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SUNY Maritime College Student Files, 1892-1946

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CA-RG8-0001

Contents of Collection

The SUNY Maritime College Student Files consist of individual files that include applications for admission, school transcripts, physical examination reports, and various types of correspondence. Some files contain photographs of the students as well as demerit records. The practice of keeping individual files for each student seems to have started around 1925 therefore files for students who graduated prior to that date are inconsistent and contain significantly less documentation. Many of these early student files only contain later correspondence requesting confirmation of graduation for employment opportunities.

These files originate from the early period of the school's history, prior to incorporation into the State University of New York in 1949. During that period the school did not follow modern retention schedules established by the state.


  • 1876 - 1946


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.

For institutional records, the library follows the “72 year rule” used by the U.S. government for census records, meaning that we will not release records with personal information about individuals for 72 years from the record date. Additionally, records will be reviewed for compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which states that student records must be restricted until an individual is deceased, before being released.

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 New York Nautical School (now SUNY Maritime College) was created in 1874 to train young men for the United States Merchant Marines. At first the school was based entirely aboard school ships. The St. Mary’s, a converted sloop-of-war was the first of these ships. During the period of 1874 to 1913 the school was administered by the Board of Education of the City of New York and rated as a New York City public grammar school. During this time boys who were of grammar school-age and were able to prove that either they or their guardian resided within the city limits of New York were granted admission. In addition to the typical grammar school studies (history, writing, mathematics, etc.) students of the New York Nautical School would also study various areas of seamanship including navigation, steering, sail-handling, etc. As the years progressed and sail gave way to steam engines, certain subjects were added such as marine engineering and electrical.

By the turn of the 20th century the New York Nautical School had produced a steady stream of sea officers who would go on to become leaders in their vocation. Eventually the St. Mary’s became antiquated and in the early 20th century it was replaced by the Newport, a sail-steam hybrid, which in the following decades was replaced by the first of a long line of ships named the Empire State. Coinciding with this modernization was a professionalization of the curriculum, which was enhanced in 1913 due to a takeover by New York State that expanded enrollment and bolstered funding. The school had now become the preeminent institution of its kind, which was reflected in a change of name; first to the New York State Merchant Marine Academy in 1929, later to the New York State Maritime Academy in 1941. At this time, it had also become clear that to maintain its place as the finest school for merchant marines in the country the school needed a permanent shore base. Fort Schuyler in Throggs Neck, New York was dedicated for the school's use in 1938.

School Name Chronology

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


33 Linear Feet (33 Archival Record Storage Cartons)

Arrangement of Materials

These materials are arranged chronologically by the date (month and year) of graduation. Files contained within a specific graduation date are arranged alphabetically by students' last name.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfer documentation or deeds of gift have not been located for these items. Presumably they were transferred to the library in the 1940s once the school established its shore base campus at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx.

Related Materials

SUNY Maritime College Admissions, Graduate and Progress Registers, 1875-1944 Identifier: CA-RG8-0002

SUNY Maritime College Conduct Books, 1875-1950 Identifier: CA-RG8-0003

SUNY 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.


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.

SUNY Maritime College Student Files, 1892-1946
In Progress
Jannette D'Esposito
December 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Stephen B. Luce Library Repository

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Bronx NY 10465 United States
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