On March 20, the Monroe County Library System accepted the donation of the 200-year-old original logbook of LCDR Matthew C. Perry’s voyage on the U.S. Schooner Shark, in which he documents the claiming of the Florida Keys for the United States.

“This is the most complete account of the founding of Key West through the firsthand descriptions of the captain,” said Corey Malcom of the Key West Maritime Historical Society.

“This is the one and only surviving relic of Key West’s start. The genesis of Key West is in this logbook.”

While the logbook will not be available to check out from the library, a digitized version will be made available to the public at

Researchers at the Florida Keys’ only locally owned and operated news bureau, Keys Weekly, recently studied the book and identified….

Top 10 revelations from Matthew C. Perry’s logbook…

10. The Native Americans warmly welcomed Capt. Perry and his crew to the island, unaware of new settlers’ plan to “reimagine the island” with smallpox and T-shirt shops. 

9. Perry’s recipe for sea turtle soup is the same one used by Commissioner Billy Wardlow’s mom today!

8. The logbook includes a coupon for Fausto’s Food Palace. 

7. While coming ashore for the first time, Perry’s landing party was accosted by “smugglers, drifters and wealthy salvagers” protesting the arrival of a “very dirty ship that was too big for the island.”

6. The logbook contains an introduction by celebrated Key West author David Sloan. 

5. Chapter 5 “The Summer of ’22” details a steamy romance between Perry and Virginia Panico. 

4. The last page of the book features a photo of the author standing next to the Southernmost Point in board shorts and a Sloppy Joe’s T-shirt. 

3. In typical Key West fashion, there is no mention of Marathon — anywhere. 

2. The book is written entirely in cursive, which means no one born after 1991 will be able to read it. 

1. Upon closer inspection, the rights of the book are actually owned by Ed Swift.

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