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Discover Captain George

ComeR and his bond with

the hudson bay


Historian David McCullough | America and the Sea Photo Contest | The Paintings of J.E. Buttersworth










Historian David McCullough speaks with Mystic Seaport magazine


The second annual America & the Sea Photo Contest




Rediscovering a discoverer: The fascinating research behind explorer Captain George Comer


Illuminating the Sea: The Marine Paintings of James E. Buttersworth



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My s t i c S e a p o rt magazine is a publication of Mystic Seaport


The Museum of America and the Sea

pring greetings to you! Coming off a successful 2007 season, with visitor attendance up by the biggest amount since 1994, I’m eager to tell you what’s new for Mystic Seaport in 2008, including the opening of two major exhibits. In the Mallory Building, we’ll present Illuminating the Sea: The Marine Paintings of James E. Buttersworth (1844-1894). Buttersworth is considered one of the foremost 19th-century American marine artists, and is particularly noted for his dramatic yachting scenes. The majority of the exhibited maritime masterworks were bequeathed to the Museum by the late Donald C. McGraw, Jr. whose legacy to Mystic Seaport continues as his son Josh joins the Museum’s International Council of Advisors and son Robin joins the Board of Trustees. And in the Schaefer Gallery, we will open Frozen In: Captain Comer and the Hudson Bay Inuit. This is a long-planned and carefully researched new exhibit, based on the life and work of Captain George Comer (1858-1938), a famous whaling captain out of nearby New London, CT. Comer, whose avocation was anthropology, amassed some of the world’s best knowledge and documentation about the Inuit peoples of the eastern Arctic. His amazing photographs, recordings and collected artifacts tell of long-ago lives in ways that take on added meaning and poignancy in this age of melting ice caps. This will be one of the Museum’s most dramatic exhibits yet, and members— we’ve got a special opening reception planned just for you on June 7. Look for more information in your next issue of the WindRose. The G. W. Blunt White Building (formerly the library) is now the proud new home of the National Rowing Foundation. The NRF is replete with a mini-exhibition on the history and culture of the oldest

continuing college sport in the country. If you’ve ever rowed competitively, you know the unique thrill of teamwork that is so complete as to obviate the very concept of Most Valuable Players. The NRF shares a home with the new National Rowing Hall of Fame at Mystic Seaport, and is a fitting neighbor to the Cruising Club of America’s Olin Stephens Reading Room in the adjoining wing of the G. W. Blunt White Building. The library collections have been relocated to specially built climate-controlled spaces in the new Collections Research Center. There they are more accessible to the general public as well as to scholars, researchers and enthusiasts who delight in the one-stop “shopping” now available in Mystic Seaport’s Collections Research Center. This is an exciting time of year for all of us at the Museum. With the arrival of spring, Mystic Seaport begins a new season of art and cultural exhibitions, continues its open-to-the-public vessel restoration work in the H. B. duPont Preservation Shipyard and presents a calendar of programs and events that will engage, educate and enlighten an ever growing audience of new and returning visitors. I hope you will visit again this year as we continue to tell stories of America and the sea: stories that are integral to our nation’s proud heritage of exploration and achievement. I look forward to seeing you!

President and Director Douglas H. Teeson Vice President of communic ations Bob Potter E d it o r Anna F. Sawin contributors MOLLY ENTIN phoebe hall barbara Jarnigan JEAN KERR LEIGH KNUTTEL RICHARD J. KING michael o’farrell ERIN RICHARD ELIZABETH YERKES Design Caspari McCormick Photography Judy Beisler Dennis Murphy nicki pardo Andy Price

cover Captain George Comer in the rigging of the schooner

A.T. Gifford, 1907. Corporate Sponsors: Bank of America Foundation Foxwoods Resort Casino Northeast Utilities Foundation Mohegan Sun Pfizer Rolex Watch USA

E vent Sponsors: Burger Boat Company Coca-Cola of Southeastern New England Condé Nast Marsh USA Robinson & Cole SmithBarney

president and director

Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. Steamboat Wharf Company Waterford Hotel Group\ The Westerly Hospital


3 41° NORTH


Photographer and Mystic Seaport gardener Stephen Sisk shot this image of Brilliant’s tender, Afterglow, one spring evening. “In this abstract, I cropped out everything that was not essential to the photograph, creating a bit of tension and visual interest. The old adage ‘less is more’ holds true in this case,” said Sisk.


Peering into the Past A conversation with historian

D av i d M c C u l l o u g h z





Pulitzer Prize–winning author David McCullough, the second recipient of the Museum’s America and the Sea Award, spent a few minutes with Mystic Seaport magazine talking about history, the Charles W. Morgan and “the foreseeable future.”

z MS magazine:

As one who studies and chronicles

history, what do you believe is the most important thing we can learn from our past? DM: We have to remember, when we consider the lives of those who came before us, they didn’t live in the past. They lived in their present, and they didn’t know any more than we do about how things will turn out. The hubris of the present is that there is no such thing as a simpler time. The phrase “the foreseeable future” should be struck from our vocabulary!

