This educational website is made possible by grants from the National Park Service’s National Maritime Heritage Program and the Heritage Harbor Foundation.
The mission of the Steamship Historical Society of America is to record, preserve, and disseminate the history of engine-powered vessels.
In 1935 seven steamship historians and collectors formed the Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA). They brought together amateur and professional historians interested in the history and development of steam navigation, past and present.
Today SSHSA stewards a collection of hundreds of thousands of images, artifacts, periodicals, artwork, official records, memorabilia, and ephemera archived in more than 100 collections. These materials are devoted exclusively to the history of engine-powered vessels, their passengers and crew.
Our members include maritime collectors and artists, current and former crew members, historians and students, genealogists, scuba divers, cruise travelers, ship engineers and architects, and maritime history enthusiasts.
Join the thousands of maritime enthusiasts who prize their memberships in the Steamship Historical Society of America.
SSHSA holds non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt status and remains the oldest and largest organization of its kind in the world.
SSHSA publishes PowerShips: The Magazine of Engine-Powered Vessels. Launched in 1940 as The Steamboat Bill of Facts, the SSHSA has published this quarterly magazine continuously for 75 years, without interruption.
PowerShips isn’t just another maritime history magazine…it’s the ship history magazine. Each issue is produced in full color and packed with exciting and informative features on maritime subjects that bring the past to life.
This 88-page magazine includes regional columns from across the United States and overseas, special columns on cruise ships, yachts, tugboats, reviews of newly published maritime books and much more. SSHSA publishes and distributes PowerShips on January 15th, April 15th, July 15th and October 15th.
AHOY! is SSHSA’s quarterly newsletter that keeps friends and members up-to-date on maritime activities, special events, and trade news items of high interest. AHOY! is produced and distributed February 15th, May 15th, August 15th, and November 15th.
A quarterly member e-newsletter, each issue of The Telegraph covers “Members Only” activities at SSHSA Chapters, SSHSA events, special cruises, SSHSA awards, and other news specifically related to our members.
SSHSA distributes The Telegraph on March 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and December 15th.
Serving in its capacity as an educational organization, SSHSA publishes books about maritime history by expert authors. These books include Gordon Ghareeb and Martin Cox’s From Hollywood to Honolulu, The Story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company.
Enter our Book Store.
SSHSA’s archives cover a vast array of maritime topics and history relating to the United States, and world shipping. They include:
- ship plans, line drawings and blueprints
- ephemera such as brochures (click here for an index)
- newspaper clippings, tickets, advertisements and posters
- film, video and audio recordings
- boat, yacht and ship logs (click here for an index – we will continue to add to this list as more are identified)
- objects, artifacts and fine art, including paintings in the Posner Virtual Museum
- images such as photographs, negatives, positives, glass slides and color projection slides.
SSHSA’s Image Porthole
An industry leading tool currently in place is our Image Porthole. Since its launch in 2008, more than 60,000 digitized maritime photos are currently available online via the SSHSA Image Porthole. In addition to photographic images, the porthole also contains digitized posters, paintings, and artifacts.
SSHSA members can interact with the Image Porthole database and help us identify these images and items. General public may login as guests and view the images.
SSHSA’s Maritime Library
The library includes volumes about shipping lines, specific vessels of military and merchant classes, war, immigration and genealogy, as well as periodicals, reference materials on marine engineering, the merchant marine, and shipping registers.
Please refer below for a list of the registers available in our library:
Lloyd’s Registers: 1764, 1774, 1790, 1800, 1812, 1820, 1844, 1848, 1851, 1853, 1861-63, 1873, 1878, 1882-1883, 1886-1888, 1893, 1897-1898, 1900-1901, 1907-1999.
Lloyd’s Register of American Yachts: 1914, 1922-1926, 1929-1942, 1947, 1950, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1962-1963, 1965-1969, 1976, 1977.
Record of American and Foreign Shipping: 1897, 1902, 1905, 1907, 1909-1910, 1913-1915, 1918-1967, 1971, 1974-1975, 1979-1981, 1986-1996.
Merchant Vessels of the United States: 1868-1870, 1875, 1881, 1883-1965, 1968-1979, 1981, 1989.
***Please note that not all of the collections in the archives are processed (or documented), and so certain requests for information or specific items may take time. Please state the urgency or any relevant deadlines upon requesting information or research time.***
Click here to request research or a photo search, or to request more information.