Independence Seaport Museum collection of Pennsylvania Nautical School material
Held at: Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library [Contact Us]Penn's Landing on the Delaware River, 211 South Columbus Blvd. and Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
An Act of Congress approved June 20, 1874 authorized the Secretary of the Navy to provide a suitable ship and assign a superintendent and officers for the purpose of training young men for the merchant marine at a nautical school at each of any of the ports of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk and San Francisco.
The provisions of the Act of April 17, 1889 and the appropriation of May 23, 1889 by the Pennsylvania Assembly established a nautical school in the port of Philadelphia aboard the 47 year-old 882 ton sailing ship USS Saratoga. The admission requirements to the school were for boys 16 and 19 years of age whose parents were citizens and residents of the state of Pennsylvania.
The schoolship Saratoga was operated as a nautical training school from 1890 to 1908 when the 65 year-old vessel was replaced by the Navy by the 32 year-old sail and steam-powered 1,400 ton USS Adams. The schoolships Saratoga and Adams were operated jointly by the State of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia.
The course of training was approximately two years which was dependent upon the capability of the ships to complete their training cruises within the specified time. The schoolship Adams ceased operations on February 16, 1914 when the Navy withheld its appropriation and withdrew the ship on account of local disagreement and the legislature's failure to appropriate funds.
The provisions of an Act of Assembly approved July 8, 1919 reactivated the nautical school as the Pennsylvania State Nautical School under the administration of the Board of the Commissioners of Navigation for the Delaware River and Its Navigable Tributaries. The 23 year old 1,000 ton steam-powered USS Annapolis was assigned by the Navy in 1920 and continued in service for 20 years. Admission requirements were raised to high school graduates between the ages of 17 and 20 years and the school offered two separate courses either in deck or engineering. Students were instructed in dead reckoning; methods of finding latitude and longitude; the duties of an officer; theoretical and practical marine engineering; and in handling boats under oars and sail.
In 1940 the administration of the school was transferred to the United States Maritime Commission and renamed the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy, but this administration was discontinued in March 1942 and the cadets and officers were transferred to the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. to complete their training. The schoolship Annapolis was replaced in 1941 by the 33 year-old steam powered former Coast Guard cutter Senaca.
The state of Pennsylvania resumed administration of the school in September 1942 when the schoolship Seneca was returned to the state and renamed Keystone State. A shore base was established at Morrisville, Pennsylvania in 1945 to augment the shipboard training facilities. The schoolship Keystone State was replaced in 1946 by the USS Selinur and renamed Keystone State II. With newer facilities there were plans for increasing the training program to a three-year course, with two practice cruises and a minimum of five hundred hours per year of classroom time . However, charges of poor management and newspaper allegations of "mutinous" behavior by cadets coupled with dwindling support in the State government, and a decline in applicants, resulted in the closing of the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy, on June 20, 1947.
There have been several alumni organizations associated with the Pennsylvania Nautical School. The first of these was the Pennsylvania Nautical School Association which was founded ca. 1905. Its newsletter, The Log of the P.N.S.A. was published for only a few issues (1912), before it was absorbed into The Log of the American Merchant Training Ships, which was published monthly by the Allied Associations of the Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania Merchant Training ships. (1913-1915).
The Pennsylvania Schoolship Association was established in 1955. It’s mission: “To provide a means for the maintenance of contacts with esteemed shipmates; to promote a spirit of enduring friendship between alumni; to preserve the venerable traditions and lore of the Pennsylvania’s Schoolships, and to further the interests of the American Merchant Marine.” The Association holds annual musters and memorial services, and publishes the Association’s newsletter, The Lookout (1956 to present). The Lookout features profiles and updates on alumni, reports of association meetings, as well as articles related to the merchant marine in general.
The Independence Seaport Collection of Pennsylvania Nautical School material documents the School and its alumni association the Pennsylvania Nautical Schoolship Association largely through photographs, class yearbooks, alumni newsletters, course materials, postcards, programs, and other ephemera. The collection spans the entire existence of the school, but the bulk of the materials are from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.
The Cadets series contains a variety of materials documenting the cadet experience. Of particular note is the photograph scrapbook of Cadet C.J. Anthony "Ants" Charlton (Class of 1941), which includes numerous photos of life aboard ship as well as training cruises which visited Havana, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. The Helm, which forms the bulk of the School Publications series, records graduates and underclassmen, faculty and staff, but also includes reports on cruises, dances, and sporting activities. Especially rich in terms of documenting cadets post Nautical School careers is a complete run of the Pennsylvania Schoolship Association's newsletter, The Lookout, which contains updates on class members, individual profiles, and reports on the Association's activities. Taken together these series help to form a picture of cadets as they moved from “Boots” to graduates entering the Merchant Marine.
