History and Ephemera - Steamship Lines
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.
Largest Collections at the GG Archives Include:
- American Line - American Steamship Company (International Navigation Co.)
- Canadian Pacific (CPOS)
- CGT French Line - Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
- Cunard Line - Cunard Steam Ship Company, Ltd.
- Cunard White Star Line
- Hamburg-American Line (HAPAG) Hamburg-Amerika Linie
- Holland America Line (N.A.S.M. / HAL) Holland Amerika Lijn
- North German Lloyd - Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen - The North German Line
- Red Star Line / Red Star Linie
- United States Lines
- White Star Line
Smaller Collections at the GG Archives Include:
- Aberdeen Line (Aberdeen & Commonwealth Lines)
- Allan Line (Montreal Ocean Steamship Company)
- American Export Lines
- American Mail Line
- American Merchant Lines
- Anchor Line (Henderson Brothers)
- Anchor-Donaldson Line (Robert Reford Co., Ltd)
- Atlantic Transport Line
- Baltic-American Line
- Baltimore Mail Line
- Black Ball Line
- Blue Funnel Line
- Cosulich Line - Trieste
- CPR Canadian Pacific Railway Atlantic Steamship Lines
- Cunard-Anchor Line - See Anchor Line
- Dollar Steamship Line
- Dominion Line
- Donaldson Atlantic Line
- Eastern Steamship Lines
- Fabre Line
- Furness - Bermuda Line (Furness, Withy & Company, Ltd.)
- Grace Line
- Inman Line
- International Mercantile Marine Company (IMM)
- Italia - Lloyd Sabaudo - Navigazione Generale
- Italian Line - Italia Societa Anonima di Navigazione, Sede in Genova
- KNSM / Royal Netherlands Steamship Co. - Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij, Amsterdam
- Lamport & Holt Line
- Leyland Line
- Lloyd Sabaudo
- Messageries Maritimes
- N.G.I. Italian Line / Società di navigazione Italia / Navigazione Generale Italiana
- Norwegian America Line (NAL) Den Norske Amerikalinie
- Panama Pacific Line
- R.M.S.P. - The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company - La Compagnie Royal Mail Steam Packet
- Royal Mail Lines, Ltd.
- Scandinavian American Line - Skandinavien Amerika Linen
- Swedish American Line (SAL) Svenska Amerika Linien
- Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co., Limited.
- Union Steamship Company
- United American Lines (Harriman Line)
- United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation (USSBEFC)
- U.S. Mail Steamship Company
- White Star - Dominion Line
- Wilson Line of Hull
- Yeoward Line