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Steamship Mary logbook

Identifier: MSS 0097-Item 0165

Scope and Contents

This volume is the logbook for the steamship Mary, chronicling her voyages between Alabama and Florida in 1869.

The volume is a printed ship’s log containing handwritten entries describing the voyages of the steamer Mary between June and September 1869, captained by F.E. Shepperd. Each page consists of two printed charts suitable for daily entries regarding the ship’s voyage. The chart provided space for hourly measurements of nautical speed, measured in knots and furlongs, navigational course, and wind speed and direction. The chart also provided columns for recording leeway and the temperature of both the air and water, but these were left blank by the keeper. At the right-hand side of the chart, there is a larger space for remarks, which the keeper filled with notes on the weather, speed of the ship, and loading and unloading of freight and supplies. At the bottom of the chart are short columns related to course, distance, latitude, and longitude. All of these columns were left blank.

The logbook recorded nine voyages made by the Mary during the summer of 1869. The ship traveled primarily between Mobile, Alabama, and Cedar Keys, Florida, carrying freight which included bales of cotton, a fire engine, and other heavy machinery. The Mary also made two excursions to Tampa, Florida, each time transporting U.S. soldiers. During the voyages, the logbook keeper often recorded when it passed other ports, including Cape San Blas and Cape St. George, Florida.

This volume is bound with marbled paper over cardboard covers. It contains 43 leaves of wove paper, which have printed text on both their rectos and versos. The printed entries have been filled in with handwritten text in black ink describing the ship’s voyages. The volume has a printed title page that reads “Journal of a Voyage, from Mobile towards Cedar Keys” with the locations handwritten in black ink. Below this title is the inscription “F.E. Shepperd Master” handwritten in black ink. Below this inscription is a printed image of a three-masted ship flying an American flag. The volume was sold by Blunt & Nichols of New York City. On the inside of the back cover there are directions for coordinates for various landmarks on the ship’s voyage handwritten in pencil.


  • Creation: 1869


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical and Historical Note

The first page of this volume identifies the master of the steamship Mary as F.E. Shepperd. During the U.S. Civil War, Shepperd was a lieutenant in the Confederate States Navy, commanding the river steamer St. Mary, which operated in the Yazoo and Tallahatchie Rivers. The ship was captured and burned by Union forces in July 1863. The keeper of this volume noted that Captain Shepperd took the Florida Railroad from Cedar Keys to Fernandina, Florida in early August 1869, indicating that someone other than Shepperd kept the ship’s log.

While the Mary was described throughout this volume as a steamer, the vessel also had sails, which could be used to add speed or compensate for the sometimes unreliable steam engine. The keeper of this log occasionally noted that the crew “set all sail” when traveling between Cedar Keys, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama. On August 17-18, 1869, he observed that the crew was having trouble making steam.

This printed volume was sold by Blunt & Nichols of New York, New York. In addition to logbooks, Blunt & Nichols sold nautical charts and instruments.

Sheppard, Warren. Practical Navigation. Jersey City, NJ: World Technical Institute, 1922.Wyllie, Arthur. The Confederate States Navy. Publishers, 2007.Smithsonian National Museum of American History, “Blunt (New York)” (accessed November 30, 2016) derived from the collection.


1 volume : 43 leaves ; 35 cm


This volume is the logbook for the American steamship Mary, chronicling her voyages between Alabama and Florida in 1869.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Moyerman family, 1972

Related Materials

This item forms part of MSS 0097 Diaries, Journals, and Ships' Logs collection.

Shelving Summary

Item 0165: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, January 2017.

Finding aid for Steamship Mary logbook
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2017 January 11
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

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