The Course Materials series includes a number of copies of typed notes compiled by the School's Chief Engineer, Commander C. W. Densmore, U.S.N., Retired related to all aspects of onboard engineering. Some of the subjects covered include Engineering Metals, Fuel and Combustion, and Engine Room Chemistry. Notes include diagrams and questionnaires. Also included in this series are several textbooks used by the cadets.
The School Ships series is composed almost entirely of photographs of the various ships used by the School as training vessels.
The Alumni Associations series contains materials related to the School’s two alumni associations, much of it in the form of newsletters. The first of these to be established was the Pennsylvania Nautical School Association. Its newsletter, The Log of the P.N.S.A. was published for only a few issues (1912), before it was absorbed into The Log of the American Merchant Training Ships, which was published monthly by the Allied Associations of the Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania Merchant Training ships. (1913-1915). The Pennsylvania Schoolship Association was established in 1955. Materials related to their activities include invitations, programs, and announcements of Association musters, member directories, and anniversary booklets. The Association’s newsletter, The Lookout (1956 to present), features profiles and updates on alumni, reports of association meetings, as well as articles related to the merchant marine in general.
The Independence Seaport Collection of Pennsylvania Nautical School and Pennsylvania Schoolship Association materials are arranged into six series. In addition to the six series there is a box containing Administrative materials such as copies of accession records, background information, notes on the dispersal of accessions, and other materials related to the collection. The collection is an aggregate of numerous accessions over a nearly 50 year period. For further explanation and information regarding arrangement see the Processing note below.
Series I: Cadets is arranged alphabetically by individual and contains materials pertaining to cadets primarily during there time as students. Information provided varies from cadet to cadet. The series also includes group / class photographs that are not associated with an individual cadet.
Series II: General School papers is largely comprised of School ephemera and related newspaper clippings. Within the series materials are grouped by subject with those items produced by the school placed before those items such as newspaper clippings which document the school but are not official productions. Within folders materials are arranged chronologically.
Series III: Course Materials holds copies of typed notes compiled by Commander C. W. Densmore, U.S.N., Retired on a variety of subjects, including: Engineering Metals, Fuel and Combustion, and Engine Room Chemistry. The first three folders of the Densmore notes were housed in binders and their arrangement has been preserved. Additional notes are arranged alphabetically by title. Published texts used by cadets are arranged alphabetically by title.
Series IV: School Publications holds copies of the School’s yearbook The Helm from 1924 to 1946, and The Tarp, a monthly newsletter published by the cadet-midshipmen of the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy, 1945-1946. Materials are in chronological order.
Series V: School Ships is arranged alphabetically by ship’s name, with materials within folders in chronological order
Series VI: Alumni Associations is broken down into two subseries. The Pennsylvania Nautical School Association materials are grouped by subject with official records and ephemera placed before photographs and publications. The Pennsylvania Schoolship Association materials are also arranged in a similar manner. Within folders materials are arranged chronologically.
The Independence Seaport Museum Collection of Pennsylvania Nautical School Materials is an aggregate of nearly thirty different accessions given over a nearly 50 year period. Prior to processing in 2010, the collection was only roughly arranged around a few subject areas with considerable overlap between them. The current arrangement does not differ radically from the earlier incarnation but does more clearly delineate series and the types of materials to be found within each. During the course of processing a number of items were moved. A note on their dispersal can be found in the administrative notes section of the collection finding aid. Additionally an accrual guide has been created to assist in determining possible future additions to the collection.
One photo of USS Annapolis was removed to C. Connor collection, 1970.21.45.
- Adams (Screw Bark)
- Annapolis (Gunboat)
- Keystone State (ex Seneca)
- Keystone State II (ex Selinur)
- Merchant marine -- Study and teaching -- United States
- Merchant marine--United States--Yearbooks
- Nautical training-schools -- United States
- Saratoga (Sloop of War)
- Seamanship--Study and teaching--Pennsylvania
- Selinur (Cargo ship: AKA-41)
- Seneca (Cutter)
- Training-ships--United States
- Independence Seaport Museum, J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by John Armstrong
- Finding Aid Date
- February 2010
Series I: Cadets. This series documents the cadet experience during their time as students and to a smaller degree as members of the alumni association. The majority of the series consists of photographs, but also present are grade sheets, postcards detailing School ships itineraries, graduation announcements, class notes & journals, newspaper clippings, and diplomas. Of particular interest is a scrapbook assembled by Anthony G. J. Charlton, “Ants” (Class of 1941) which documents his time as a cadet aboard the Annapolis and later the Keystone I (ex Seneca). With the exception of the W.R. Edwards correspondence (present here in the form of photocopies) there is very little in the way of correspondence from cadets, nor are there diaries. Class journals of two cadets, Walter Czop and Levora Styles, kept during a 1940 summer cruise aboard the USS Omaha focus on technical aspects and include descriptions and drawings of various mechanical systems aboard ship. Researchers seeking information on the careers of cadets after graduation should consult The Lookout, the Pennsylvania Schoolship Association's alumni association newsletter (Series VI), which includes updates and profiles on individual cadets.