MS magazine: History museums everywhere are asking the question, how do we make history relevant and interesting to audiences of today? How would you answer this question? DM: Parents are often concerned that their children are growing up to be historically illiterate, and while much needs to be improved with how history is taught in schools and how we teach teachers, we need to remember the old adage, “Education begins at home.” As parents and grandparents, we need to make sure that our children know we are interested in history. Whether they are 9 or 29, they need to see us read history and learn about principal figures and events in history.

z In teaching, there is a saying, “Show them what you love!” Take them to see historic places! Take them to see remaining objects and landscapes and architecture. It is enormously beneficial to take our children and grand-

You can tell a lot about a society about how they spend their money. Supporting the work of Mystic Seaport in restoring the Charles W. Morgan is an opportunity to do something right—it’s as clear as it can be. It is a worthy,

children to historic sites and show them how much we are enjoying it. If a father takes his child to a baseball game and they have a great time, the child sees the parent enjoying the

important effort and you don’t often get a chance to be a part of something that important. The Morgan is emblematic of a vastly larger story and its

game. Now take them to a history museum!

restoration will enable Mystic Seaport to continue telling this story for years into the future.

* * * MS magazine:

* * *

What would you say to someone

contemplating a visit to Mystic Seaport?

MS magazine: When was your first visit to Mystic Seaport?

DM: It’s the mecca for anyone interested in the history of the sea! It’s that simple.

DM: I first came years and years ago when my children were small. We had a great time! We learned so much, and even got to bring home a piece of the Morgan—really. When we went aboard the Morgan, it was during an earlier restoration, and there were small chunks of original wood from the Morgan, about the size of a brick, stacked on the deck. We were given permission to take one home, and I still have it today.


* * * MS magazine: Mystic Seaport is about to begin a significant new phase in the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in the world. How would you frame the importance of such an endeavor?


DM: The Charles W. Morgan is a national treasure, no question about it. It is the only one of its kind, and if it were to pass from the scene, it would be a gross loss and tragedy. — A n n a S aw i n

Last fall


You can come there many times and find enjoyment because you’ll still learn something new each time. Mystic Seaport is the real thing. You have not cheapened your product to make it accessible and salable. What you do at Mystic Seaport is to try and determine the truth, and you have one hell of a story to tell.

at 30 Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room, noted author and historian David McCullough received the Museum’s America and the Sea Award for his remarkable talent in telling sea stories of our nation. The award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American spirit and character. “I was enormously pleased to receive the America and the Sea Award,” McCullough said of the honor.

FROM THE HIGH SEAS A table once owned by a Vanderbilt and used aboard one of the fastest sailboats of the early 20th century has taken up a more sedate post in the Museum’s G.W. Blunt White Building. The trestle table, about four feet wide and seven feet long and dating to the 1800s, consists of four thick planks and countless coats of lacquer that protected it from food, drink and salt water aboard the boat. But its humble appearance belies a fine pedigree. Gen. Cornelius Vanderbilt bought the table for the Atlantic, a three-masted schooner that won the Emperor’s Cup in 1905. The table’s legs come off, making it more convenient for life aboard a sailboat, where



every square inch counts; when not in use it could be stood on its side and tied to the walls. “That’s probably why {Vanderbilt} bought it,” said Paul O’Pecko, director of the library and vice president of collections and research. The boat, complete with table, was later purchased by Gerard B. Lambert, whose father invented Listerine; his daughter Rachel Lambert Mellon — widow of Paul Mellon, founder of the National Gallery of Art — donated the table to the Museum last year. It’s now in use in the library’s Cruising Club of America Olin J. Stephens Reading Room. “It held a special place in her heart,” O’Pecko said of Mrs. Mellon and the table. “She wanted it to go somewhere it would be safe.” He added that the Museum would like to someday curate an exhibit of all Atlantic-related materials.

AMBASSADOR VISITS MYSTIC SEAPORT Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and his wife, Cheryl Benard, took advantage of a quintessential New England autumnal experience last fall when they visited Mystic Seaport, briefly stepping away from reality and into the mystical world of Nautical Nightmares. The United States Ambassador to the United Nations since April of 2007, Khalilzad also has served as the U.S. ambassador to both Iraq and Afghanistan. An analyst for the RAND Corporation, Benard is director of the organization’s Initiative for Middle Eastern Youth, a research and UN Ambasador Zalmay Khalilzad and his wife, Cheryl Bernard, visit with the Nautical Nightmares team on their trip to Mystic Seaport last fall.

outreach effort seeking an improved understanding of the Middle East’s younger generation. The distinguished guests met with cast members before the production and were given a history of the event known for its ghost tales, legends and unsolved mysteries of yesteryear. “This was our first visit to Mystic Seaport,” said Benard. “We were welcomed by actors in costume, which made for a very dramatic beginning! “It was a great way to tour the facility while experiencing some living history and a bit of drama besides,” she continued. “Later we enjoyed the special exhibition in the Maritime Gallery and, of course, could not resist the charming gift shop. We hope to come again.”

This table, now on display at Mystic Seaport, once sailed aboard the schooner Atlantic.

The Carlton Marine Science Center at Mystic Seaport.


