GLMS 28 - International Shipmasters Association
|Title||GLMS 28 - International Shipmasters Association|
The records of the International Ship Master's Association were transferred to the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes over the period from 1975 to 1989. The instrument of gift was signed in March 1989.
Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and scholarly research. Final processing was completed in 1990 by Mark J. Barnes and A. J. Dufresne with the assistance of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The origins of the International Ship Masters' Association lie in the efforts of the professional ship captains to cope with the hardships encountered by their families following the deaths of members of their trade. In late-nineteenth century America, benevolent societies grew with the demand for insurance coverage. The death of the first mate for the freighter BOSTON during the winter of 1886 in Buffalo, New York, initiated a chain of events leading to the birth of ISMA. On finding the widow of his friend to be destitute, Captain John H. Ivors collected money for her relief. Other ship maters contributed and plans were made to create a continuing organization to administer an endowment for their profession.
The Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association was chartered in 1886 with its first lodge in Buffalo. Ship masters in other locations were interested in the concept of a benevolent society that paid benefits to the survivors of deceased members. Lodges in other cities resulted. In 1891 the structure of a Grand Lodge overseeing local lodge activities was instituted and annual meetings were held thereafter with delegates attending from each affiliate to vote on issues raised by the members.
At the 1893 annual meeting the organization's name was changed to the Ship Masters' Association. By 1916 the presence of Canadian members resulted in the adoption of the current name, the International Ship Masters' Association.
ISMA was founded to serve as a benevolent society and not as a labor union. Nonetheless, members developed contracts with legislative bodies and trade associations to lobby for improvements in their working environment.
Today, ISMA is over a century old and remains a vital force in discussions on Great Lakes shipping policies in the United States and Canada. The following lodges are currently in operation:
|Scope and Content|
Of particular interest to researchers studying the development of the Great Lakes maritime shipping industry, the ISMA records are present from the inception of the Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association (ISMA's predecessor) in 1886 to 1990. Regrettably, documentation on the years before 1960 is sparse. Available in the largest volume are six cubic feet of membership files that include, in part, beneficiary certificates and membership information cards reflecting ISMA's interest in providing death benefits to members' families.
Files on the annual meetings provide an extensive set of proceedings with complete coverage from 1934 to 1989. Fifteen earlier sets of proceedings are present, but none predate 1906. Programs offer coverage in complete form for 1959-1990.
Correspondence files of the principal officers range from 1917-1990, but fall most heavily after 1960. Files of the Grand President, Grand Secetary, and Grand Treasurer comprise most of hte officer files. Primary topics in the correspondence are membership matters, benefit payments, lobbying agenda, and annual meeting preparations.
Correspondence with local lodges provides useful commentaries on the interaction of local members with Grand Lodge officers. Lodges in Cleveland, Ohio and Toledo, Ohio are heavily represented. Files are also present for lodges in Alpena, Michigan; Ashtabula, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Georgian Bay-Huronia, Ontario; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Ogdensburg, New York; Port Huron, Michigan; St. Catharine's, Ontario; Twin Ports (Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin); and Twin Sault (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Ontario). Significant portions of this correspondence pertain to positions taken on resolutions scheduled for discussion at annual meetings.
Financial records contain a fairly complete picture of the conditions of ISMA for the 1940s and for the period 1962-1985. Death claims are thoroughly documented for the period 1907-1976.
Committee records, primarily those of the Navigation and Legislative Committee used in conjunction with correspondence files lead to information on ISMA member reactions to legislation regarding maritime affairs. The increasing emphasis on discussion of technology in navigation after the 1930s is reflected in committee records.
A brief file on the history of ISMA is present that includes a copy of the original charter for the Excelsior Marine Benevolent Association from 1886.
Membership Directories are available for 1896-1967. These items have been assigned the Library of Congress call number GL HE 565 .V71 S5 (1910, etc.) and are shelved with the HCGL's book collection.