Photocopies of correspondence of Wilson Rittenhouse Edwards
Series II: Pennsylvania Nautical School and Pennsylvania Maritime Academy documents the school organization and is largely comprised of School ephemera, including graduation programs, prospectuses, and School regulations. The series also houses a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the School assembled by Commander C.W. Densmore, U.S.N., Retired. Densmore was the school’s Chief Engineer and was with the school from 1925 until 1942, when he was recalled to active duty. Researchers should note that the official records of the School can be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives(see Related Materials section above).
Series III: Course Materials contains copies of typed notes assembled by Commander C.W. Densmore, U.S.N., Retired for use in courses on engineering. Topics covered include: engineering metals, valves and valve gears, boilers, fuel and combustion, and other aspects of marine engineering. The series also includes several “chapters” related to navigation. Published texts used by cadets as a part of their training, include "Standard Seamanship for the Merchant Service" by Felix Reisenberg, "Ship Sanitation and First Aid for Merchant Seamen" and "General Rules and Regulations Prescribed by the Board of Supervising Inspectors: Tank vessels". Additional Densmore notes can be found in the Cadets series in the Czop and Styles folders.
Series V: School Publications holds issues of the school’s yearbook The Helm from 1924 to 1946, and The Tarp, a monthly newsletter published by the cadet-midshipmen of the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy, 1945 to 1946. In addition to recording the graduating cadets and underclassmen for each year the yearbooks also provide a look at cadet life, often presented in a humorous fashion. Yearbooks include photographs, poetry, write-ups of cruises, dances, and sporting activities.
Series IV: Schoolships documents the ships used by the school beginning in 1890 with the Saratoga and ending in 1947 with Keystone II (ex USS Selinur). This series is largely made up of photographs. Material documenting the Keystone II is especially rich and includes a typed written history from the U.S. Navy, FCC inspection information, a report on damages sustained by the vessel in 1947, a certificate of deadweight, 1945, and a plan of general arrangement of compartments. The series also includes reproductions of drawings of the Annapolis by Lauren McCready, Rear Admiral, U.S.M.S.
Series VI Alumni Associations contains materials related to the School’s two alumni associations. The first of these to be established was the Pennsylvania Nautical School Association. Its newsletter, The Log of the P.N.S.A. was published for only a few issues (1912), before it was absorbed into The Log of the American Merchant Training Ships, which was published monthly by the Allied Associations of the Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania Merchant Training ships. (1913-1915).
The Pennsylvania Schoolship Association was established in 1955. It’s mission: “To provide a means for the maintenance of contacts with esteemed shipmates; to promote a spirit of enduring friendship between alumni; to preserve the venerable traditions and lore of the Pennsylvania’s Schoolships, and to further the interests of the American Merchant Marine.” To that end the Association holds annual musters and memorial services, organized field trips, and publishes alumni directories. Materials related to these activities include invitations, programs, and announcements. The Association’s newsletter, The Lookout (1956 to present), features profiles and updates on alumni, reports of association meetings, as well as articles related to the merchant marine in general.
Some items are restricted.
Includes a copy of the accrual guidelines, accession information, and processing notes.
Accrual guidelines for the Collection of Pennsylvania Nautical School material.
These guidelines have been established to help assess potential future additions to the Pennsylvania Nautical School (PNS) collection. The goal of these guidelines is to help make the process of determining which donations should be added to the collection easier. Because the collection is an artificial one, it is important to maintain the integrity of new accessions by respecting provenance while at the same time seeking to strengthen the collection when appropriate.
Small donations (1 inch or less) with a significant amount of material (approximately 50% or more) related to the PNS or its alumni association, the Pennsylvania Schoolship Association (PSA), will be considered for inclusion in the collection. When considering any donation check for items which are already present in the collection. This would certainly apply to copies of The Helm, The Lookout, and The Chronicle, but also to photographs of ships or cadets, course materials, programs, menus, and other ephemera. Are the photographs under appraisal originals or more recent copies (possibly of images already in the collection)? Are course materials annotated or clean? In the event that the material duplicates existing holdings material may be returned to the donor. Yearbooks stamped with a cadet’s name may be considered for inclusion, especially if no stamped examples exist for that year, however duplicate unmarked yearbooks should be offered back to the donor. The same would hold for other duplicate materials which do not have annotations or notes. If the item or items in question are duplicates but are in significantly better condition than those already in the collection it may be useful to except these
If the donation being considered for inclusion contains a significant amount of material related to an individual cadet during their time as a student, a new cadet folder will be created and the appropriate materials placed there. Appropriate materials would include: journals, diaries, correspondence and postcards, personal photos (photos of cadets, photos of the cadets life aboard ship), notebooks, class notes, diplomas, and ephemera from their time as a cadet. The “Cadet” series is meant primarily to document the experience of cadets during their time in the PNS program or their involvement with the PSA. Of less interest, in terms of documenting the PNS, would be material from a cadet’s post graduation career.
If the donation under consideration has materials less directly related to the individual cadet experience but still documenting the PNS or the PSA (for example: general newspaper clippings with no personal focus, photos and information related to Schoolship training vessels, course materials, text books, invitations, programs, and other materials related to the PNS or PSA, but not directly associated with an individual cadet) may be dispersed across the collection to the appropriate series. For the purpose of tracking all new donations accession numbers must be written on materials. This is especially important when items are not contained within a single folder (ie dispersed). Efforts should be made to record the disbursal decisions and current location in the accession files. Copies of these decisions should be then placed with the administrative notes belonging to the collection.
Donations from former cadets which are significantly larger than 1 inch and containing a variety of materials covering various aspects of their Schoolship experience should be accessioned as separate collections and a note added to the PNS/PSA collection finding aid stating that additional material can be found in “X” collection.
Those donations that are somewhat larger than 1 inch but containing only material related to the PNS or its alumni association, the Pennsylvania Schoolship Association, may be considered for inclusion if the materials are largely restricted to a single form or genre (for example a scrapbook or a run of correspondence from the time of a cadets schooling, or additional runs of course materials which augment those already housed within the collection).
Small donations (1 inch or less) with only a small percentage of material (less than 50%) relating to the PNS/PSA will be treated as separate collections. ** A note will be added the PNS/PSA collection finding aid indicating that related materials can be found in “X” collection.**
PNS/PSA material should not be separated out of accepted donations unless there is a very strong reason for doing so. For example: donations with no central theme or organizing figure but containing a variety of items that would be desirable for inclusion in the I.S.M. archives, including materials related to the PNS/PSA.
Notes on dispersal January, 2010
Removed ship photos in Eisenberg folder and place in the appropriate School Ships folder. The following items were moved: 1987.28.1 - neg of Keystone State II 1987.28.2 - neg of Keystone State I 1987.28.3 - neg of Annapolis (oval) 1987.28.8 - neg of Saratoga 1987.28.9 - neg of Adams 1987.28.11 - Annapolis 1987.28.12 - neg of Annapolis (oval) 1987.28.13 - neg of Saratoga 1987.28.14 - neg of Annapolis 1987.28.15 - neg of Adams 1987.28.16 - Adams 1987.28.18 - Keystone State I 1987.28.19 - Keystone State II 1987.28.20 - photo postcard of Annapolis 1987.28.23 - photo of drawing of Annapolis 1987.28.26 - Annapolis non-acc #18 - dupes of 1989.28.1 (neg) and 1987.28.19 (print)
The following items were moved from the J. S. Kamp folder in the "Cadets" series: 1988.66.7 - Prospectus moved to General School folder
1982.23.10 - PSNA 1913 menu moved to PNSA folder 1982.23.11 - PSNA 1912 menu moved to PNSA folder 1982.23.23 - PSNA 1909 menu moved to PNSA folder
1982.23.12 - Postcard of ship Adams moved to Adams folder 1982.23.13 - Postcard of ship Adams moved to Adams folder 1982.23.15 - Printed image of ship Adams moved to Adams folder
1982.23.1 Photograph of the ship Saratoga at Bainbridge St. Wharf, bark Mantazar to starboard moved to Saratoga folder 1982.23.3 Photograph of the ship Saratoga at Bainbridge St. Wharf moved to Saratoga folder 1982.23.4 Photograph of the ship Saratoga moved to Saratoga folder 1982.23.20 Photograph of the ship Saratoga in Gibralter Bay, 1902 moved to Saratoga folder
Moved David S. Kloss III PSA plaque (n/a 1989) to the David S. Kloss III collection. Moved Randy Kriner (no accession #) photos of Selinur to "Ships"
Moved Frank Steinman (no accession #, given 1987) clippings to Newspaper clippings section.
Moved copies of The Helm donated by Anthony Charlton to the duplicate yearboooks box as well as copies of The Lookout. A 1989 Chronicle is with other copies. Accession # was written on all items.
Removed copies of Bowditch's Navigator, 1851 and The Naval Gazeteer, 1795 from the published materials (Both were part of a George B. Lesh (Class of 1936) donation in 1987).