Logbooks of the Isabella and Brig Consort, 1829-1862, MS 3112


Finding Aid to the Logbooks of the Isabella and Brig Consort, 1829-1862, MS 3112

H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society



Collection summary



Logbooks of the Isabella and Brig Consort


Leeds, La. and Monroe, Thomas Goldsmith.

Call number

MS 3112

Inclusive dates


Bulk dates



1 box. 6 folders.


Logbooks document the journeys of the ship Isabella from Canton, China to Philadelphia, Pa. in 1829 and the brig Consort from Philadelphia, Pa. to San Francisco, Ca. in 1850. Also includes a selection of other nautical materials.

Administrative summary



H. Furlong Baldwin Library

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St.

Baltimore, MD 21201



Access restrictions

Open to the public without restrictions.

Use restrictions

Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.


Gift of Robert C. Smoot, III, October 12, 2005.

Accession number


Processing note

Processed by Lara Westwood in March, 2013.


Historical Note

The Isabella was a merchant ship captained by Master Leeds and owned by Brown Brothers and Company. The ship frequently sailed between Canton, China (now known as Guangzhou) and Philadelphia, Pa to trade for the banking and investment firm, which was founded in 1818 by John A. Brown, the brother of the prominent Baltimore lawyer, Alexander Brown. Traders would often sell ginseng harvested in America for a large sum, and purchase Chinese goods, such as tea and silk, to sell at home. The port of Philadelphia brought in exports from all over the world, including India and Cuba.

The brig Consort was built at the Boston Navy Yard in 1836 for the Wilkes Expedition, in which the United States Navy surveyed the Pacific coast from 1838-1842. The exploring expedition initially operated under Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones, but he resigned before the mission began, and Lieutenant Charles Wilkes took his place. The ship was designed by Samuel Humphreys to be rigged as both a bark and a brig, and served in various positions for the Navy, first as a government packet travelling between New York and Vera Cruz, Mexico and then as a surveying vessel off the southern U.S. coast. The Consort was eventually sold in Philadelphia in 1844, where it continued to make journeys to the Pacific.


Scope and Content

The collection is organized chronologically and contains a selection of nautical materials. Clippings from Consort’s logbook, between pages of May 26 through 29, were removed to folder 4 as they may have come unglued.

The logbooks, kept by the ships’ captains, detail the daily weather conditions and events on board, along with navigation information, such as speed and location. Sightings of passing ships, deaths of crew members, and damage caused by storms were also diligently documented in the books. The journal of the Isabella documents the trip from Canton, China to Philadelphia in 1829, and the logbook for the Consort recounts the brig’s journey from Philadelphia, Pa. to San Francisco, Ca. in 1850. A page from an account book of the brig Washington for its sixth voyage to Charleston, S.C. is also a part of the collection. Also included is a note on how to calculate declination.


Container List


Span Dates



Accounts of the brig Washington

No date



Seaman’s Journal of the ship Isabella

1829, Jan. 4-1829, Apr. 26



Logbook of the brig Consort

1850, Apr. 4-1850, Dec. 20



Clippings from the logbook of the brig Consort

No date



Alexander Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia, Pa.) Sunday Schools pamphlet

1861, Feb. 10



Nautical calculations

1862, Apr. 28?