MAKE WAY FOR THE CHARLES W. MORGAN Haul-out day approaches as fast as one of the whales the Charles W. Morgan pursued centuries ago. The Morgan restoration project will culminate with removing the 167-year old whaling ship from the Mystic River, but work on the project began years ago. Shipyard workers plan a fall 2008 haul-out of the Morgan and have prepared for it by downrigging the vessel. “We usually uprig the boat in spring so she can fly sail, but we’ve been taking rig off, catalogueing it and surveying it,” said Quentin Snediker, director of the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard. For the past several years, Snediker has overseen the careful selection of wood for restoring the Morgan’s framing, deck and planking, including more than 200 tons of Live Oak timber felled by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “The beauty of a wooden ship is that its parts are organic….and it can be renewed indefinitely,” said Snediker. Museum and local government officials dedicated the $6 million Hays and Roz Clark Shiplift in mid-July 2007. State and private funding paid for the new shiplift, which has already hauled out some of the Museum’s big and not-so-big timber vessels such as the National Historic Landmark vessel Emma C. Berry and dragger Florence. Phase two of the project, a railway system to shift vessels from the shiplift to the main shipyard work area was completed in early 2008. By summer, Snediker hopes to have additional shipwrights and apprentices for the restoration work. They will work on the vessel for the next three years by hauling the Morgan out of the water with the Clark shiplift and while still in the lift, power washing her to begin the cleaning process. Workers will next strip off inch-thick pine sheeting from the bottom and then use the railway to sidetrack the Morgan to the south end of the main shipyard. Inner planking, frames, hardware and more will be restored during the next phase of the project. The Morgan will continue to be an exhibit throughout her renovation. “You’ll be able to go around the sides and into the ship as shipwrights work, and there will be interpreters at every level of the project,” said Snediker. Mobile scaffolding and a display shelter will allow visitors to watch the restoration process safely.


Last September, Williams-Mystic Director Jim Carlton officially opened the doors of the new Carlton Marine Science Center at a ceremony attended by more than 300 alumni, friends, Mystic Seaport trustees and staff members of the public. The Carlton Marine Science Center was the central focus of the recently concluded Campaign for Williams-Mystic which was held to strengthen Williams-Mystic, by providing operating endowment support, a new marine science center and renovations to student housing. During the dedication ceremony for the building, Mystic Seaport President Doug Teeson lauded Jim Carlton’s efforts both in his important international research on introduced species and his dedication as Williams-Mystic’s director for 18 years. Karen Merrill, dean of students at Williams, and a former director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams, also celebrated Carlton’s work and reiterated the college’s pride in its coastal campus.

Magnolia and Porch, Mystic Seaport

A GREEN THUMB AND A KEEN EYE Mystic Seaport garden guru Steve Sisk shares his passion for gardening and photography Few people, if any, know the 19-acre physical landscape of Mystic Seaport better than Steve Sisk. In fact, only a few people (four, to be exact) have worked at Mystic Seaport longer than Sisk, who, for 38 years, has been a gardener at the Museum.

Red Peonies

“I’ve had something to do with taking care of every living thing on the grounds,” Sisk says. “It certainly makes for a shorter day when you’re dealing with living materials. There’s always something to maintain, and always something that needs attention.” Supervisor of Grounds Leigh Knuttel, with whom Sisk works regularly, credits him with having good “plant sense.” “People have it (plant sense) or they don’t,” Knuttel said. “Steve is able to see certain things. A lot of good gardeners don’t have that little extra something. He does.” Sisk, who, in addition to Knuttel, works closely with a team of volunteers, enjoys the variety of gardening work afforded to him at the Museum, which is home to three historic gardens—the Burrows House garden, the Buckingham-Hall House garden and the Buckingham-Hall parlor garden.

Interpretation staff to conduct research on historic gardens. That approach, he says, represented a significant change in “garden philosophy” at Mystic Seaport more than a quarter century ago. “Nearly 30 years ago, the Museum wanted flashy gardens that weren’t necessarily historically accurate,” he said. That philosophy changed, in the late 1980s when the Museum rededicated its approach to historic gardens, he said. The Interpretation staff is still involved in the gardening process, but Sisk knows what grows best where and when things are ready. In fact, he communicates the information regularly to the staff—just not face-to-face. “I leave notes for the staff,” he said. “It might say, ‘Pick carrots today’ or ‘The lettuce will bolt if not picked soon.’ That sort of thing.” It’s not just Museum staff that Sisk interacts with during his day, however. He spends part of every day talking to visitors—almost always answering questions about his work in a particular garden.


“We try hard to stay relevant to the timeframe of the building,” said Sisk. “The Burrows House dates to 1876, and the Buckingham-Hall House to 1830. That nearly half-century difference is significant.” As an example, in 1830, people would collect seeds. In 1876, there were more opportunities to purchase seeds. In order to best do that work, Sisk works regularly with the Museum’s


Sweet Peas

He considers the book, published in 2006 by Flat Hammock Press, his greatest photographic achievement to date. In the book, Sisk shares 126 of his favorite photos of the local area, including some of Mystic Seaport. In fact, a stunning image of the Charles W. Morgan graces the cover of the book. While he’s working, Sisk says, he’s always searching for a new shot to take. “If you see me bending over a bush or looking at a building in a strange way, I’m probably setting up a shot in my head,” Sisk said. “I’ll even watch visitors to see what kind of shots they are taking, a great way to get a new perspective on something I’m so familiar with.” And if a Museum visitor is looking at a Museum garden and isn’t quite sure of its contents, it won’t be long before Sisk is there to help. “I’ve stopped what I’m doing on one end of the Museum to walk to another end of the property to help identify a plant for a visitor,” he said. “Not a day goes by without a visitor or someone on staff saying how nice the grounds look,” he says. “It’s very gratifying to know that people notice the hard work that goes into keeping the institution pristine.” Lilacs and Picket Fence, Mystic Seaport

