Searching for ships by name is usually straightforward but a few tips could help you locate images more easily. We are more likely to have photos of larger or more prominent ships. Ships can be found in several of our news photo collections, so ships that were newsworthy have a better chance of being found. You'll have more luck finding battleships and ocean liners rather than smaller ships that operated in a limited area.
In the Prints & Photographs Reading Room several card catalogs can aid in finding images of ships. The Divisional Catalog can be used to find groups of ship images. These groups will overlap with the LOTs found in the online catalog. The Ship Index lists the names of many ships, mostly from the second half of the 1800's. The Specific Subject Index lists ships from the New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection (these materials are stored off site, so folder titles need to be requested in advance) as well as others found throughout the collections. Reference staff will be happy to explain the process for requesting and viewing materials from different collections.