Mary Robinson (clipper)

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Name: Mary Robinson
Owner: E.M. Robinson, New Bedford, MA
Builder: Trufant and Drummond, Bath, ME
Launched: 1854
Notes: Marryat ID number, 3rd, 2-7-9-3
General characteristics
Class and type: Medium clipper
Tons burthen: 1371 tons
Length: 215 ft.
Beam: 38 ft. 6 in.
Draft: 22 ft.
Notes: 2 decks. Named after the wife of the owner.[1]

Mary Robinson was an 1854 medium clipper in the San Francisco, India, and the guano trades. She was known for having spent an entire month attempting to round Cape Horn in bad weather.


Mary Robinson made six voyages from Boston and New York to San Francisco. Her fastest run was 115 days, in 1864. She was in the company of Carrier Dove off Cape Horn on this trip, and beat Carrier Dove to San Francisco by 18 days.

On her maiden run, Mary Robinson had been less fortunate. She spent 30 days rounding Cape Horn in "heavy gales and continual snow storms."[2]

During the commercial panic of 1857, Mary Robinson was one of the many American clippers that was put into the more profitable British trade between India and England. [3]

Mary Robinson made a very fast passage in 1858 of 58 days from San Francisco to Melbourne, continuing with 40 days from Melbourne to Honolulu.

Guano trade and loss of the ship

In 1858, Mary Robinson loaded guano at Jarvis Island for New York. Mary Robinson was lost June 27, 1864, on a voyage from San Francisco at Howland’s Island, in the Pacific, Lat 1 N Lon 176 W. She was loading guano when a squall drove her up on the reef. The next day she slid off and sunk in deep water, with 1300 tons of guano aboard. [1] [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Crothers, William L. (1997). The American-Built Clipper Ship, 1850-1856: Characteristics, Construction, Details. Camden, ME: International Marine. pp. xiii, xix, 425, etc.. ISBN 0070145016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Howe, Octavius T; Matthews, Frederick C. (1927). American Clipper Ships 1833-1858. Volume 2, Malay-Young Mechanic. Salem, MA: Marine Research Society. pp. 385-386. 
  3. Cutler, Carl C. (1960). Greyhounds of the Sea. Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute. pp. 333.