Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Transatlantic Cable Collection, 1858-1959 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Kathleen Smith

Collection Overview

Title: Transatlantic Cable Collection, 1858-1959

ID: 00/MG 84

Extent: 1.0 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The items in the Transatlantic Cable Collection are arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 02/18/2005

Subjects: Discoverer (Ship), Marmer (Ship), Transatlantic cables

Languages: English

Abstract

Small collection of items related to the Atlantic Ocean: A framed segment of cable used in the first transatlantic telegraph connection, 1858; a document certifying the cable’s authenticity; a photograph of the USCG ship Marmer, 1959 and an undated photograph of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ship Discoverer.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Transatlantic Cable Collection consists of four items: a framed segment of cable used in the first transatlantic telegraph connection, 1858; a document certifying the cable’s authenticity; a photograph of the USCG ship Marmer, 1959 and an undated photograph of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ship Discoverer.

Collection Historical Note

Transatlantic Telegraph Connection

Since the development of the first telegraph line in the United States in 1844 by Samuel F.B. Morse, telegraphic communication was gaining a stronghold around the world. In 1854 the idea to lay insulated telegraph cable across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean was concieved by American businessman and entrepreneur Cyrus West Field. After four unsuccessful attempts, the first transatlantic cable was laid on August 5, 1858 with American and British financing. The cable itself stretched "nearly 2,000 miles across the Atlantic at a depth often more than two miles."  Eleven days later, U.S. President James Buchanan and England's Queen Victoria exchanged messages. Sadly the cable broke down three weeks later due to structrual weakness and poor current. The cable was not replaced till 1866.

USCG Ship: The Marmer

The Marmer was a coast and geodetic survey ship that studied ocean currents. The ship was originally named the Walter Wyman, but in 1957 it was renamed the Marmer in honor of Harry S. Marmer, who was Assistant Chief of the Division of Tides and Currents of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Marmer was in service from 1957-1968, until it was replaced by the NOAA ship Ferrel.

NOAA Ship: The Discoverer

The Discoverer was an ocean research vessel built by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which commissioned in October 1964 and delivered to the United States Government in December 1966. Over the years, Discoverer's missions included oceangraphic, meterological, and seismic research, as well as marine mammal observations. The Discoverer also proved cadet training for the California Maritime Academy and United States Naval Academy. The Discoverer was decommissioned on August 16, 1996 and is in reserve in the NOAA Pacific Fleet at Seattle.

Sources:

"Coast and Geodetic Survey Ships: Marmer."  http://www.history.noaa.gov/ships/marmer.html

"Cyrus West Field." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_West_Field

"First transatlantic cable completed." This Day in History, August 5. History.com. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-transatlantic-telegraph-cable-completed

"NOAA Ship Discoverer: A Brief History." http://www.moc.noaa.gov/di/bkgrnd.htm

"NOAAS Discoverer (R 102)." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NOAAS_Discoverer_%28R_102%29

"Transatlantic telegraph cable." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_telegraph_cable

Subject/Index Terms

Discoverer (Ship)
Marmer (Ship)
Transatlantic cables

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 clamshell box

Access Restrictions: Collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Provenance unknown

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A2005-02

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Transatlantic Cable Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[All]

Box 1
Item 1: Framed segment of cable used in the first transatlantic telegraph connection, 1858
Item 2: Document certifying the authenticity of the segment of the first transatlantic cable, undated
Item 3: Photograph: USCG ship Marmer, 1959
Item 4: Photograph: NOAA Ship Discoverer, undated

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