-Michael O’Farrell



Flowering Dogwoods, Mystic Seaport

The questions and comments Sisk receives prove that gardens are in fact part of the visitor experience. “Interacting with the visitors is fun,” says Sisk. “They ask a lot of questions, and they clearly want to learn. They notice what we’re doing, and they want to know why.” “Steve is able to make each person feel like what they’ve asked is important,” Knuttel said. “He’s very willing to share his time and knowledge to help someone who wants to learn about a particular plant, or about what he’s doing.” The gardens Sisk tends to at Mystic Seaport aren’t the only way he draws people to his work. When not working at the Museum, he’s taking pictures as an accomplished—and published—photographer. Life behind the lens didn’t start easily for him, however. “I was in Europe more than 30 years ago with an Instamatic camera,” he said. “When the roll was developed, all I saw were thumbs— my own thumbs.” That didn’t deter him, though, from his quest to become a better photographer. Describing himself as self-taught, Sisk’s has had images published both in Museum publications, on the cover of a book about the local area and on the pages of his own photography book, Mystic Memories.



1. SHOOT EARLY AND SHOOT LATE I shoot most of my images in the

4. SEARCH FOR THE DRAMA I like to take a photograph before, during and after a storm. Dramatic

early morning or late in the day. In

lighting, such as the sun breaking through storm clouds, always enhances photographic opportunities for great landscape pictures, such as in “Lord’s Point Storm.” One of the benchmarks I use to decide if I should photograph a scene is to consider whether an artist would take the time to paint or draw the scene. If the answer is yes, and I do everything technically right, it should make a good photograph.

“Clam Shack in Early Morning” I was inspired by the soft, warm sunlight illuminating the shack on a misty summer morning. The lighting at dawn or sunset molds the landscape to delineate features that may not be present in the middle of the day. In “Lilacs and Picket Fence” a white picket fence frames the lilacs and the Museum’s

2. CREATE A PLEASING COMPOSITION In “Flowering Dogwoods” beautiful trees frame the clock tower of Greenman Meeting House perfectly. Anything that can frame your main subject matter, such as trees, branches, rocks and flowers, help to draw your attention to the subject. 3. LOOK FOR AN INTERESTING ANGLE In “Avery Point Sunset” I used a wide-angle lens just inches off the ground to capture the ingredients of this photo—the tidal pools and ledge in the foreground, the boulders and tree in the middle ground and the sunset sky in the background.

11 6. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT In “Magnolia and Porch” I used backlighting to illuminate the magnolia flowers. I had to “hide” the sun behind one of the tree branches, otherwise the scene would have been washed out. A wide angle lens about a foot off the ground and a few feet from the base of the tree helped to emphasize the magnolia flowers while at the same time captured most of the porch. I used the major branches of the tree to bring attention to the porch in the background. As always, light is a defining factor in photography. In “Red Peony,” for example, the light helped separate the peonies from the background. 7. PLAN AHEAD Much of my photography involves planning: I plan for the right time of day, the right weather and even the right time of year. I took the macro photograph of “Sweet Peas” on an overcast day, because the fine detail of the delicate blossoms would have been lost in harsh sunlight.

To v i e w m o r e of S t e p h e n S i s k ’ s i m a g e s , g o t o w w w . s t e p h e n s i s k p h o t o g r a p h y . c o m . Avery Point Sunset

Clam Shack in Early Morning, Mystic Seaport

Lord’s Point Storm


Buckingham-Hall House in the background. This photograph was taken about an hour before sunset. Photographing this time of day is perfect for subjects such as this. The harsh lighting of midday would have caused the fine detail of the lilacs and fence to be lost because of it being too bright, especially with the white building and fence. I also waited for the lilacs to be about three quarters open for best display.

5. FIND THE FOCUS In portrait and landscape photography, selective focus is a great technique. In “Red Peony” I focused on the peonies in the foreground, throwing the background out of focus. I still wanted the background to show some detail to give the photograph a sense of place, so depth of field was very important in this photograph.


AS A MATTER OF FACT… Mystic Seaport’s public relations team has been a regular guest on the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce’s weekly publicaccess television show, Mystic Matters. The communityfocused program discusses monthly happenings in the local Mystic area and has featured nearly every Mystic Seaport event. The Museum is thrilled to be a regular feature on the program, because in everything we do, Mystic matters.



Mystic Seaport is now a regular contributor to Classic Yacht magazine, an online publication that brings the world of yachts to your computer screen. Beginning in the September/October issue, the story of Mystic Seaport’s rich collections have been featured along with beautiful photography. Visitors can access Classic Yacht magazine through a free subscription by visiting The website features exciting technology that makes you feel as though you are actually turning the pages of a real magazine. The Museum’s Rosenfeld Collection and holiday gifts from the Museum Store were recently featured on their pages as well.

THE WRITE WORDS The weekend of October 27 was a busy one for Mystic Seaport. The annual Halloween event, Nautical Nightmares, was in full swing and a group of travel writers from around the country were here to visit. Past trips have brought Mystic Seaport stories to the pages of publications as far away as Tennessee, Arizona and Texas. We can’t wait to see what they write this time!

INKED Mystic Seaport was featured in the November issue of Ink Publications: A Guide to Finer Living in Connecticut and abroad. The eight-page spread covered everything from our fascinating planetarium, to the historic Charles W. Morgan, to our costume shop—a hidden gem of the Museum. Peppered with glossy images, the piece brings Mystic Seaport to life. It’s almost as good as a visit to the Museum. Almost. — Molly Entin

b o o k · n o o k

T h e R e p u b l i c o f P i r at e s : B e i n g t h e Tr u e and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and t h e M a n W h o B r o u g h t T h e m D o w n (Harcourt, 2007) by Colin Woodard, reviewed by Richard King


clearly seeking to dispel myths and portray the most accurate picture possible. He empathizes with the people involved, explains their conditions, but in no way justifies or romanticizes their crimes. Woodard doesn’t make up dialogue, his descriptions of weather and seamanship are accurate, and he introduces a few fresh angles, notably the importance of the Jacobite movement and the interconnectedness of the pirates themselves. Woodard, who is also the author of The Lobster Coast and Ocean’s End, is not the first to write a gripping and scholarly analysis of piracy. In 1995, David Cordingly’s Under the Black Flag set a new keystone. The Republic of Pirates follows this course, concentrating on a tighter period and four individuals, including that Blackbeard guy.

Richard King teaches literature for Williams-Mystic. He lectures occasionally on pirates and has sailed the Caribbean extensively.

Kelly: A Father, A Son, An American Quest by Daniel J. Boyne The inspiring story of Jack Kelly, the son of Irish immigrants, who became a three-time gold medal Olympian, a political maverick and the millionaire father of Princess Grace of Monaco. Mystic Seaport online price $32.36 Regular retail price $39.95 Shanghaied in San Francisco by Bill Pickelhaupt In this reprint of a classic, Bill Pickelhaupt tells the true story of shanghaiing—kidnapping men for a voyage at sea after they were slipped drugged liquor—and the politicians who let it happen in San Francisco for more than 60 years. Mystic Seaport online price $20.21 Regular retail price $24.95 To order these new books, now at 20% off, or to browse our hundreds of other maritime titles, go to


baubles and tells a careful and detailed story of a particularly influential decade, 1715–1725, known as the Golden Age of Piracy. Its epicenter was the Bahamas, but Woodard’s account stretches deftly from 18th-century London, as far west as the Peruvian mines and all the way up the east coast of North America to what is now the state of Maine. Woodard writes with the style of a journalist and the painstaking attention of a historian,


elf-respecting maritime museums and scholars are hesitant to examine piracy because it feels cheap. It’s too popular, like the Louvre mounting a Gary Larson exhibit. Maritime historians also shy away from the topic because the documentary record is so thin—it’s hard to do—and it’s been done so poorly and so often. I’m pistol-shy myself. I’m tired of seeing that etching of Anne Bonny and her breasts, embarrassed by the valorizing of what was, and still is, an ignoble and often violent crime that usually preys on innocent people. And if I see one more ye olde skull and crossbones flying aboard a yacht, I’m going to start clipping halyards. With The Republic of Pirates, Mr. Woodard’s publishers seem to want to roll out yet New from Mystic Seaport another book in the walk-ye-plank vein, hawking a predictable cover, a hyperbolic Readers—save 20% now through June 30 when you shop online for subtitle, and shamelessly releasing the book to coincide with the most recent Pirates of the these new Mystic Seaport books. Caribbean movie. But hold your cutlasses! Woodard emerges from under these chests of



F rom all across our nation, hundreds of Mystic Seaport magazine readers shared

their own views of America for our second annual America and the Sea photo contest. Harbors and inlets, inland lakes, streams and fishing holes, mighty rivers


& the

and meandering waterways, and even the






occasional puddle all joined the vast ocean coastlines in framing our maritime nation in these unique views submitted by our talented reader photographers. With so many inspiring entries, the panel of judges awarded an overall grand prize, as well as first-, second- and thirdplace prizes in two categories: Life and p GRAND PRIZE “Charles W. Morgan” Mystic, CT, Landscape. Both categories had honorable June 2006 Photographer: Stephen Wood, Wakefield, RI mention entries as well. Museum member Stephen Wood of Wakefield, new perspective from her landlocked locale—her RI, took the grand prize for his stunning infrared image of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport. Wood, an accomplished amateur photographer who has shot landscapes around the country, cited Mystic Seaport as “hands down, my favorite local spot to take photos.” Wood captured this image on a June day with his digital infrared camera, focusing on the drama of the rigging and the massive hull of the proud wooden whaling vessel, the last remaining wooden whaling ship in the world. In addition to the classic and lovely sweeping landscapes, sunset and sunrise views, ship details and energetic family portraits we received, we found a handful of photographers who gave us a decidedly different approach to their interpretations of America from coast to coast. First-time entrant Amy Gates of Longmont, CO, gave us a

entry “Puddles” won third place in the Life category, and showed us that our prize-winning America and the Sea photos don’t always feature coastlines and boats. And photographer C.S. Spencer of Mystic, CT, took a similar approach with a beautifully vivid second-place entry in Life, “A Warm Towel,” giving us a unique view of coastal life without a bit of water or coastline in the frame. Enjoy this photographic tour of America and the sea, as seen by the readers of Mystic Seaport magazine. And when you’re through? Take your camera out and capture your own visions of America and the sea—this year’s contest deadline is October 15, 2008, and we can’t wait to see what you see through your lens. For complete contest rules and guidelines, go to ~ ANNA SAWIN

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FIRST PRIZE “All Wet” Mexico Beach, FL, March 2007 Photographer: Mary Pawley, Panama City Beach, FL


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SECOND PRIZE “A Warm Towel” Watch Hill, RI, August 2007 Photographer: C.S. Spencer, Mystic, CT


