Military Records

Logbooks of the US Navy at the National Archives

In October 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hosted a joint press conference to announce a groundbreaking collaboration. Digital images of the National Archives’ extensive holdings of historical documents relating to the American exploration of the Arctic, dating from the golden age of exploration in the 19th century to the height of the Cold War, would be produced jointly by NOAA and NARA experts.

Since then weather and sea ice data contained in these many thousands of pages have been extracted by citizen-scientists via the, making the work of generations of sailors, explorers, and scientists available for new research in the present day. The experience of these stalwart mariners in their daily confrontation with an undiscovered Arctic - and once global battlefield - is reflected in unvarnished detail in the ship's logbooks. Today, NARA provides online access to these historic pages for everyone to study.

Benefits from this collaboration transcend those of the scientific community also reaching those with interest in diplomacy, Naval and maritime operations, underwater archaeology, medicine, genealogy, and many other fields.

Also documented in the pages are dramatic stories of Americans' travails and triumphs including the dramatic events of USS Jeannette and her crew enveloped in ice north of the Siberian coast for 21 months, and operations of USRC Bear during the 1897-98 Overland Relief Expedition that rescued 199 trapped whalers trapped in the ice north of Point Barrow, Alaska, after a detail of a handful of officers and crew marched over 1500 miles through that states’ heartland and harsh winter.

To explore the imaged logbook pages, click on the buttons below and start your journey…