American Maritime Documents, 1776-1860 - Stein, Douglas L.
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Other documents and forms were frequently printed by local print shops near the ports where they were used, a situation which produced a variety of styles for Manifest, Articles of Agreement, Clearance Certificates, etc.
The examples found in this work have been taken primarily form the manuscripts collection at Mystic Seaport Museum. This collection contains more than five hundred thousand pieces, is extensively cataloged, and represents a major research source for the study of American maritime history. We have also solicited documents from other institutions in order to produce the best or most appropriate illustration for every piece described.
The illustrations are intended to assist in identifying these documents, and they are presented in a way that best satisfies this purpose. In most cases the photos have not been cropped. Instead the entire piece is represented, which allows the reader to better visualize the format or composition of hat particular item. Larger documents have been reduced only to the point where they can be properly represented on a single page while some small items were enlarged a bit for the same reason. When dimensions of a document are important, they have been included in the physical description. In other instances I have indicated that a piece varied considerable in size, so its measurements are of little value in the identification process.
Finally, this volume does not pretend to include examples of every document used by the American maritime industry during this period, but we have made an effort to provide a large selection of the most important and/or frequently found documents in collections of maritime manuscripts. Each piece is illustrated and described, so that the reader may easily and accurately identify a particular document, or perhaps better understand its significance as a research source. We trust that this volume will be a useful addition to maritime historiography, and prove of value to those who use it.