By Heidi Rempel, Digital Project Archivist

We the undersigned urgently request relief from what to us is an unendurable evil.

On November 4, 1873, four of the Old Snugs signed a petition about their fellow roommate, one Robert Adamson. This poor soul apparently was responsible for snoring “so fearfully, so continuously, and so much beyond anything [they] have ever experienced” that none of them were getting any sleep. They beg to have him moved out of the room, or be moved themselves.

Letter of November 4, 1873, regarding Robert Adamson and his snoring.

These men — Cummings, James Jordan, Edward Cordovan, and John Munday — clearly were unlucky enough not to…

By Heidi Rempel, Digital Project Archivist

If I had to name one of my favorite reasons for choosing to work with historical collections, it would be that zing of excitement that I get when I connect with a person in history that I’d never heard of before I came across them as part of my work. Learning more about history through the people who lived that history makes it — and them — come alive.

As I have worked on the Sailors’ Snug Harbor NPS grant, it is entirely unavoidable that in the process of meticulously scanning, checking, and rehousing…

By Heidi Rempel, Digital Project Archivist

Herman Melville, ca. 1860, from the Library of Congress’s collection of photographic portraits.

One of the gems of the Sailors’ Snug Harbor collection is an early nineteenth-century travelogue that belonged to Herman Melville. We know that it was part of Melville’s library because of his signature on the title page. The book also contains distinctive X-marks consistent with marginalia discovered on other books owned by Melville. …

By Trevor Polasek, Archival Intern

Self portrait taken by Phyllip Dillloway while onboard the USS American Pilot. More at

Phylipp Dilloway is a graduate of the New York State Maritime Academy (now SUNY Maritime College), a former sailor in the Naval Reserves, an industrial engineer, a professor, and the unofficial class historian for his graduating class, October of 1946. Dilloway’s resume is quite impressive, and is an example of what one can do starting out as a merchant mariner. …

by Jannette D’Esposito, Project Archivist

When I was hired as a consultant archivist by SUNY Maritime College to arrange and describe the college’s early institutional records, I was eager to see what historical treasures I would discover. For many people digging through boxes of old administrative documents might sound boring but I knew from previous experience that the archival collections housed at SUNY Maritime College’s Stephen B. Luce Library are quite unique and intriguing. Where else can you find documents about sailors’ losing limbs to whales and young cadets in training rescuing stranded fishermen? The institutional records of the first…

by Annie Tummino, Interim Library Director and Archivist

One of my favorite things about working as the SUNY Maritime College Archivist is that our institutional records are incredibly unique. For the first 64 years of the school’s existence, from 1874 until the establishment of a campus at historic Fort Schuyler in 1938, students were educated entirely at sea. First on the square-rigged sloop-of-war St. Mary’s, then on the Newport (a sail-steam hybrid), and finally, on the first of several steam powered ships named the Empire State. …

by Annie Tummino, Archivist & Interim Library Director

The library was recently awarded a $6,000 grant from the National Endowment for Humanities, one of 76 Preservation Grants for Smaller Institutions awarded by the NEH this year.

As summarized in the application: The Stephen B. Luce Library holds the records of several significant maritime organizations, including the Marine Society of New York, Sailors’ Snug Harbor, and the Board of Commissioners of the Sandy Hook Pilots. Additionally, the library holds college records and alumni papers that shed light on the structure and role of the Merchant Marine during peacetime and war. …

The Stephen B. Luce Library serves as a repository of the records of Sailors’ Snug Harbor, America’s first home for retired seaman and one of the country’s oldest secular philanthropic institutions. Dedicated to the welfare of “aged, decrepit, and worn out” mariners, Sailors’ Snug Harbor was established in 1801 from the will of Robert Richard Randall, son of Thomas Randall, who made his fortune as a privateer during the French and Indian War and was a Revolutionary War patriot.

Below, Archivist Annie Tummino has created a timeline to delve into the history of the Harbor’s early Governors, who served as…

by Annie Tummino, Archivist & Scholarly Communications Librarian

The Stephen B. Luce Library of SUNY Maritime College has a longstanding commitment to preserving America’s maritime heritage. As the first maritime school in the country, founded in 1874, the college’s institutional records document the development of nautical education in the United States. Additionally, the library is home to the records and papers of over fifty maritime organizations, professionals, and college alumni.

Now, the library is proud to announce a new site to explore and search these unique maritime collections (click through for details!).

The site is built with ArchivesSpace, a community…

SUNY Maritime College’s Stephen B. Luce Library has been awarded $50,000 from the National Park Service and the U.S. Maritime Administration to continue efforts to digitize records documenting the history of Sailors’ Snug Harbor on Staten Island, New York, and the lives of thousands of retired sailors who lived there.

Sailors’ Snug Harbor was the first non-denominational retirement home in the country. Founded by the wealthy Randall family, it gave retired sailors, many of whom were disabled and without wives or families, a safe haven from the 1830s until 2008. Maritime’s library has been home to the Sailors’ Snug Harbor…

Stephen B. Luce Library

SUNY Maritime College

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