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Joseph M. Jenkins travel journal

Ms. Coll. 814

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Jenkins, Joseph M., 1783-
Joseph M. Jenkins travel journal
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 814
0.2 linear foot (2 volumes)
Joseph M. Jenkins was born on September 20, 1783, in Providence, R.I. He left Providence to serve as assistant supercargo aboard the merchant ship Samuel Elam. Jenkins's journal, comprised of two volumes, describes his eleven month journey in 1805 to 1806 from New York to Mauritius to Jakarta.
Cite as:
Joseph M. Jenkins travel journal, 1805-1806, Ms. Coll. 814, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Joseph M. Jenkins was born on September 20, 1783 in Providence, Rhode Island. He left Providence to serve as assistant supercargo aboard the merchant ship Samuel Elam, owned by New York-based merchant and shipping firm Minturn and Champlin, in 1805.

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises of two volumes, the journal spans eleven months from February 2, 1805 to January 15, 1806, detailing Jenkins’ sea voyage as assistant supercargo on the merchant sailing vessel the Samuel Elam. The ship, captained by Mr. Champlin, sailed from New York around the Cape of Good Hope through the Indian Ocean, anchoring at the Isle of France (Mauritius) and later Batavia (Jakarta), Java. Jenkins served under Master and First Supercargo Uriah O. Champlin, cousin of the captain. In this journal, Jenkins records the number of crew members and passengers aboard the ship including John J. DePestyer, a passenger and brother-in-law of Uriah O. Champlin. Entries often commence with the weather, sea condition, longitude and latitude, and lunar measurement. Jenkins describes the conditions on board the ship, including cargo and livestock, amusements, books he is reading, and games played. The ship's first port after 130 days at sea was Mauritius, where the  Samuel Elam was anchored from June until August. Jenkins describes the plantations, slaves, spice trees, and landscape of the island. The  Samuel Elam leaves Mauritius and sails to Jakarta, where they stay for 45 days. Jenkins records meetings with different ships, captains and crew, items purchased, trading, Java and its inhabitants. Throughout the journals Jenkins records the condition of passenger John J. DePestyer, whose mental state deteriorated throughout the voyage. Finally, Jenkins relates his care of the captain and crew when they contract an illness at Java, and later Jenkins describes his own ailing from dysentery. The diary ends abruptly with the  Samuel Elam's second departure from Java. The journal includes Jenkins's experiences with trading and purchasing with natives and plantations, lists persons and animals aboard the ship, and a chart of the voyage on the end papers of the volume 2. Also included are Jenkins's drawings of islands from the ship, and descriptions of birds and marine animals.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2016 November 10

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Kelin Baldridge (cataloged by Donna Brandolisio)

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Michael Brown Rare Books (Philadelphia, Pa.), 2011.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Diaries
  • Drawings (visual works)
Geographic Name(s)
  • Indian Ocean--Description and travel--19th century
  • Jakarta (Indonesia)--Description and travel--19th century
  • Mauritius--Description and travel--19th century
  • American diaries--19th century--Specimens
  • Sailors--United States--Diaries--19th century
  • Supercargos
  • Voyages and travels

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Collection Inventory


Journal of a passage from New York to the Isle of France, 1805 February 2-June 26.


Journal of a voyage to India, 1805 June 27-1806 January 15.