in Chicago); Memphis, TN, 1875-1902 and (in Atlanta) 1939-61; Miami, FL, 1918-56 (in Atlanta); Middletown, CT, 1795-1908; Milwaukee, WI, 1853- 1900 and (in Chicago) 1853-1954; Minneapolis, MN, 1873-1942 (in Kansas City); Mobile, AL, 1816-1920 and (in Atlanta) 1878-1964; Morgan City, LA, 1868-90 and (in Fort Worth) 1868-1925; Muskegon, MI, 1911-64 (in Chicago);

New Bedford, MA, 1801-1909 and (in Boston) 1808-1953; New Bern, NC, 1874-1909; New Castle, DE, 1841-97 and (in Philadelphia) 1846-51; New Haven, CT, 1789-1901; New Orleans, LA, 1804-1914 and (in Fort Worth) 1853-1953; Newport News, VA, 1881-99; New York, NY, 1789-1905 and (in New York) 1870-1953; Nobleboro, ME, 1868-94; Norfolk, VA, 1862-1900; North Haven, ME, 1880-1903; Nottingham, MD, 1803-21;

Onancock, VA, 1874-98; Oswego, NY, 1833-1921 (in New York);

Paducah, KY, 1882-96 and (in Chicago) 1883-1942; Parkersburg, WV, 1872-75; Passamaquoddy, ME, 1870-96; Patchogue, NY, 1883-1921 (in New York); Pembina, ND, 1885-1959 (in Kansas City); Penobscot, ME, 1805-36; Pensacola, FL, 1880-1917; Peoria, IL, 1891-1925 (in Chicago); Perth Amboy, NJ, 1806-29, and 1831-1968 (in New York); Petersburg, VA, 1871-95; Philadelphia, PA, 1789-1915 and (in Philadelphia) 1904-41; Pittsburgh, PA, 1831-1901 and (in Philadelphia) 1885-1946; Port Arthur, TX, 1933-42 (in Fort Worth); Port Huron, MI, 1870-1969 (in Chicago); Port Jefferson, NY, 1874-1907 (in New York); Portland, ME, 1869-99; Portland, OR, 1870-97; Port Lavaca, TX, 1921-24 (in Fort Worth); Port Royal, NC, 1862-65; Portsmouth, NH, 1797-1911; Portsmouth, NJ, 1801-1908; Providence, RI, 1812-1900; Provincetown, MA, 1875-78;

Quincy, IL, 1868-70;

Richmond, VA, 1892-98; Rochester, NY, 1818-1902 (in New York); Rock Island, IL, 1895-1913 and (in Chicago) 1891-1915; Rockland, ME, 1850-1902; Rockport, ME, 1887-1912; Rogers City, MI, 1925-68 (in Chicago);

Saco, ME, 1876-1902; St. Augustine, FL, 1885-1943 (in Atlanta); St. George, ME, 1871-1906; St. Ignace, MI, 1919-67 (in Chicago); St. Joseph, MO, 1883-1905; St. Louis, MO, 1844-1911 and (in Kansas City) 1844-1967; St. Michaels, AK, 1898-99; St. Paul, MN, 1870-1903; Salem, MA, 1870-1905 and (in Boston) 1865-1944; San Diego, CA, 1875-1949 (in Los Angeles); Sandusky, OH, 1871-79 and (in Chicago) 1912-64; San Francisco, CA, 1850-1955; San Luis Obispo, CA, 1908-53 (in Los Angeles); Sault Ste. Marie, MI, 1877-1963 (in Chicago); Savannah, GA, 1869-1924 and (in Atlanta) 1876- 1961; Seaford, DE, 1911-13 and (in Philadelphia) 1875-1913; Searsport, ME, 1848-87; Sedgwick, ME, 1865-1902; Shieldsboro, MS, 1885-1901; Sioux City, IA, 1901-31 (in Chicago); Somers Point, NJ, 1875-1915; South Dennis, MA, 1872; Southwest Harbor, ME, 1875-1902; Stockton, ME, 1864-77; Sullivan, ME, 1849-1902;

Tampa, FL, 1880-1905 and (in Atlanta) 1880-1951; Thomaston, ME, 1830-1910; Toledo, OH, 1870-1967 (in Chicago); Town Creek, MD, 1875-87; Trenton, NJ, 1900-9; Tuckerton, NJ, 1870-1922;

Vicksburg, MS, 1906-24 (in Fort Worth);

Waldoboro, ME, 1845-1913; Wellfleet, MA, 1871-94; Wheeling, WV, 1842-98 and (in Philadelphia) 1880-1913; Wilmington, DE, 1883- 1900 and (in Philadelphia) 1836-1931; Wilmington, NC, 1869-94 and (in Atlanta) 1891-1961; Wiscasset, ME, 1790-1910;

Yaquina, OR, 1882-1903; York, ME, 1795-1908; and Yorktown, VA, 1867-99.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (in Atlanta): Admeasurement case files, Tampa, FL, 1918-21 (1,200 items). Admeasurement case files, Mobile, AL, 1909-42 (50 items). See also 41.8.

Finding Aids: Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., "Customhouse Marine Documentation: A List by Series Showing Ports for Which Documents Are Available in Record Group 41," NC 18 (1962).

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41.6 Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation
1840-1944 (bulk 1920-44)

History: Bureau of Navigation consolidated with Steamboat Inspection Service to form Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, effective August 1, 1932, by an appropriations act of June 30, 1932 (47 Stat. 415). Sea Service Section of U.S. Shipping Board (see 41.7) transferred to bureau by order of Secretary of Commerce, effective July 1, 1934. Name changed to Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1936. See 41.1.