THIRD PRIZE “Puddles” A puddle in Longmont, CO,


June 2006 Photographer: Amy Gates, Longmont, CO





HONORABLE MENTION “Driven” Mystic, CT, August 2007 Photographer: Kristofer Day, North Stonington, CT


HONORABLE MENTION “Sleeping Dominoes” Johnson’s Pond, Coventry, RI, August 2007 Photographer: Dorothy Minda, Coventry, RI



FIRST PRIZE “After the Storm” Woodmont, CT, October 2006 Photographer: Brian Franko, Milford, CT

Landscape H c H c H c H


SECOND PRIZE “Morris Cove, New Haven Harbor” New Haven, CT, October 2007 Photographer: Charles King, New Haven, CT







THIRD PRIZE “Glare” Charlestown, RI, October 2007 Photographer: Kristofer Day, North Stonington, CT



HONORABLE MENTION “Starfish Transformation” Georgetown, SC, December 2001 Photographer: Jason Pawley, Panama City Beach, FL


LANDSCAPE GRAND PRIZE “America and the Sea” Stonington, CT September 2007 Photographer: Francesca Fain, age 9, Mystic, CT


“Dawn at Ocean Grove” Ocean Grove, NJ, May 2002 Photographer: Emanuel Lekkas, Winston-Salem, NC


LIFE GRAND PRIZE “Today’s Collection” Watch Hill, RI, August 2007 Photographer: Leslie Spencer, age 8, Mystic, CT


H c H c H c H








Burst of Color GARDENING




18 As I finish writing this article, I have just picked what will probably be the last of the annuals from the gardens. It’s mid November, and the first killing frost for the area is predicted. Picked from still vigorous plants, these are three of our best performers this past summer: Profusion Zinnia “Fire,” “Strawberry Fields” “Gomphrena” and Angelonia “Serena Mix.” Each of these we grew from seed, and have planted them for at least two summers, with excellent results. We’ll be planting them again this spring, probably just around the time you are reading this. We have grown several colors of the Profusion series of zinnias in the past few years. Profusion zinnias are a hybrid between the Z. elegans (cut flower type) and the Mexican narrow leaf Z. angustifolia. The flower, foliage size and general growth habits, while smaller than elegans, are more robust than angustifolia. Each of the colors we have grown has been floriferous without dead-heading, disease-free and compact, but full growing. The bright red-orange blossoms of “Fire” are particularly hot, and the color does not fade as the flower ages. We’ve placed them in the sunny River Garden, flanked by the deep blue Salvia f. ‘Victoria’ for great color contrast! A member of the snapdragon family, Angelonia angustifolia is a tender perennial native to Mexico and the West Indies. Although there


are patented vegetatively produced cultivars available, we grew the trademarked “Serena Mix” from seed. The well-branched plants grew to fourteen inches, full and bushy with small, dark green, aromatic leaves. Blooming all summer in the Library Garden, this vibrant mix of purple, lavender, pink and white one-inch flowers on terminal spikes needed no dead-heading or special care. Used either for a mass effect in a garden, or in containers, Angelonia holds up well with summer heat and humidity. Grouping with silver foliaged plants such as dusty miller provides a color and texture contrast for a stunning combination. “Strawberry Fields” Gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana) has been a favorite that we’ve grown for several years. Native to Texas and Mexico, this is another annual which holds up well to summer heat. The one-inch globelike flower heads are made up of stiff, papery strawberry-red bracts which are extremely showy all summer. On long stems, these are wonderful cut or dried flowers, although the somewhat sprawling growth sometimes requires staking or intermingling with other plants to look tidy all season. Attractive to butterflies in summer, these flower heads are effectively dismembered by sparrows in early fall, as they strip the seeds from the flowerheads! -Leigh Knuttel

Gardening by the Sea columnist Leigh Knuttel studied botany at Connecticut College and has worked in ornamental horticulture for many years. She is the Museum’s supervisor of grounds and is responsible for many of the fascinating plants at Mystic Seaport.


SPRING harvest

The appearance of crisp red stalks of rhubarb in your garden or at a local farmers’ market is a sure sign of spring. Since rhubarb can break its winter dormancy with temperatures around 40 degrees, it begins its growth cycle early in the season. The plants are happiest at temperatures below 75 degrees—hence rhubarb’s association with the first crops of the season—and are natural pairings with fruits like strawberries. Although often used in sweet preparations like pies and crumbles, botanically speaking, rhubarb is actually a vegetable, not a fruit. Its origins date back to China more than 2,000 years ago where it was cultivated largely for medicinal purposes. Rhubarb was not cultivated for culinary purposes in England and America until the 18th century. The green rhubarb leaves should never be eaten, as they contain toxins, including oxalic acid. Today, it grows best in cooler climates, like New England and other northern states. Chefs everywhere are now using rhubarb in more and more inventive ways, in sauces, salads and soups. It’s high in vitamin C and rich in fiber. The naturally tart flavor is usually offset by the addition of sugar in varying amounts. When I was growing up, my mother would stew rhubarb in sugared water and serve it over ice cream—simple, but delicious. For a more adventurous dish, try the recipe below.


Jean Kerr is the author of M YSTIC S EAFOOD : G REAT R ECIPES , H ISTORY AND S EAFARING L ORE FROM M YSTIC S EAPORT as well as U NION O YSTER H OUSE C OOKBOOK and t h e forthcoming W INDJAMMER C OOKING . She is the editor of TASTE OF THE S EACOAST magazine and co-owner of Smith Kerr Associates Publishing.

