Thursday, July 31, 2008

Steamship Historical Society of America Launches Interactive Project to Identify 40,000+ Ship Images

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the The Steamship Historical Society of America. Please direct inquiries to the Society's website.

Click to listen to the podcast version of this blog entry.

Steamship Historical Society of America Launches Interactive Project to Identify 40,000+ Ship Images

Members, general public to help document lost and forgotten photos

PROVIDENCE, R.I., July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA) unveiled a new project aimed at documenting the history of over 40,000 lost and forgotten steamship navigation images dating from the 1850s through the 1980s. The project includes preservation of two collections: approximately 2,000 fragile and threatened large format glass plate images from many different regions around the U.S.; and 38,000 color slide photos depicting ships, ports, steam trains, and people taken by the late Edward O. Clark, an SSHSA benefactor and historian.

Over a decade ago, the SSHSA acquired the Clark collection of images -- which were unidentified and deteriorating -- including maritime heritage, architecture and nature shots taken from land and sea. The additional glass plate images faded and suffered deterioration from mildew and storage issues.

Thanks to a grant from The Champlin Foundations, SSHSA worked to clean, preserve and scan all of the images for display online. The resulting database, called the "Image Porthole," can be accessed via It is SSHSA's goal to have its members and the general public view the photos online, in a worldwide effort to help identify the collection.

The "Image Porthole" project is consistent with the SSHSA's mission: to record, preserve and disseminate the history of engine-powered vessels for education, information, and research purposes. "Members are able to browse the photos and type information about them directly into the database," explains Robert C. Cleasby, president of SSHSA board of directors. "Non- members can email us with any information they have. By sharing knowledge and helping to identify the images, the world is collectively writing a history book. This is an exciting project that will help our organization document an era of ship travel to share with the world."

The SSHSA is a non-profit organization founded in 1935, with approximately 2,500 members in 43 countries. Members include maritime enthusiasts, professional and amateur historians, divers, and genealogy and nautical buffs. SSHSA maintains one of the largest archives in North America devoted exclusively to the history of engine-powered vessels, with over 400,000 images, artifacts and memorabilia in over 100 collections.

For more information, contact The Steamship Historical Society of America at 1029 Waterman Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914; 401-274-0805;