Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company letter book
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
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Overview and metadata sections
Ruled, oversized volume containing copies of the outgoing correspondence from the commercial shipping company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O Company). The volume has a detailed index followed by 371 pages of copied letters. Spanning a little over one year, from January 1864 to February 1865, the letters provide a record of the day-to-day operations of the company. At the beginning of the volume is an alphabetical index with thumb tabs from a to z in red and black ink listing names, cargo, cities, and ships, followed by the corresponding page numbers. The spine of the volume reads "India and China letter book, 19, from 2nd Jan. 1864 to 9th Feb. 1865." Each page has a narrow column on the left-hand side with notes concerning the subject of each letter. The communications vary in length with some letters spanning more than one page and comprising several topics. The outgoing correspondence was written from the company's London offices on behalf of the managing directors by several secretaries including: John Ritchie, James Allan, J. A. Olding, H. Bayley, and C. W. Howell. Many letters are addressed to the company's agents stationed at major seaports in the East. Some of the port cities include Aden, Bombay, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Madras, Point de Galle, and Shanghai among others. There are also ports mentioned in Australia, China, Egypt, and Japan. Additionally, there are many letters addressed to captains, officers, and crew discussing the ships, maintenance, cargo, pay, and discipline. There are letters to passengers discussing fares, routes, baggage, and packages. Incidents at sea involving ships and diplomacy are also recorded in the letters. A majority of the ships departed from the port of Southampton, England. In addition to trade and purchase of silks and spices, the P&O Company, shipped cargo, delivered mail packets, and carried passengers. The end of the last letter in the volume is written on the inside back cover.
Sold by Samuel Gedge Ltd. (Mundesley, England), cat. 21 (2015), no. 85. Purchased for the Penn Libraries from Samuel Gedge in December 2015.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Donna Brandolisio
- Finding Aid Date
- April 2016
- Access Restrictions
This codex is available for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.