SWE ET AND SOU R RHU BAR B SAL AD 4 stalks of rhubarb, cut diagonally into thin slices 1/3 cup of honey 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar Salt and pepper to taste

6 cups of mixed baby greens 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Place the rhubarb in a wide saucepan. Drizzle the honey over the water to cover by one inch. Place over high heat and bring to a

rhubarb and add enough

boil. Cook, uncovered, for two minutes. Remove from the heat and pour through a large sieve into a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper, and place over high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, divide the greens among four salad plates. Arrange the rhubarb over the greens. When the liquid is reduced, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the oil. Drizzle over the salads, top with almonds and serve at once.

Looking for another savory rhubarb recipe? Try Rubarb Ketchup, a recipe from Seamen’s Inne Executive Chef Tim Quinn, online at





A new exhibit opening this spring chronicles the life of whaling captain George Comer and his extraordinary relationship with the Inuit of Hudson Bay. Captain George Comer (1858-1937) of East Haddam, CT.


Rediscovering a Discoverer: The fascinating research behind explorer Captain George Comer 21 Fred C al abretta

Collectively, these materials illuminate Arctic whaling, traditional Inuit culture and the career and achievements of an extraordinary individual; a sailor and scientist who achieved much despite a difficult childhood and little formal education. Comer’s unique story will be the focus of a major exhibition opening this spring at Mystic Seaport.

Exhibit Research asDetective Work Historical research may sound like tedious and boring work, and, truthfully, sometimes it can be! However, those of us with a passion for the past usually find research to be a fascinating and rewarding experience. At times the researcher becomes a detective, following very limited leads or clues to important sources of information. Mystic Seaport’s exhibitions evolve after years of careful planning and development. Historical research focusing on the exhibit’s content ranks among the most important activities during this process. Museum staff members conduct careful and thorough research to ensure that the exhibit delivers its content—themes and subject matter—in an engaging, informative and historically accurate manner.

Among the most rewarding experiences for a researcher are the moments when mysteries are solved, secrets are revealed and discoveries expose previously unknown information. Although I have been researching Captain George Comer and the Inuit of Hudson Bay for many years, preparations for the forthcoming exhibit allowed me to dig even more deeply into surviving records to create a more complete picture of their lives. This “voyage of discovery” paid off with some fascinating surprises.

Shadows on Ivory Among the Inuit objects collected by Captain Comer during his years in the North were some small and delicately made combs fabricated from walrus ivory. While conducting research and selecting loan objects for our exhibit, I viewed a number of


objects associated with George Comer, an Arctic whaling captain and researcher among the Inuit of Hudson Bay.


Mystic Seaport ’ s collections contain many gems, including a remarkable group of photographs, journals and




these combs among the Comer collections of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. I realized we had a similar comb in our collections although it had come to the Museum many years ago with little documentation.

The sealing ships, largely based in southeastern Connecticut, visited remote islands in the southern Indian Ocean in search of elephant seals to harvest for their oil-producing blubber. It was on these voyages, during 1885-1889, that Comer first began to develop his skills as a collector of scientific specimens and information. The Comer Collection in Mystic Seaport’s Manuscripts

Our comb showed faint traces of what appeared to be pencil marks, so it warranted a closer look. Using a microscope and a

Collection includes a notebook used by Comer on a voyage, that of the schooner Francis Allyn, from 1887 to 1889. Titled

black light, I discovered images of two figures of Inuit men on

“Memos about chickens, penguins, and islands on voyage,” the

one side of the comb and a single male Inuit figure on the other.

volume contains bird observations and also includes the

Also present were names of the three individuals depicted, plus

remnants of several pages cut into small strips. These were

the name “Shoofly.” Shoofly, as she was called by the whalers,

apparently used as specimen labels, since one such label, cut out

apparently made the comb. All four people were friends of Comer and are well documented in his journals and photographs. The comb has taken on new meaning. It is no longer just a generic and undocumented Inuit object, but instead tells a story of known people from the past.

but never used, remains in the notebook. What became of the other labels? What specimens did they accompany, and do they still exist? Comer’s notes and journals indicate that he had a relationship with several scientists at Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. In fact, G. E. Verrill, a scientist with Yale associations, published a lengthy paper based on bird collections and observations made by Comer during his sealing voyages. Search of an online database for the ornithology (bird) collections at the Peabody Museum resulted in a list of about 10 specimens attributed to Comer. I scheduled a visit and spent several fascinating hours viewing bird eggs and skeletons collected by Comer: I was

A Paper Puzzle Before Captain Comer focused on whale hunting in the Canadian Arctic, he had participated in the sealing industry.

Above : Comb carved from walrus ivory by “Shoofly” of Nivisinaaq. Right: “Harry” or Tasseok using a traditional bow drill.


pleasantly surprised to learn they had more Comer-related specimens than my initial catalog search revealed, and that these were among the earliest bird specimens in Yale’s collections. As we examined the contents of a box with an albatross skeleton, I noticed a familiar looking piece of paper. On it were written the words “albatross” and “Gough’s Island,” which is where the specimen had been collected. The piece of paper, though discolored with age, resembled the paper in Comer’s Francis Allyn notebook

Topsail schooner Era frozen: winter quarters, Hudson Bay, 1901


at Mystic Seaport and was nearly identical in size and shape with

In May of 2008, Mystic Seaport’s

the remaining label in that notebook.

