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Pacific Mail Steamship Company Collection: Finding Aid
mssPacific mail steamship co  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Pacific Mail Steamship Company Collection
    Dates (inclusive): 1851-1929
    Collection Number: mssPacific mail steamship co
    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) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The collection consists of the business records of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, dating from 1851-1929. The collection also contains some records of the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    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.


    Gift of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, 1937-1938.

    Historical Note

    The Pacific Mail Steamship Company was incorporated in 1848 to engage in the steamship business after receiving a contract from the Unite States 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

    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.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Pacific Mail Steamship Company -- Archives.
    Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company.
    Mail steamers -- United States -- History -- Sources.
    Pacific Coast -- Commerce.
    Postal service -- United States -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
    Shipping -- Pacific Coast -- History -- Sources.
    Steamboat lines -- United States -- History -- Sources.
    Voyages to the Pacific coast.


    Articles of incorporation United States.
    Business records United States.
    Ledgers (account books) United States.
    Minutes United States.
    Personnel records United States.
    Ships' logs United States.
    Ships' manifests United States.
    Waybills United States.

    Additional Authors

    Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company.