Guide to the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey Records
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0240
Creators:
United States. Works Progress Administration
Dates:
1936-1937.
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
18.5 Cubic feet
79 volumes, 10 rolls
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised of over 18 cubic feet of material generated during the course of the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey. The bulk of the collection consists of survey books and measured drawings. Other records include administrative papers relating to the project, an index and catalogue, and a listing of the names of vessels surveyed.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is divided into five series.
Series 1: H.A.M.M.S. Index
Series 2: H.A.M.M.S. Catalogue
Series 3: Names of Vessels, 1789-
Series 4: Field Notes
Series 5: Drawings

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Historic American Merchant Marine Survey (HAMMS) was one of six projects created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to provide work for unemployed skilled or "white collar" workers. These projects were intended to provide work which was both useful and appropriate to the skills and experience of workers who were not suited for more traditional work programs involving manual or outdoor labor. The specific goal of HAMMS was to undertake a national survey of watercraft, in order to document the design and technical evolution of vessel types significant in America's commercial maritime history. This was to be accomplished by making measured drawings of existing vessels, ship models, and builders' half models; by making a photographic record of significant vessels; and by compiling written data about vessels.
The HAMMS program was in existence from January 1, 1936 to October 15, 1937. The Smithsonian Institution served as the official sponsor of the Survey and received all the documentation produced, thus augmenting its already significant National Watercraft Collection. Unlike other WPA projects, HAMMS was administered directly from Washington by its Director, Eric J. Steinlein, who coordinated the survey work of six regional directors. Despite its national mandate, the Survey actually was limited to the eastern seaboard, the Great Lakes, and California. Furthermore, the types of craft surveyed and the level of documentation varied considerably within the six regions. During the course of its existence, the HAMMS program conducted over 166 surveys and produced over 400 sheets of line drawings of ship's hulls, rigging, and details.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by NMAH Staff, undated
Author
NMAH Staff
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The materials in this collection were turned over to the Smithsonian soon after the completion of the project in 1937.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Historic American Merchant Marine Survey, 1936-1937, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Transportation, October 20, 1986.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Records Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tracings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Naval architecture -- Designs and plans Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings -- 1930-1940 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Great Lakes (North America) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Historic American Merchant Marine Survey United States Works Progress Administration Transportation, Division of Smithsonian Institution. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jackson, Melvin H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives