Browse The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Home Page

History and Ephemera - Steamship Lines

Transatlantic Ocean Liners and Other Worldwide Services

Steamship Lines Collage 1 - Transatlantic Ocean Liners and Other Worldwide Services

Transatlantic, Trans-Pacific and Coastal steamship lines, an index to the collections available at the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives.  The maritime companies listed offered passenger service to immigrants, tourists, socialites and others who crossed the vast oceans from the 1800s through the 1950s.

For Eastbound voyages, a large proportion of transatlantic travel had ports of call in England, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy. Westbound transatlantic voyages targeted the major eastern seaboard ports of the US and Canada.

Most of the major steamship lines offered express services, designed for travelers who needed to cross the Atlantic as quickly as possible in the greatest degree of comfort and luxury possible.

Before World War One, immigrant trade was the largest sector of passengers crossing the Atlantic. After the Great War, with the change in immigration laws, steamship lines transformed into cruise lines, replacing much of their immigrant traffic with tourist traffic.

Almost all steamships carried freight that helped defray costs when passenger loads were light.

The beginning of transatlantic steamship service can be traced to 23 April 1838 when two commercial steamships, the Sirius and the Great Western, arrived in New York from England. The Great Western continued with regular transatlantic service.

At that time, the arrival, stay, and departure of the ships, with the respective festivities and observations, were entirely recorded in the press of the day. A hundred years later, departures and arrivals had become so commonplace that they received little notice unless there were VIPs on board.

Select from the Steamship Lines listed below to view our collection of historical Ocean Liner materials for that Steamship Line.

Steamship Lines Collage 2 - Transatlantic Ocean Liners and Other Worldwide Services

Largest Collections at the GG Archives Include:

Smaller Collections at the GG Archives Include:

Smaller Collections of Steamship Line Materials  Collage

Return to Top of Page

Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives

Press Releases

  • Visit our Facebook Page for the Latest News About the Activities of the Archives.