George Steers papers  1851-1856
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Of the 96 letters in the collection, the bulk of the letters to George Steers came from within the United States, but he received letters from all over the globe (e.g. London, Cienfuegos, Hong Kong, and Constantinople). Many of the writers request quotes for building steamers, yachts, or ship models for display. A few inquire about jobs in his shipyard, and one letter writer asks George to provide a letter of reference for a presidential appointment under the Steamboat Act of August 1852 (October 1, 1852 letter).

J. J. Burrowes wrote an interesting letter from Kingston, Canada, dated August 16, 1853. Apparently Mr. Burrowes wanted to engage the yacht Prima Dona in a race for a purse of $1,100. Mr. Burrowes wanted George to inspect his vessel and to suggest ways to increase its speed in order to win the race. A clipping advertising the race is attached to this letter.

Of historical note is a letter dated January 7, 1854, from Captain James C. Luce, commander of the steamship Arctic . Captain Luce was writing George to encourage him to try to get a contract from the United States Navy to build one or more steamers for the government. In September of that same year, the Arctic collided bow to bow with the French ironclad Vesta off the coast of Newfoundland. All but 87 of the Arctic 's 408 passengers perished, including every woman and child on board.

Requests for George’s expertise and opinion varied. One person asked him to submit an article about the speed of vessels in the publication American Institute. The sophomore class of 1855 at Cambridge wanted him to build a "boat for their club." Yet another sought George’s opinion regarding an application for a patent for an improvement to the paddle wheel.

The collection contains no personal letters concerning home and family and unfortunately does not contain any letters written by George Steers.

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