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Delmar R. Webster Collection - GLMS 30

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Delmar R. Webster collection is available for research at Bowling Green State University's Historical Collections of the Great Lakes. Literary and property rights were dedicated to the public. Photocopying is permitted for the purposes of conservation and research.

Biographical Sketch

Captain Delmar R. Webster, Sr. was born in 1935 at Oak Hills, West Virginia. The Websters moved to Toledo, Ohio during his childhood. At the age of 18, Webster began service as a deckhand on a Great Lakes freighter. Webster joined the Columbia Transportation Company fleet in 1953 and sailed for this company until his 1989 retirement.

Captain Webster progressed through the ranks of command in the Columbia fleet from deckhand to vessel master. His original license was received by Webster in 1962. His master's license followed in 1972. In 1974 Webster commanded his first vessel. Captain Webster was master of the COURTNEY BURTON at the time of his retirement. A subsequent assignment on the oil tanker RANGER during Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf completed Captain Webster's sailing career.

During his lengthy service, Captain Webster held memberships in the International Shipmasters' Association, the Marine Propeller Club, and the Upper Lakes Pilots Association. In 1985, Webster was elected to the Grand Presidency of the International Shipmasters' Association. Captain Webster was a member of the Toledo Lodge #9 for ISMA.

Captain Webster and his wife of twenty-five years, Cathy, had three children, Delmar, Jr., Michelle, and Patrice. Captain Webster died on May 20, 1993 in Oregon, Ohio.

Scope and Content

This two cubic foot collection contains material compiled by Captain Delmar R. Webster during his career on the Great Lakes. The largest series in the collection contains deck logs from the J. BURTON AYERS for 1945-1973 (1.25 cubic feet). Records of the trips the AYERS made note ports of arrival and departure along with cargo and weather data. A log for loading information from the EDMUND FITZGERALD is also included for 1972-1973.

Meeting information for the 1982 and 1983 conventions of Columbia Transportation Company fleet officers (two file folders) documents activities of a professional organization to which Captain Webster belonged.

A subject file on the vessels ARMCO and J. BURTON AYERS for 1976-1987 (two file folders) provides scattered certificates and licenses acquired by Captain Webster. A loading manual for the ARMCO presents the guidelines used by Captain Webster when monitoring how cargo was stored in the holds of a Great Lakes vessel.

Series Description


Deck Log for J. BURTON AYERS
Arranged chronologically
Contains log books maintained aboard the J. BURTON AYERS (U.S. 243772) for a scattered time span of 28 shipping seasons. Logs are missing for the years 1950-1955, 1957 and 1970-1972. Information within the logs includes records of each voyage the vessel made during the shipping season. Daily entries record the ports of departure and destination, dock names where loading occurred, weather data, compass headings used, cargoes and miscellaneous notes.

Arranged chronologically
Contains a log book maintained aboard the EDMUND FITZGERALD (U.S. 277437) in 1972-1973. Loading data for trips in April, May and June is noted. The trip number, loading port, date, tonnage, draft of vessel and fuel added figures appear for each trip.


Annual Meeting for Columbia Transportation Division Oglebay Norton Co. Masters, Chiefs, and Stewards
Arranged chronologically
Contains meeting material packages for the annual meetings attended by officers in the Columbia Transportation Company fleet. Meeting agenda and information pertaining to discussions are included.


Subject File for Vessels
Arranged chronologically
Contains subject files on the ARMCO (U. S. 265621) for 1982-1987 and the J. BURTON AYERS (U. S. 243772) for 1976-1981. A loading manual and several Ship Radio Station Licenses are present for the ARMCO. Temporary certificates of inspection, memoranda and a clearance of vessel to a foreign port form are included for the J. BURTON AYERS.


Box 1: Reports. Deck Log for J. BURTON AYERS


  1. 1945-1946
  2. 1947-1948
  3. 1949
  4. 1956
  5. 1958-1959
  6. 1960
  7. 1961
  8. 1962
  9. 1963-1964
  10. 1965-1966

Box 2


  1. Deck Log for J. BURTON AYERS, 1966-1967
  2. Deck Log for J. BURTON AYERS, 1968-1969
  3. Deck Log for J. BURTON AYERS, 1973
  4. Log for EDMUND FITZGERALD, 1972-1973
  5. Annual meeting for Columbia Transportation Division of the Oglebay Norton Co. Masters, Chiefs and Stewards, 1982
  6. Annual meeting for Columbia Transportation Division of the Oglebay Norton Co. Masters, Chiefs and Stewards, 1983
  7. ARMCO Subject file, 1982-1987
  8. J. BURTON AYERS, Subject file, 1976-1981

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