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Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey Christmas at Sea (Women's Council) Records

Identifier: SCI-2016-008

Scope and Content

Includes materials related to SCI’s Christmas at Sea knitting program and its predecessors, the Women’s Council and the Seamen’s Benefit Society. Of particular note in this series are knitting patterns issued by the Red Cross during both World Wars with instructions for knitting items specifically for soldiers and seamen at war. Also of note are letters seafarers sent back to the Institute expressing their gratitude for receiving packages while at sea. Additionally, the early reports of the Seamen’s Benefit Society provide the earliest evidence of the origins of SCI’s knitting program.


  • 1903-2008


Historical Note

SCI’s knitting program began in 1898 when the Institute initiated an effort to send comfort bags to seafarers on ships fighting in the Spanish-American War. Augusta M. de Peyster founded the Seamen’s Benefit Society around 1900 as a women’s auxiliary of SCI, often collaborating with other associations in the Port of New York to form a consortium of women’s charitable groups [see Hudson River Association and the Central Council of Associations]. SCI’s Women’s Council evolved out of the Seamen’s Benefit Society, providing knit good and ditty bags to seafarers during both World Wars and sending Christmas packages to seafarers on merchant vessels during times of peace. The Women’s Council apparently changed its name to Christmas at Sea in 1979.


2.5 Linear Feet (1 oversized item)

Language of Materials



Arranged in alphabetical order according to creator and subject file within three sub‐series: Bound Volumes, Oversized Items and Subject Files.

Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey Christmas at Sea (Women's Council) Records
Processed by Johnathan Thayer, 2011. Revised and machine readable finding aid created by Dan Brenner, Spring, 2016
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Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us