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SUNY Maritime College Conduct Books, 1875-1950

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CA-RG8-0003

Contents of the Collection

This collection contains the Conduct Books of the New York Nautical School (now SUNY Maritime College). The Conduct Books are large register volumes where the administrators of the school recorded when a student misbehaved or broke school rules. A typical entry in these books includes the student’s name, the date of they entered to the school, a list of offences committed by the student with the date of the offence and the punishment the student received. Some examples of offences include neglect of studies, profanity, skylarking, disrespect, spitting, drinking alcohol, fighting, smoking, refusing to obey orders etc. The most common types of punishments given to students were extra duty and deprivation of liberty. These registers also include the date the student graduated. If the student didn't graduate the date they withdrew, deserted or were dismissed is recorded. In the early 20th century the school started using a demerit system. Students would earn a certain number of demerits for offences committed and punishments would be based on how many demerits a student had accumulated. Once this system was in place the number of demerits earned by a student was recorded in the Conduct Books. Most of these volumes contain an alphebetical index in the front of the book which lists the students included in that particular Conduct Book and the page number where they can be found.


  • 1875 - 1950

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 record 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 converted sloop-of-war, St. Mary’s being the first of such 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 they resided or had a guardian who 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. However, by the early 20th century, the St. Mary’s had become antiquated and 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 now had 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 in order to maintain its place as the finest school for merchant marines in the country the school needed a permanent shore base and Fort Schuyler in Throggs Neck, New York was dedicated for the school's use in 1938.


7 Linear Feet (17 custom book boxes and 1 standard document case)

Arrangement of Materials

The materials are arranged chonologically by date of admission.

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 Student Files, 1892-1946 Identifier: CA-RG8-0001

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 Conduct Books, 1875-1950
Jannette D'Esposito
December 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen B. Luce Library Repository

6 Pennyfield Avenue
Bronx NY 10465 United States
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