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41.6.1 General records

Textual Records: Subject files, with index, relating to functions transferred to Bureau of Customs, and to U.S. Coast Guard, 1934-44. Correspondence, reports, and other records of Assistant Directors H.C. Shepheard, 1936-41, and H.E. Combs, 1934-42. General records relating to marine casualty investigation boards, 1936-42, and to the Technical Committee on Safety at Sea, 1935-40. General records relating to a maritime strike, 1936. Records relating to the inspection of stationary boilers, 1935-42. Newspaper clippings, 1936-37. Merchant Marine Bulletin, 1936-42.

Photographs: Commissioners of the bureau and its predecessors, 1886-1927; and banquet, 1938 (C, 8 images). S.S. Tarragon, 1917 (T, 1 image). See also 41.9.

Subject Access Terms: California, S.S.; Curran, Joseph (maritime labor leader); Mohawk, S.S.; Morro Castle, S.S.

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41.6.2 Records relating to vessel inspection and safety

Textual Records: Records relating to the 1914 and 1929 international conferences on safety of life at sea, 1912-14, 1928-30. Records of the U.S. Load Line Committee, appointed in 1928 to study ship construction and loading, 1927-37. Load line certificates, 1921-40. Correspondence and other records regarding the 1930 International Loadline Convention, 1927-30; and the 1929 Load Line Act, 1930-32. Reference files, 1920-35, of Adm. H.G. Tawressy, delegate, International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea, 1929; International Load Line Conference, 1930; and American Merchant Marine Standards Committee, 1932. Vessel inspection reports, 1937-42. Reference materials on naval architecture and vessel design, 1840-69. Annual lists of vessels inspected, 1932- 39. Records of William S. Donaldson, principal traveling inspector, 1937-44. Daily logs of patrol boats, 1921-42, with consolidated abstracts, 1935-42. Reports of violations, 1934-40. Monthly statistical reports of local inspectors, 1936-42. Reports of compliance with wartime safety regulations, 1942-43.

Subject Access Terms: Webb, William H. (shipbuilder).

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41.6.3 Records relating to casualties and violations

Textual Records: General records of the Casualty Section, 1934- 42. Letters and reports sent to the Marine Investigation Boards, 1938-42. Summaries of casualties to merchant vessels, 1904-28. Testimony and other records relating to the investigation into the collision of the Mohawk and the Talisman, 1935; and the burning of the Morro Castle, 1934-36. Marine Investigation Board case files, 1936-44 (104 ft.), with index, 1936-41. Register of Marine Investigation Board cases, 1937-39. Records relating to casualties, 1936-42.

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41.7 Records of the Shipping Service and its Predecessors
1917-42 (bulk 1917-21)

History: United States Shipping Board organized as an emergency agency, January 30, 1917, under authority of the Shipping Act (39 Stat. 729), September 7, 1916, to regulate maritime carriers and, through a Recruiting Service, to develop a naval auxiliary and merchant marine. Recruiting Service abolished September 23, 1919, with its functions assigned to the Sea Service Section of the Operations Division, U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, redesignated U.S. Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation by an act of February 11, 1927 (44 Stat. 1083). U.S. Shipping Board abolished by EO 6166, June 10, 1933, with functions transferred to newly established U.S. Shipping Board Bureau, Department of Commerce. Sea Service Section, which placed trained seamen on merchant ships, operated from September 23, 1919 until July 1, 1934, when functions transferred by order of the Secretary of Commerce to the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, where, on August 10, 1934, functions were consolidated with those of the shipping commissioners to form the Shipping Service.

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records of the Recruiting Service, 1917-23, including records relating to publicity, the medical department, and finance and accounting. Correspondence and other records, 1917-21, of Recruiting Service offices in New Orleans, LA; Boston, MA; Seattle, WA; and San Francisco, CA. Records of enrolling agents, 1918-19. Recruit enrollment cards, 1918-19. Applications, 1918-21. Recruit personnel records (341 ft.), and account cards, 1918-21. Records relating to honorable and dishonorable discharges, 1918-42. Records relating to training ships and stations, 1918-21. Records of navigation and engineering schools, including correspondence, applications, and enrollee records, 1917-21. Records relating to turbine training, 1918-21. General records and correspondence of the Sea Service Bureau, 1918-37. List of merchant seamen lost in World War I and aftermath (1914-19), n.d. Applications to serve on merchant vessels, 1918-19. Seaman's protection certificates, 1919-20. Placement lists and wage records, 1918-19.

Photographs: Activities of merchant marine instructors, officers, and crews, 1918-19 (M, 476 images). See also 41.9.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Shipping Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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41.8 Textual Records (General)
1866-1945

Merchant marine officer license files, n.d. (in Los Angeles). Records of entrances and clearances by merchant vessels at various ports in the District of Michigan, 1866-1916, and indexes to licenses and enrollments of vessels above 20 tons issued at the port of Detroit, MI, 1905-17. Records of the Port of San Diego consisting of bills of sale of enrolled or licensed yachts under 20 tons, 1914-43, and bills of sale of licensed vessels under 20 tons, 1913-43, (in Los Angeles). U.S. Shipping Commissioner correspondence, 1932-45, and oaths of new or alternate vessel masters, 1933-42, from Port San Luis, CA (in Los Angeles).

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41.9 Cartographic Records (General)
1940

Map: United States, showing boundaries of supervising districts, local districts, districts of supervising inspectors, and districts of collectors of customs, 1940 (1 item).

See Architectural and Engineering Plans under 41.5.

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41.10 Still Pictures (General)

See Photographs under 41.6.1 and 41.7.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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