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. 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. SSHSA also publishes the quarterly magazine PowerShips and has taken on the role of conservationist through our digital conservation project, the Image Porthole.
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.
SSHSA holds non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt status and remains the oldest and largest organization of its kind in the world. SSHSA is a vital source and authority of the nautical and maritime history of engine-powered vessels, from the earliest steam-powered ships to modern ocean liners.
Join the thousands of maritime enthusiasts who prize their memberships in the Steamship Historical Society of America.
SSHSA publishes PowerShips, The Magazine of Engine-Powered Vessels. Launched in 1940 as The Steamboat Bill of Facts, this quarterly magazine has been published 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.
No other magazine has the distinction or legacy and covers the dramatic course of engine-powered vessels like PowerShips.
In addition to our official quarterly magazine, SSHSA publishes maritime books, media, and newsletters of high interest to the thousands of enthusiastic members throughout the world. We serve as the link connecting all maritime heritage resources in the USA to the world.
PowerShips is published and distributed 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.
The Telegraph is the Steamship Historical Society of America 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.
The Telegraph is distributed 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.
The Steamship Historical Society of America Ship History Center is open
Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2500 Post Road, Warwick, RI, 02886
Please call ahead: (401) 463-3570.
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. More than 60,000 digitized maritime photos are currently available online via the SSHSA Image Porthole
Since its launch 2008, more than 60,000 “lost” pictures of ships, ports, and people now have been preserved, digitized and presented online. In addition to photographic images, the porthole is home to 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.
Visit www.sshsaimageporthole.org to access SSHSA’s Image Porthole.
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.***