Born on March 2, 1894 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Henry Conrad Brote began his seafaring career in July 1914 by enlisting in the United States Navy where he served as a seaman on various ships including the battleship Wyoming, until late 1918. Following his discharge from the navy he worked as a merchant marine deck officer, first on vessels of the U.S. Shipping Board and later the French American Line until June of 1921. A year later, in June 1922, he entered the employ of the Mississippi Shipping Company; he would remain an employee of that firm, first as a deck officer and later as a master, for the remainder of his seafaring career.
Although Brote's almost half century career at sea took him to many parts of the globe, the bulk of the records forming this collection pertain to voyages between New Orleans and ports in the West Indies and on the east coast of South America. Brote died on December 15 or 16, 1984 in St. Tammany Parish (death notices in the New Orleans Times-Picayune gives conflicting dates).