Ship's Log, Gold Manifest, White Star Line Records
Ship's Log, Gold Manifest, White Star Line Records

Source Documents - Ship's Log, Gold Manifest, White Star Line Records

A ship's log provides details concerning primarily the ship's navigation, maintenance and operation, and noteworthy events; details of cargos of interest may sometimes be included. As for the Republic's log:

The [Republic's] captain took no time to collect any of his papers or instruments, and the ship's log and chronometer went down with her.

New York Evening Sun, January 26, 1909, 2:2

Certain White Star Line records were, however, saved:

[An unidentified Republic crewmember said,] "All of our 'character books' were lost. They could have been saved, for they were right alongside of the account books, which were rescued, in the purser's office. It'll take six months and a lot of money to get duplicates, and during that time we won't be able to get work, for on the other side if you can't present a 'character book' showing that you're an able seamen they won't give you a job. …"

New York World, January 28, 1909, 3:3.

The primary document which would establish the presence of a gold cargo and its location on the vessel would be the gold cargo manifest (see "Security Measures,"). Manifests were maintained by the customs authorities and shipping lines. 1909 U. S. Customs records for the port of New York were subsequently released to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Responses from the National Archives to several of my inquiries confirm the following:

Fires, wars, and weather have destroyed many records, and others have been deliberately disposed of, including cargo manifests for New York, 1865 - 1917. ...

Guide to the National Archives..., 1974, page 170

White Star Line amalgamated with Cunard Lines in 1934. Combined existing records for both lines are currently maintained by the University of Liverpool. Responses from the University and the Titanic Historical Society to my inquiries regarding available White Star Line records pertaining to the REPUBLIC follow:

I regret that as the Republic was a White Star vessel we cannot help you.... M.C.

The University Archivist, Nov. 25, 1982

[second request] Apart from a very small number of stray items, no records of the White Star Company are known to survive.

Yours sincerely,
[signed] Michael Cook

University of Liverpool, 27 January 1984

Regarding the REPUBLIC, of course, the primary cause of loss of records was the destruction of the White Star Line's archives when the English city of Birmingham was bombed during World War II. It is indeed sobering to think that the entire White Star collection at the Cunard Archives in Liverpool can be fit into three or four shoebox-sized file cases! Additionally, of course, there are the difficulties in dealing with a now-defunct company, the losses at Harland and Wolff shipyards [for detailed construction plans] due to the war and to several subsequent fires, and the White Star Line's successor (and former competitor) the Cunard Line, whose agents literally threw boxes filled with the very records we seek into the trash at the time of the merger in 1934.

I regret to say that the Titanic Historical Society's collection, as extensive as it is, does not contain any relevant material such as deck plans or cargo manifests for the REPUBLIC. I have seen almost nothing by way of paper material for this ship, and what has been seen is primarily postcards, menus and other ephemera. ...

Charles Haas, President, Titanic Historical Society,
March 3, 1984