Baltimore Port Records

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The Port Records for Baltimore from the Revolution to the First World War are scattered and in disarray.

This entry focuses on the analysis of the sources of the activities of the Port in the first half of the 19th century, beginning with the late 1830s and will encompass vessels, captains, commission merchants, cargoes and shipbuilding linked to images of the records and analytical spreadsheets. Over time the intent is to link to explanations of where the records are to be found, and to provide topical analysis of their content. The initial project linked here relates to Baltimore's involvement in the domestic and international slave trade, including building vessels specifically for the illegal trade in slaves from Africa to Cuba, Brazil, and the United States. Baltimore designed and built ships (derived from the Bermuda Pilot boats and from fast sailing ships built in the Loire Valley in the last quarter of the 18th century) were for the most part small and very fast sailors, so much so that the British at Cowes copied their design for 'yachts' purchased by the British Admiralty for patroling the African coast in pursuit of slavers, the most successful of which was the "Waterwitch" which could outsail the fastest of the Baltimore built slavers. The heyday of the Baltimore built slavers was the fifteen years following the Panic of 1837.

Entrances and Clearances, 1836-1839

The New Orleans Trade, 1838, derived from MdHS 610. To access this spreadsheet on Google Drive you will need permission from

Merchant's Exchange daily log for 1838, (this only available locally on a usb drive or DVD available from, assigned locally as Drive "L." If you are using Chrome as a browser, you will need to add the extension and enable local file links).