Abstract Log

American Maritime Documents 1776-1860

Stein, Douglas L. 1992

Occasionally a shipmaster might extract specific kinds of information from his vessel’s logbook and record them in a separate volume, sometimes called an Abstract Log. Possibly the kind most often found in maritime collections is the Abstract Log of navigational data recommended by the Maritime Conference at Brussels is 1853 and formulated in part by Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury, USN. (illustrated). These logs were maintained by the master or mate during the voyage, and then returned to the National Observatory in Washington, D.C., in exchange for the use of Maury’s Wind and Current Charts.

Receipt of Maury's Sailing Directions

Receipt for Maury’s Sailing Directions, and Wind & Current Charts: This form, signed by the shipmaster, acknowledged his receipt of Maury’s Abstract Log and the related guide book, entitled Sailing Directions, plus 6 charts. All this was free of charge, provided the master kept the Abstract Log “in the manner and form prescribed,” and returned it to the National Observatory so that the data could be used in future chart editions.