Savannah Port papers, 1754-1920

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Port of Savannah (Ga.)
This collection contains the official papers of the Port of Savannah, Georgia, in the Governmental Coastal District of Savannah. They are papers of ship clearance, cargo lists, Treasury Department letters and similar papers which deal with the customs operations at the port from 1820 to 1920. Although the papers mainly consist of cargo manifests, there are also letters, legal documents, literary pieces, and other miscellaneous items. Several of the items deal with slavery in Savannah and there are occasional mentions of piracy, smuggling, and general misdeeds among the seamen.
20 Linear Feet (5,594 items)
Materials in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The official papers of the port of Savannah cover a myriad of topics, but are primarily comprised of documents pertaining to customs, import and export trade, and shipping. The general papers include ship clearance papers, cargo lists, crew lists, crew bonds, customs papers, salary receipts for port officials, and warehouse papers. The general correspondence includes letters from everyday port transactions and affairs, United States Treasury Department letters, and letters from the British consulate. There are papers concerning construction and maintenance of lighthouses, particularly the Tybee Island Lighthouse. These papers also include a number of legal documents, mostly bills of sale and deeds for land, livestock, sea vessels, and slaves. Other items include lists of seamen admitted to the Savannah poor house and hospital in the 1820s and 1830s, miscellaneous literary documents, and papers of the Savannah Port Society, a charitable organization to aid indigent seamen. Included also is a letter book, 1817-1826, of A. S. Bullock, collector of the port of Savannah, giving many references to economic conditions; a volume listing the persons who entered the port of Savannah, 1817-1818; and volumes containing lists of returns of goods on a number of ships, and inspectors' returns, 1830-1840. Items are arranged chronologically whenever possible.

Acquisition information:
The Savannah Port Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library between 1939 and 1956.
Processing information:

Processed by: Janice Hansen, February 2015.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.

Lighthouses -- Georgia -- Savannah.
Merchant mariners -- Missions and charities -- Georgia.
Customs administration -- Georgia -- Savannah.
Shipping -- Georgia -- Savannah.
Savannah (Ga.) -- Commerce
Georgia -- Commerce.
Savannah (Ga.) -- Economic conditions.


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Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Savannah Port papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.