William C. Steuart Collection - PP75

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Maryland Historical Society Library

ca. 1885-1960

Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, November 1999


William Calvert Steuart (1883-1977) began his career at age 17, as an apprentice draftsman for Detrick and Hervey, a metal-working machinery firm. He worked for Consolidated Gas and Electric Company (later Baltimore Gas and Electric) from 1926 until retirement in 1948. Steuart was well known in Maryland for his hobby of building ship models. In 1962, he gave his large collection of model ships to the Maritime Museum of the Maryland Historical Society. He also made many photographs of boats, both original and copies of existing images.

Collection Origin

Gift of William C. Steuart, 1970 (62643).

Scope and Contents

The collection is unprocessed. It consists of 1 large flat box with ca. 600 negatives, mostly nitrate and safety film with a few 3¼ x 4¼ inch glass negatives. There are also about 30 photoprints, including positive photostat prints. The collection depicts boats, especially steamships, with images mostly undated but presumably made ca. 1930-1960. Many are copies of photographs or printed images ca. 1885-1910. The subjects are often identified on the negative envelope.

There are many images of individual boats, which are often identified as to type, including paddle wheel steamer, screw steamer, stern-wheel steamer, day steamer, side-wheeler, bugeye, sailboat, tug, etc. Individual boats include Avalon, E. Clay Timanus, Lancaster, Louise, Mason L. Weems, Middlesex, Minnie Wheeler, Murray Bay, Nanticoke, Nelly White, Neuse, Penn, Phlox, Pilot Boy, Pocahontas, Pocomoke, and Tolchester, among many others.

The source of some copied images were advertisements for steam ship travel. There are also views of the Baltimore Harbor and shipyards at the beginning of the 20th century, the Light Street Pier before and after the Baltimore Fire, and Tolchester Beach ca. 1885.

Note: The accession sheet mentions ca. 140 glass plate negatives (3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch), which were not found.

Note: The collection contains ca. 60 pieces of memorabilia, printed ephemera, and other non-photographic materials. Included are drawings of steamers and sailing vessels, brochures and clippings on maritime subjects, invitations, charts, and greeting cards. There are also ca. 12 cards which are painted-over reproductions of steamship images.

Note: Related materials are found in MS. 1809, the William C. Steuart Papers, 1930-1962.


The photographs and negatives have not been arranged nor an inventory prepared. All materials are contained in one box. There may be additional boxes containing the 140 glass negatives which were not found.

Container List

1 Box

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