The Seamen’s Friend: a Sketch of the American Seamen’s Friend Society by its Secretary.

p. 9: NY Bethel Union formed June 4, 1821, modeled on the Bethel Union of London. Mariners’ Magazine in April 1825 advocated for a similar society in NY. By then, the Magazine said, there were seventy Bethel Unions, 33 Marine Bible societies, and 15 seamen’s churches and floating Bethels.

p. 10: Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society organized in 1820.

Ch. III: Publications. In addition to its periodicals the Society published hymnals, manuals of divine service. First to publish “Jesus Savior pilot me.”

Ch. VII “Loan Libraries.” Began in England—see first issue of Sailors’ Magazine which reported on loan libraries sent on British ships by the Port of London and Bethel Union Society—continued in 20th century by British Sailors’ Society. In US started in 1820s, and then advanced by Dana’s Two Years before the Mast. Public “sympathies were awakened in the common sailor, which resulted in the placing of libraries on board vessels sailing from the ports of Boston…, New Haven…, New Orleans…, and New York City. Systematic approach started in March 1859, with careful accounting of every loan library sent out by the Society.”

p. 86: “All the work of the Society is distinctly religious, consequently the loan libraries were at first filled with religious books. For several years these libraries were called ‘Sea Missions.’ ”

p. 89—between 1861 and 1870, 600 conversions of seamen could be traced directly to the reading of these Sea Missions Libraries.

p. 93-97, testimonials to the loan libraries; the chief radio operator of S.S. Tivives served as librarian for the ship which had ASFS library No 13490: It affords me the greatest pleasure to be able to thank you for the loan libraries which we receive periodically in a very neat handsome box. I also wish to extend thanks to you and the donors of these splendid books, of every officer and member of the crew of the steamship Tivives, as these books are enjoyed and read by all.

Societies like yours are certainly a boon for the men who go down to the sea in ships, for words cannot adequately describe the great comfort, spiritual blessings and enlightenment derived from these excellent books.

p. 94-5, another radio operator aboard Algonquin with its Number 13,260, writes: As librarian to the crew I wish to thank you for the library placed on board this vessel last year. At sea a seaman’s pleasures are very limited and the library is always well patronized, the men aboard this vessel are no exception and they derive, have derived and, I hope, will derive much pleasure from the books in the libraries placed on board by The American Seamen’s Friend Society. It has been with great interest that I have watched the liking for books of various persons. Some, and to be exact, most all start reading detective stories and other light reading but gradually acquire a taste for the better class of literature. The selection in your library covers all requirements and to read through one of your libraries is to read selections from almost all subjects. I express the hope of everyone aboard that you will continue to be the Seamen’s Friend for many, many years to come.

Op. p. 94 is a photo of “The Sailors’ Three Feet of Literature”