Researchers should note that photographs have been separated from the collection and filed in the HCGL's main photograph collection and printed materials have been separated and cataloged with the book and pamphlet collection.
Note to researchers: ISMA's newsletter, ISMALetter is kept in the HCGL's main periodicals collection.
I.S.M.A. HISTORICAL FILES
ANNUAL MEETING PROCEEDINGS
ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAMS
ANNUAL MEETINGS: CREDENTIALS FOR DELEGATES
ANNUAL MEETINGS: RESOLUTIONS
ANNUAL MEETINGS: CORRESPONDENCE
MEMBERSHIP BENEFICIARY CERTIFICATES
MEMBERSHIP DUES BOOK FOR LOCAL LODGES
I.S.M.A. MEMBERSHIP ROSTERS
ROSTERS OF GRAND LODGE AND LOCAL LODGE OFFICERS
MEMBERSHIP STATUS REPORTS
MEMBERSHIP CARD FILE
SUBJECT CORRESPONDENCE: GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
SUBJECT CORRESPONDENCE: GRAND LODGE
SUBJECT CORRESPONDENCE: ALPHABETICAL FILE
GRAND SECRETARY'S FINANCIAL REPORTS
1-2, Historical Files on ISMA, 1891, 1920, 1922, 1927, 1964-1965, 1972, 1975-1976, 1986-1992, n.d.
1-20, Navigation and Legislative Committee, 1923, 1939, 1963-1964, 1966, 1968-1976, 1982-1994
Box 3: Printed Proceedings of ISMA Annual Meetings
1-49, 1906, 1908-1911, 1914-1915, 1917, 1921-1923, 1925, 1927, 1929, 1932, 1934, 1967
1-22, Printed Proceedings of ISMA Annual Meetings, 1968-1989, 1991-1993
Box 5: Programs for ISMA Annual Meetings
1-40, 1948, 1951, 1957, 1959-1996
1-13, Credentials for Delegates from eacah local lodge attending the Annual Meetings, 1964, 1966-1974, 1976, 1986
Box 7: Membership Beneficiary Certificates, A-B
Box 8: Membership Beneficiary Certificates, C-F
Box 9: Membership Beneficiary Certificates, G-J
Box 10: Membership Beneficiary Certificates, K-M
Box 11: Membership Beneficiary Certificates, N-Si
Box 12: Membership Beneficiary Certificates, Sk-Z
Box 13: Membership Dues Book for Local Lodges, 1966-1969
1-15, ISMA Membership Rosters, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1980, 1985-1990
Box 15: Local Lodges
1-5, Lodge 1 - Buffalo, New York, Correspondence, 1965-1973, 1977-1978
37, Lodge 6 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Correspondence, 1891, 1968
Box 16: Local Lodges--Lodge 7, Detroit, Michigan
Box 17: Local Lodges--Lodge 7, Detroit, Michigan
1-8, Lodge 9 - Toledo, Ohio, Correspondence, 1962-1977, 1980-1983, 1989-1993
Box 19: Subject Correspondence, Grand Officers
1-29, Grand President, 1962-1995
Box 20: Subject Correspondence, Grand Secretary
1-56 Grand Secretary, 1970-1993
Box 21: Subject Correspondence
1-6, Grand Treasurer, 1963-1967, 1971-1975, 1979
Box 22: Subject Correspondence
1, Literary Productions, n.d.
1-13, Audits, 1932, 1943-1944, 1946-1947, 1962-1974, 1976-1978, 1980-1985
Oversize Materials (Housed in GLMS 71, Box 26)
Oversize Folder 1: Certificate Establishing Buffalo Ship Masters' Lodge, January 8, 1891
Oversize Folder 2: Certificate Establishing Cleveland Lodge Ladies' Auxiliary, June 1, 1905
Oversize Folder 3: Certificate Establishing Cleveland Ship Masters' Lodge, January 31, 1894