Great Lakes Marine Collection-MPL/WMHS

Great Lakes Maritime Photo Collection

More than 50,000 photographs on Great Lakes maritime history are available owing to the unique partnership between the Milwaukee Public Library and the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society. About 1,000 of these photographs are online.

All photos are copyrighted by the Milwaukee Public Library, the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society or individuals or other agencies. If you wish to have copies for personal or commercial use, please contact the Society for permission and copying costs.

This archive includes images of schooners of yesteryear and cargo behemoths of today; wrecks and diving explorations; lighthouses and lightships; harbors and docks; old paddle-wheel passenger ships and today's modern, convenience-featured steel vessels; commercial lake fishing boats; tug boats that keep vessel traffic moving through harbors and firefighting boats that protect shoreline facilities; government vessels, like those of the US. Coast Guard and old government revenue boats that patrolled for illegal activities; and those strange but important vessels, sand suckers, that dredge harbors.

Many of these photos have been collected by members of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society who have had a lifelong passion for maritime history.

A sampling of these photographs, by category, is shown here. Each icon photo links to a series of photos in that category. For access to many other photos, go to the WMHS Resources Section or contact the society for more information.

Sample Categories of Maritime Photos




Lightships & Lighthouses