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Frederick S. McMurray Papers, 1890-1958

Identifier: AP-0003

Contents of Collection

The collection includes correspondence, documents and certificates, mementos, photographs, and descriptions of life at sea (including aboard the Schoolship "St. Mary's" while he was a student at the New York Nautical School, now SUNY Maritime College). A highlight of the collection are the letters from McMurray to his mother over a thirty year period.


  • circa 1890-1958


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

Frederick S. McMurray was born in 1879 in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He received his maritime education at the New York Nautical School (now the SUNY Maritime College) aboard the Schoolship "St. Mary's" from 1894 to 1896. After graduating, he served on board the "St. David," a full-rigged sailing vessel that traveled around Cape Horn. He served on the "Harvard" during the Battle of Santiago in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

McMurray briefly returned to the New York Nautical School as an instructor on the Schoolship "Newport." He then served on various ships: the Drydock "Dewey" (which made a voyage under tow from Chesapeake Bay to Manila and through the Suez Canal), John Jacob Astor's yacht "Nourmahal," and the magnetic survey yacht "Carnegie," which he commanded for two years.

In 1916, McMurray returned to the New York Nautical School again as superintendent of the Schoolship "Newport." During World War I, he joined the Naval Reserves and commanded troop carriers. Between the World Wars, he worked for the Isthamanian Lines and then commanded the research vessel "Atlantis," which conducted oceanographic surveys.

During World War II, he again commanded troop ships in the United States Navy. He married his wife, Fern, late in life, but the couple had no children. In 1948, he retired to the Sailors' Snug Harbor retirement home.

On May 22, 1957, he helped to usher in shipping's Atomic Era by ringing eight bells as the keel was laid on the "Savannah," the world's first nuclear-powered commercial ship.

McMurray died in 1958.


3 Linear Feet (7 standard document boxes)


The collection documents the career and life of Frederick S. McMurray (1879-1958), beginning with his training at the New York Nautical School (now the SUNY Maritime College) on the Schoolship "St. Mary's" through his years as an instructor at the New York Nautical School and his service with the United States Navy.

Arrangement of Materials

The collection is arranged in series by content type: Series I: Correspondence, 1890-1956; Series II: Personal and Professional Documents, 1878-1951; Series III: Articles and Essays, 1928-1952; Series IV: News Clippings and Historical Material, 1898-1958. Files in each series are further arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Documentation of this acquisition has not been located.


Clark, John B., Leslie, W. Bruce, and O'Brien, Kenneth P. SUNY At Sixty: The Promise of the State University of New York. Albany: SUNY, 2010.

Cullen, Vicky. Down to the Sea for Science: 75 Years of Ocean Research, Education, and Exploration at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Woods Hole: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2005.

Marine Review, Volume 33. Penton, 1906.

Freeze, Ken. "Mercy Flight Ends in Death: July 15, 1939.", 2002. Accessed on October 24, 2016.
Frederick S. McMurray Papers, 1890-1958
Margaret Hammitt-McDonald
October 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
A legacy finding aid (date and author unknown) for this collection consisted of a basic introduction and inventory. In October 2016 the description was revised in compliance with DACS standards and entered into Archives Space by Margaret Hammitt-McDonald (Archival Intern) under the supervision of Annie Tummino (Archivist).

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen B. Luce Library Repository

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