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Pacific Mail Steamship Company collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Pacific Mail Steamship Company collection
    Date (inclusive): 1851-1929
    Creator: Pacific Mail Steamship Company
    Extent: 523 boxes, 1 folder, and 637 volumes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Pacific Mail Steamship Company collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    The Pacific Mail Steamship Company was incorporated in 1848 to engage in the steamship business after receiving a contract from the U.S. government to provide mail service between Panama and the Oregon coast. The organizer and first president of the company was William H. Aspinwall. The company prospered, expanded its fleet, and began service to Asia in 1867. By the mid-1880s they were sailing to 47 ports across the Pacific Ocean, including ports in Central America and Mexico. The Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company, formed in 1874 by western railroad interests, merged with Pacific Mail Steamship Company in 1900. The company controlling stock was acquired in 1915 by W.R. Grace & Co., and in 1925 the company's house flag, name, and goodwill were sold to the Dollar Line.

    Scope and Content Note

    The collection consists of the business records of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. The records are made up ships' logs, waybills, manifests, personnel records, financial records, notes of protest, freight claims and other business papers. The collection also contains some records of the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company.