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Arthur M. Tode Papers, 1908-1975

Identifier: AP-0005


Tode was a 1912 graduate of New York Nautical School (now SUNY Maritime College), and later served as an instructor and Chief Engineer at the school. He was known for his advocacy of a strong Merchant Marine, especially through his leadership of the Propeller Club, which he built into an influential national organization. Materials include correspondence, publications, diary extracts, clippings, photographs, medals, and other career related documents.


  • 1908 - 1975


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Appointments to examine materials must be made in advance. Please e-mail for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions may be provided to users to support research and scholarship. However, collection use is subject to all copyright laws. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Biographical Note

Arthur Monroe Tode (1894-1966) was born in Monroe, New York. In 1910 he enrolled in the New York Nautical School (as Maritime College was then known) aboard the Schoolship NEWPORT, graduating in 1912. He went on to obtain unlimited licenses as chief engineer for both steam and diesel powered vessels. During the First World War he served as a Lieutenant in the Navy and later achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander, USNR. From 1918-1922 he returned to the New York Nautical School as Chief Engineer of the NEWPORT. From 1925 to 1932 he served as Technical Superintendent in the Marine Department of the Texas Company.

Though well known for many contributions in the field, it was Tode's association with the Propeller Club which brought him national recognition. This organization had been formed by a group of mariners in 1923 as a luncheon club whose members met informally to discuss maritime affairs. After Tode was elected president in 1931, he built a nation-wide membership, and the organization became a forceful advocate for building a strong merchant fleet. Between World War I and II he also established Propeller Clubs in foreign ports served by American ships. Even after he stepped down as president in 1935, Tode remained involved in the group as Honorary President till his death in 1966.

A member of numerous maritime associations, Tode was the first Marine Engineer to receive an honorary membership to the Marine Society of the City of New York. In addition, he was the only American elected Honorary Member of the Seven Seas Club of London. He remained involved in Maritime College as President of the Alumni Association from 1928 to 1930 and as Chairman of the Board of Visitors from 1942 to 1954.

Tode was also Vice-President of the Circumnavigators Club, an organization whose members consisted of individuals who had circled the globe longitudinally, a feat which he accomplished with this wife, Kate Eisig Tode.


8.5 Linear Feet (9 standard archival document boxes; 8 half sized archival document boxes; 2 flat boxes)


Some series reflect specific areas of Tode's career: New York Nautical School; Texas Oil Company; Propeller Club; and U.S. Navy Service. The remaining series are organized by object type and contain items that reflect the multiple roles Tode played at any given time: Correspondence; Publications; Statements and Addresses; Photographs; and Certificates, Licenses, and Awards. There is also a Biographical file that includes information about Tode's career that was compiled during Tode's life and posthumously.

Physical Location

Stephen B. Luce Library, SUNY Maritime College 6 Pennyfield Avenue Bronx, NY 10465. Phone: (718) 409-7231. Email:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Correspondence on file indicates that Arthur Monroe Tode (1894-1966) and Kate Eisig Tode (1905-1990) donated the materials to SUNY Maritime College in the 1960s-1970s in several installments.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

The Penn Museum has a collection of 16mm travelogues documenting the travels of Arthur Monroe Tode and his wife, Kate Eisig Tode. The films have been digitized.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed in 1995 by Nicholas Falco. In 2017, Annie Tummino integrated Falco's finding aid into ArchivesSpace. Some of the intellectual description was updated for clarity or to meet current archival standards (DACS). Additionally, a series formerly described as "Miscellaneous Subjects" was eliminated, with the contents integrated into the existing Correspondence series, and newly created U.S. Navy Service; Statements/Adresses; and Biographical Materials series. A series formally titled Artifacts was eliminated and the contents incorporated into the Certificates, Licenses and Awards Series. The goal of these changes was to remove the "miscellaneous " designation and instead highlight the intellectual content of these files.

The 1995 finding aid included this processing information from Nicholas Falco: "Enclosed is the Finding Aid to the Tode Papers. This collection was a rather complicated one from two angles. First, the quantity while not overly large consisted of numerous single items which required rather minute study in order to assure accuracy of description. For example, there were numerous periodicals and periodical tearsheets strewn about, and often in duplicate. Secondly, there were numerous newspaper clippings, often torn and in very poor condition - a lot of time was required to photocopy them accurately. Thirdly, there was a wide range of materials ranging from correspondence to photographs to artifacts to publications."

  • Two objects and one box of printed materials (publications, clippings, articles). Here is how these materials were described in the legacy finding aid: Knotted and twisted rope, not identified, and measuring ca. 5 and a half feet long A Seal Stamper ca. 4 inches long and 6 and a half inches high. The subject of the Seal cannot be determined. 3. Publications, Miscellaneous: Reprints of articles; pamphlets; and some programs, tearsheets, and similar items. Not all are original, but rather are in photocopy. A few of these items are duplicated in other Series in this Collection.



Arthur M. Tode Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
Finding aid created in 1995 by Nicholas J. Falco. Description updated and entered into ArchivesSpace by Annie Tummino in June 2017.

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen B. Luce Library Repository

6 Pennyfield Avenue
Bronx NY 10465 United States
(718) 409-7231