Journals of the Ship Apollo, 1789-1791


Date: 1789-1791 | Size: 2 volume(s)


These logbooks record two voyages (to Corunna, Spain, 1789-1790, and to Oporto, Portugal, 1791, and returns to Philadelphia), with observations of differences in temperature between air and water, especially when passing the Gulf Stream or any land or banks.

Background note

William Billings was a ship captain.

Collection Information

Physical description

2 volumes, 82 p.


Presented by William Billings through Dr. Foulke, 1791. Accession #2686, 2687.

Early American History Note

These journals (three volumes) chronicle the voyages of Apollo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1789-1791. William Billings was the captain of this Philadelphia-based ship. The destinations were Oporto and Corunna, and trade was the purpose for the voyages. Nonetheless, the ship's captain, William Billings, used the opportunity to study the Gulf Stream. He made numerous observations about the ocean temperature and weather with the apparent intention of submitting his findings to the American Philosophical Society. He paid particular attention to marking and studying the Gulf Stream. The journals were partially published in with a note in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society shortly after they were received in 1793. The originals are much longer than those published and include additional observations not published and graphs that could not be replicated.

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • Apollo (Ship)


  • Charts.
  • Logbooks.
  • Meteorological Data
  • Scientific Data


  • Business and Skilled Trades
  • International Travel
  • Meteorology -- Observations.
  • Trade
  • Voyages and travels.