Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Clipper Ship Card Collection
1858-1880, undated
(Bulk 1850s-1860s)
  PR 116

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 03, 2011
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Clipper Ship Card Collection spans the period from 1858-1880 and contains examples of 19th century maritime advertising. The cards advertise commercial ship sailings, most are for clipper ship trips between New York and San Francisco. The collection contains 122 different cards issued for 102 ships. The largest card is 8 13/16 x 5 13/16 inches in size; the smallest is 5 5/16 x 3 inches; the average size is about 6 ½ x 4 inches. The Collection was removed from the Graphic Arts File (PR 022) in 2002. Cards are housed in alphabetical order by ship name. An index of cards organized by shipping company follows this finding aid. A searchable database with detailed description of each card is available in the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.

Most cards do not advertise the year in which they were sailing. Cards in the collection issued by Boston's Glidden & Williams Lines are unique in that they include a year printed as part of the sailing date.

Most of the cards advertise routes from New York to San Francisco. Four are to Australia ("Fred Warren" and "Web-Foot" from Boston, "Eureka" and "Game Cock" from New York). Eight advertise travel to Europe ("Circassian," "Ericsson," "City of Rome," "Helvetia," "Old Dominion," and three unnamed ships.) Several other routes are represented. The "Drew" sailed from New York to Albany, the "Gen'l Whitney" from New York to Boston, and the "Gen'l Grant" from New York to New Orleans. The "Arizona" sailed, appropriately enough, from New York to "Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada, Wisconsin, Alaska, Oregon."

New York printers include George Nesbitt and [W.] Endicott & Co. Boston printers include Rand Avery & Co., Watson's Press, and Fred Rogers. Well-represented New York shipping companies include Babcock, Cooley & Co., Cornelius Comstock & Co., John I. Earle & Co., Randolph M. Cooley, and Wm T. Coleman & Co. Shipping agents advertised include Sutton & Co. in New York and De Witt, Kittle & Co., and Albert Dibblee, both of San Francisco.

The four "Prima Donna" cards show portraits, in several cases identified, of European opera singers who performed in the United States. The card for "S.S. England" has a saloon plan on the verso.


Cards are filed alphabetically by ship name.