Skip to main content

Sailing Diary

Identifier: Ms-1988-109

Scope and Content

The Sailing Diary contains accounts of two voyages made by an unidentified man in the nineteenth century. The description of the first trip begins with the writer's arrival in New York on July 15 [1857]. The writer departs New York on July 21, aboard the steamship Webster, bound for Liverpool via Newfoundland. He describes daily life aboard the ship, including shipboard operations, provides weather conditions and mentions any noteworthy events, especially encounters with sea life (porpoises, whales, and birds) and other ships. He often mentions his family at home and the tedium of being shipboard for an extended time, likening it to a prison, and often plays euchre with other passengers and the captain. The diary continues through the ship's landing at Liverpool on August 17, with the writer describing the city before departing for London shortly thereafter. The account ends with the writer anticipating his upcoming trip to Rotterdam.

The second account commences on February 10, 1872, with the writer aboard the steamship "Yasoo" (almost certainly the Yazoo), being assisted out of an unidentified port (possibly Philadelphia) by an iceboat and tugs. Through the course of the voyage, he recounts weather conditions, his seasickness, onboard accidents, and encounters with other vessels, as the ship continues down the east coast. The writer is given permission to go ashore in an unidentified city (possibly Havana, Cuba), which he describes. The account ends abruptly on February 19, with the writer anticipating his arrival in New Orleans.


  • 1857-1872

Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


Accounts of two sailing trips taken by an unknown man, one from New York City to Liverpool via Newfoundland in 1857 and the other down the east coast of the United States, into the Gulf of Mexico, bound for New Orleans in 1872.

Source of Acquisition

The Sailing Diary was purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 1988.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Sailing Diary by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing and description of the Sailing Diary commenced and was completed in May, 2021.

Sailing Diary, 1857-1872
John M. Jackson
2021 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-26: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
  • 2021-04-22: LM Rozema added subjects and missing notes for an unprocessed collection, added FA title and filing titles, added FA date from EAD, and added component with instances previously attached to collection level.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US