Online Resources

Committed to serving those that are unable to visit Independence Seaport Museum for research, online reference materials have been posted online for those interested in a deeper look into collections. Online tools include finding aids and inventories of archival collections, collection guides of subjects and themes represented in the museum's collection and other materials that are helpful for information.

New resources are added to this page as soon as they become available. Please check back often for updated tools. To access the files saved as PDFs, you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free software.


General Reference

How to Identify Sailing Ships

Online Library catalog

Collection Guides

18th century records of the Port of Philadelphia

American Revolutionary War

Cruiser Olympia Collection

Old China Trade

Shipping and Trade from Philadelphia to the World

U.S. Civil War

World War I

World War II



Finding Aids & Inventories

Personal papers

Albert Family papers, 1859-1956

Barry-Hayes papers, 1723-1875

George Betts collection, 1942-2002

Conner Family papers, 1816-1903

Gridley Family collection, 1860-1960s

Inverso Family papers, 1943-1945

Theresa B. Nirdlinger papers, 1898-1899

Stickney Family collection, 1825-1992

Tipton Family papers, 1862-1868

Recreation on the rivers

Schuylkill Navy collection, 1859-2009

Undine Barge Club records, 1856-1986

Vesper Boat Club records, 1895-1980

West Philadelphia Boat Club records, 1871-1917






Shipbuilding, design & Technology

Thomas D. Bowes M.E., Associates records, 1904-1980

John E. Hand & Sons Company records, 1865-2002

John Lenthall collection, 1790-1874

John Lenthall papers, 1794-1865

John H. Mathis Company records, 1919-1987

New York Shipbuilding Corporation records, 1895-1967

Independence Seaport Museum collection of New York Shipbuilding Corporation, 1919-1964

Ward collection of New York Shipbuilding Corporation materials, 1919-1969

Riggs & Brother Company records, 1887-1929

RTC Shipbuilding Company records, 1921-1965

William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Company collection, 1872-1945


Voyages & Travels

Henry Grier Bryant papers, 1892-1907

John Clegg journal, 1847-1848

Elliston P. Morris Family papers, 1898-1938

Pollack collection of ocean liner ephemera, 1935-1967

Thayer Family collection, 1892-1986



A sailor's Life

Marvin Rosefield Keck papers, 1916-1972

Mount Cloud Lord collection, 1892-1944

Pennsylvania Nautical School records, 1795-2006


Seamen's Health & Welfare

Benjamin Gwinn Harris journal, 1800-1814

Seamen's Church Institute records, 1828-2000

Dr. Joseph Wilson, Jr. papers, 1816-1887

Commerce & Business

Samuel Archer letters, 1826-1838

Lee Family papers, 1803-1896

Ogden and Cuthbert Family papers, 1750-1906

Philadelphia Maritime Exchange records, 1870-1967

Red D Line records, 1861-1936

George Sproule papers, 1784-1947

Walsh Family papers, 1847-1855