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Newport Schoolship Records, 1896-1970

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CA-RG1-0002

Scope and Contents

The schoolship Newport, a sail-steam hybrid gunboat was used by the New York Nautical School (now SUNY Maritime College) to train young men for careers in the Merchant Marines and the Naval Reserves. Materials in this collection include blueprints of the Newport, administrative documents regarding the running of the school, historical documents and data, documents pertaining to the school’s curriculum, cruise itineraries, news articles and laws concerning the New York State Nautical School. The collection also contains various letters, diaries, recollections and publications by alumni and officers as well as memorabilia and artifacts donated by alumni.


  • 1896 - 1970


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.

Historical Note

The U.S.S. Newport replaced the U.S.S St. Mary’s as the schoolship for the New York Nautical School (now SUNY Maritime College) on October 27, 1907. Before being turned over to the New York Nautical School the Newport was in use by the United States Navy and saw action during the Spanish American War. By the turn of the 20th century it had become obvious to school administrators that the St. Mary’s had become antiquated and the cadets at the New York Nautical School needed to be trained to operate steam engine ships. The Newport was a composite gunboat built in 1896. It was a sail-steam hybrid with a full engine room in which to train cadets. The Newport was used as the schoolship until 1931 when it was replaced by the U.S.S. Empire State.

In 1913 control of the schoolship was transferred from New York City to the State of New York and the school’s name was changed to the New York State Nautical School. This takeover by the state allowed for better funding and enrollment expanded. Also during this time the curriculum of the school was professionalized and by the 1920’s the school had become the leading institution of its kind. In order to reflect this modernization and stature the school’s name changed in 1929 to the New York State Merchant Marine Academy and again in 1941 to The New York State Maritime Academy.

School Name Time Line

1873 – 1913: New York Nautical School
1913 – 1929: New York State Nautical School
1929 – 1941: New York State Merchant Marine Academy
1941 – 1949: New York State Maritime Academy
1949 – Present: State University of New York Maritime College


4.5 Linear Feet (5 standard archival document boxes and 3 custom book boxes.)

Arrangement of Materials

Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by subject/topic. If several files contain materials on the same subject these files are then arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These materials were collected from various sources over the years, including faculty, staff, and alumni. Unfortunately, deeds of gift or transfer documentation has not been located for most of the items. Reproductions were also obtained by the librarian from other institutions and interspersed with original documents. See Processing Information for additional context.

Related Material at SUNY Maritime College

Newport Schoolship Logbooks, 1920-1931 Identifier: CA-RG1-0004

Frederick S. McMurray Papers, 1890-1958 Identifier: AP-0003

Arthur M. Tode Papers, 1908-1975 Identifier: AP-0005

Felix Riesenberg Papers, 1879–1947 Identifier: AP-0019

Maritime College Photograph Collection, circa 1874-1999 Identifier: CA-RG14-0001


Williams, Joseph A. (2013). Four years before the mast: A history of New York's maritime college. Bronx, NY: Fort Schuyler Press.

Processing Information

In 1974, in conjunction with the college’s centennial, Carol Finerman, a graduate student in the Palmer School of Library Science, was hired to organize the Maritime College archives held at the Luce Library. According to a report by Finerman, “all the items that accumulated came in separately; none were deposited as a series of records from the offices of origin.” This is not necessarily surprising given that the school did not have a land base until Fort Schuyler was dedicated in 1938, or a professional librarian on staff until 1946.

From the late 1940s through the 1970s, librarians such as Terrance Hoveter, Filomena Magavero, and Richard Corson actively solicited alumni, faculty, and staff for materials documenting the school’s early history. However, these materials remained largely unorganized until 1974, when Finerman was hired.

Because the provenance of much of the material was unclear, and the records had not been transferred from administrative units, Finerman elected to create an alphanumeric classification scheme for the collection. Within this scheme, the records pertaining to the Newport schoolship were organized under the letters C (Newport-Institutional) and D (Newport-Students). Container lists for these records were part of an Institutional Records inventory that eventually ballooned into a 300 page+ word document.

In 2017 the library embarked on a project to bring the college archives into the 21st century, creating a new organizational scheme and finding aids for the records in ArchivesSpace. As part of this project, the archivist re-processed the Newport records, rehousing the materials for preservation and bringing intellectual clarity to the arrangement. Given that the provenance and original order of the materials had already been disrupted, the archivist imposed her own arrangement based on the content of the items. Proper archival description, in adherence with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), was also created for the first time.

Some items were obtained from other institutions as part of efforts by the early librarians to document the school's history, and mixed in with the original documents. During re-processing, the archivist elected to leave reproductions in folders, as separating them would have been a tricky and time consuming process.


This project was made possible in part by a generous grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department. The collection was processed by Project Archivist Jannette D'Esposito under the supervision of Archivist Annie Tummino.

Newport Schoolship Records, 1896-1970
Jannette L. D'Esposito
October, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen B. Luce Library Repository

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