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Transatlantic Souvenirs
 

The Smithsonian’s maritime collections contain many objects relating to the steamship Leviathan, the largest American passenger ship of the 1920s and 1930s. While by far the showiest of these objects is the nine-foot model displayed for many years at the United States Lines headquarters in New York City, most are small mementos originally preserved by passengers and crew to remember their experiences aboard.

Most of the Smithsonian’s Leviathan collection was donated to the Institution by historian and collector Frank Braynard. A lifelong ocean-liner enthusiast, Braynard has devoted decades to researching the ship. Along the way, he has met dozens of people with Leviathan connections, many of whom have shared both their stories and their keepsakes with him. His labors led him to amass the largest collection of Leviathan memorabilia in existence and to create his astonishing and expansive six-volume history of the ship, published between 1972 and 1983.
Cover of menu from S.S. Leviathan
Cover of menu from S.S. Leviathan
Dinner menu, 1923
Dinner menu, 1923
Music program, 1928
Music program, 1928

Menus, programs, and other paper ephemera have been the most commonly kept ocean-voyage souvenirs for over a century. Examples like these were often stock items, with the covers printed in bulk on shore and the interior contents added on the day of use by the ship's print shop.

Menu interior, 1929
Menu interior, 1929
Menu interior, 1923
Menu interior, 1923
Program interior, 1928
Program interior, 1928
 
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