Monday, September 15, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Sailors' Home Register

This big funky-looking Sailors' Home register was a delight to find and catalog:


 
Sailors' Home register, 1857-1862, MS 1862, courtesy, California Historical Society

The Sailors' Home was a boarding house for sailors in San Francisco operated by the Ladies' Seamen's Friend Society. This register is a treasure trove of information about the sailors who shipped in and out of the port of San Francisco between the years 1857 and 1862. Information recorded for each sailor includes: date of arrival, name, room number, name of vessel, where from, date of departure, vessel sailed in, where bound, and general remarks ("ran away" is a recurring theme).

Though the Ladies' Seamen's Friend Society sounds like a benevolent organization (and certainly was imagined as one by its founders and members), the Coast Seamen's Union, founded in 1885, railed against the Society and its condescending management of the Sailors' Home in the pages of the Coast Seamen's Journal. CHS also has a significant of this wonderful early San Francisco labor newspaper, yet to be cataloged, and many other manuscripts, books, and photographs documenting seafaring life in the nineteenth century.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
msilva@calhist.org
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