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Shark, Potomac, and Constitution Correspondence

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Title: Shark, Potomac, and Constitution Correspondence
Inclusive Dates: 1812-1885
Quantity: 4 folders (SC)
Abstract: Letters of officers including J.M. Nicholson, Captain of the U.S. Frigate Potomac; H. Paulding Lt. of the Schooner Shark to Commodore Daniel Patterson enclosing monthly crew reports, 1834-35; and I. Percival, Captain of the U.S. Frigate Constitution, to I.Y. Mason, Secretary of the Navy, requesting additional vessels for shallow water duty, 1844; also other reports and miscellany.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Officially created in 1775, the United States Navy Department is the water branch of the United States Military. The U.S.S. Constitution is a famous ship and served in many important historical conflicts, particularly the War of 1812, during which she earned the nickname "Old Ironsides." Currently the ship resides in the Boston Navy Yard, part of Boston National Historic Park. She is restored and available for tours. The U.S.S. Potomac served from 1822 to 1877, figuring first in conflicts in Sumatra and Latin America, and later during the Civil War. The Schooner Shark was launched in 1821 and served against slave traders and pirates during her early commission until her destruction due to an uncharted sandbar. The U.S.S. Palos served at the Asiatic station from 1865-1893.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Shark, Potomac, and Constitution Correspondence contains correspondence, monthly crew reports, and miscellaneous documents with dates ranging from 1812-1885.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged alphabetically by ship name; correspondence is followed by crew reports.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections relating to military history; please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Mason, I. Y.
Nicholson, J. M.
Patterson, Daniel Todd, 1786-1839.
Paulding, Hiram, 1797-1878.
Percival, I.

Corporate Bodies

Constitution (Frigate)
Potomac (Frigate)
United States. Navy -- History.


Ships -- United States -- History -- 19th century.

Genres and Forms

Public records.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Shark, Potomac, and Constitution Correspondence,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 2001-01-01
Revision history: 20 Mar 2009 - converted to EAD (AM)

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Correspondence and Crew Reports
SC 298, Folder 1 U.S.S. Constitution 1812-1885 (Roughly 50 items)
SC 298, Folder 2 Schooner Shark 1834 (13 items)
SC 298, Folder 3 U.S.S. Potomac 1834-1835 (8 items)
SC 298, Folder 4 U.S.S. Palos (Missing 3/24/2009) 1880-1882 (1 letterbook kept by Arthur Peterson, ship's paymaster)

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