Our History

founders

The five founding members were: PSMHS cofounders in 1948. From Left: Jim Gibbs, Tom Sandry, Joe Williamson, Bob Leithead and Austen Hemion. PSMSH Photo, Negative No. 8216

The Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society (PSMHS) first raised sail in 1948 as a non-profit organization and dropped anchor in 1953 with the Seattle Historical Society (now the Museum of History and Industry – or MOHAI).  The five founding fathers of PSMHS were Jim Gibbs, Tom Sandry, Joe Williamson, Bob Leithead and Austen Hemion.  For several decades, PSMHS shared exhibit and storage space with MOHAI in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.  In 2011, MOHAI and PSMHS committed to continuing their partnership in a new location – the Naval Reserve Armory building at South Lake Union Park.  Now, with expanded storage and our McCurdy Family Maritime Gallery exhibit space, PSMHS was able to improve accessibility to our collections.

In 2014 PSMHS acquired the Youth Maritime Training Association (YMTA) with the goal of expanding our student outreach and engagement, and preserving the maritime heritage of the Pacific Northwest.  With the expansion of our mission and vision, we adopted the name Puget Sound Maritime (PSM), highlighting our focus on Heritage, Education, Research and Outreach (HERO).

The five founding members were: PSMHS cofounders in 1948. From Left: Jim Gibbs, Tom Sandry, Joe Williamson, Bob Leithead and Austen Hemion. PSMSH Photo, Negative No. 8216

 

 

Past Presidents

The Sea Chest lists 39 to date.

1948-50 Joe D. Williamson
1951 James A. Gibbs, Jr.
1952 Austin D. Hemion
1953-54 Robert C. Bebee
1955-56 Ralph J. Staelhi, Jr.
1957 Ralph Hitchcock
1958 Colin McLennan
1959-60 James D. Vallentyne
1961-62 Jack J. Dillon
1963 Capt. Virgil J. Roberts
1964 Gordon A. Ross
1965-66 Gordon N. Brennen
1967-68 Wilbur B. Thompson
1969 RAdm. Ken A Ayers
1970 Norman C. Blanchard
1971 Capt J. Edward Shields
1972 Scott Seifert
1973 Carl J. Nordstrom
1974-75 Clyde F. Holcomb, Jr.
1976 Carl F.W. Weber
1977-78 Hal Will
1979-81 James A. Cole
1982 Earl Phillips
1983-84 Loretta Vallentyne
1985 Ron Williamson
1986-87 Capt. Perry Williams
1988 Thomas E. Sandry
1989-90 Robert P. McNeil
1991-92 Carl F. W. Weber
1993-94 David Rice
1995 Elwood C. Avery
1996 Paul Grigsby
1997-98 Don Simpson
1999-00 Gil Joynt
2001 Bill Lerch
2002-03 David Walker
2004 Elwood C. Avery
2005 Eric W. Lindgren
2006-07 George F. Osborn
2008-09 Chuck Fowler
2010-12 Roger Ottenbach
2012-14 John Hough
2015-Current Frank Immel