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Collection Guide
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Guide to the American President Lines Records, 1871-1995
HDC 279  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Collection Summary: Approximately 575 linear feet including folders of textual materials, ledgers and logbooks, oversize folders of textual or graphic material, scrapbooks, photographic prints in standard and oversize formats, negatives, transparencies, motion picture film, audiotape and objects. The collection is comprised of two large acquisitions. The first portion, accessioned in 1983 and processed in 1987, consists of approximately 308 linear feet of logbooks and other corporate documents (bulk 1927-1943). The second portion (bulk 1938-1988), with which this finding aid is primarily concerned, was transferred from American President Lines (APL) to the San Francisco Maritime NHP Historic Documents Department in February 1995.
Background
American President Lines, for many years the largest American shipping company in the Pacific, was formed in 1938 from the remnants of the Dollar Steamship Company. Organized in 1900, Dollar spent its first two decades in the transpacific trade as "essentially a tramp operator, whose main cargoes were bulk, low-value merchandise not suitable for the larger and faster passenger-cargo liners of the Pacific Mail Steamship Lines." [1] Both APL and Dollar traced their corporate origins to the famous Pacific Mail Steamship Company (PMSS) formed in 1848."The PRESIDENT CLEVELAND reached her statutory retirement age late in 1972, and the PRESIDENT WILSON completed her last voyage, a round-the-world cruise, in April 1973. This brought to an end the trans-Pacific passenger ship service that had been carried on by the American President Lines and its predecessors without interruption except during World War I and World War II since 1867." [3]"Some hatches of the Searacers were fitted out for containers, others conformed to traditional methods of stowage and off-loading. It was a costly error to attempt a compromise design when it was clear that the industry was in a state of such uncertainty. The Searacers, named the PRESIDENT LINCOLN (II) and the PRESIDENT TYLER (III), never operated efficiently. Two systems of freight carriage that were not compatible existed side by side on one vessel. They simply got in the other's way, slowing down rather than speeding up the loading and unloading process." [4]"American President Companies, Ltd. provides container transportation and related services in Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East through an intermodal system combining ocean, rail and truck transportation.... Our vision is to be one of the very best containerized surface transportation companies in the world." [6]
Extent
Approximately 575 linear feet total.

HDC 279: 501.61 linear feet.

P96-007: 60.1 linear feet, 85 motion picture reels, and 41 videocassettes.

SAFR-891: 1016 items.
Restrictions
The San Francisco Maritime NHP possesses physical property rights through ownership of the materials. However, copyright may reside with the individual or corporate body responsible for the creation of the materials, or with their heirs. It is the user's responsibility to respect the provisions of the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Permission to reproduce or publish from this collection must be secured by the user from the copyright holders.
Availability
Collection is open for research.