Schaefer Gallery will open its doors to

The label for the albatross specimen at Yale had almost certainly been cut from the notebook at Mystic Seaport nearly 120 years earlier! The pieces of this 1889 puzzle, along with a portion of the albatross skeleton, will be reunited in our forthcoming Comer exhibit.

an exciting new exhibition. Entitled

A Lost Journal

Frozen In: Captain Comer and the Hudson Bay Inuit, it is based on the extraordinary career of George Comer [1858–1937] of East Haddam, CT.

will present a very different type of

try and reveals much about Comer’s formative years as a seafarer. It is a valuable addition to the Museum’s other Comer holdings.

Comer’s whaling voyages repeatedly

successful career as a mariner. He thrived in the whaling, sealing and coasting trades and eventually served as captain on a number of voyages. With such an impressive career, it may be surprising that his many seafaring activities do not figure prominently in the exhibit. Why? Because Frozen In

sailor’s story.

took him to the waters of western Hudson Bay in the Canadian Arctic.

Searching for Johanna Captain George Comer was born in Quebec in 1858. Several years later his sailor father died at sea. At some point, his mother Johanna came to the United States, where she struggled to provide for her son. When George was about seven he was placed in an orphanage in Hartford, CT, and then in 1868, at age 10, was sent to live with a foster family in East Haddam, CT. He continued to reside in East Haddam until he died in 1938. Fortunately, his life and career is very well documented for the years following his first sea voyage at age 17. But where and how had George lived in the years before he arrived at the Hartford orphanage? Also, he seems to have lost touch with his mother after he moved to East Haddam. What had become of Johanna?

This cold, treeless and windswept region became his second home, and he thrived there. The native people of this region refer to themselves as Inuit, rather than the more general term Eskimo. Comer was particularly drawn to these rugged, friendly people who had worked closely with American whalers for a number of years. He (Continued on next page)



A previously unknown Comer journal, incorrectly attributed to another mariner for decades, was now positively attributed to Comer. This newly identified Comer journal provides rich descriptions of an important Connecticut indus-

to sea at age 17, and enjoyed a long and


Comer overcame a difficult youth, went


Comer’s travels on the sealing schooner Francis Allyn were also at the center of another interesting discovery. A volume in Mystic Seaport’s collection, designated as Log 190, is a journal kept on board the Francis Allyn from 1887 to 1888. It has been at the Museum for decades and since its arrival here, the journal has been attributed to the schooner’s first mate, James Glass. Hoping it would contain at least brief references to Comer, I decided to read through it one day this past summer. The detailed entries, writing style and handwriting immediately suggested that someone other than James Glass was the writer. My suspicions were confirmed as I read the journal entry for April 22, 1888. The keeper noted that April 22 was his birthday—also the birthday of George Comer.


My computer provided a path to some answers. Various Internet searches using the name “Johanna Comer” brought limited results until I found a reference to a person of that name in a guide to the inmate records of the Tewksbury Almshouse. Tewksbury, located near Lowell, MA, had one of several almshouses or poor houses, established by the state in the mid-1800s. These institutions provided shelter and relief for the poor and for others who were unable to support themselves.

Could this Johanna Comer, appearing in the almshouse

records for 1881, be George’s mother? Captain Comer in the rigging of the schooner A.T. Gifford, New London, 1907.

established a strong bond with them and among them, he found an opportunity to pursue what became his passion—the careful study and documentation of Inuit culture. He eagerly responded to the requests

ums, providing curators and scientists with knowledge of people they knew




of several of the world’s great muse-

little about. Despite a lack of formal training, he conducted pioneering fieldwork in Arctic anthropology, and employed the use of photography, sound recordings, archaeology, written

I visited the Lowell History Center and searched the almshouse records, now preserved on microfilm. I found the entry for Johanna Comer, but realizing this was not an unusual name, I wondered if this was the person I sought. The woman’s case history filled less than a page, but contained a wealth of information. She was born in Ireland, immigrated to Canada and married a sailor by the name of Thomas Comer, who was lost at sea in 1858. All of this matched known Comer family history. I had found Captain Comer’s mother! More details surfaced. Johanna had spent time at the Tewksbury Almshouse on several occasions so there were multiple entries for her. I had discovered details about Johanna’s life, including birth, death and marriage dates, along with a story of misery and suffering. Following the death of her husband, Johanna Comer led a very difficult life. She moved and traveled extensively throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, working as a washerwoman for several families and often living at almshouses. She suffered from poor health. Hers was a hard life and one of poverty, and for several years, she was not alone. The records indicate that she was accompanied by her son George during at least one stay at the Tewksbury Almshouse, before he was finally placed in a Hartford orphanage, at about the age of seven. Although intended to provide refuge, the almshouses must have

records and plaster life masks. He collected thousands of Inuit objects for several prominent museums. Comer dedicated much of his working life to the establishment of a bridge between two cultures, and he did so with great success. By the early 1900s, he had become the world’s foremost authority on the Inuit of Hudson Bay. His work had a lasting impact and his collections now offer an unprecedented view of traditional Inuit culture.

Frozen In will explore the lives and legacy of Captain Comer and his Inuit friends and the challenges they faced living in one of the harshest environments on Earth.

An Inuit group photo taken by Comer inside an igloo.


been very disturbing places for children. They housed not only the poor, but also the gravely ill, the insane, and at this time, in the early 1860s, wounded Civil War veterans. It is interesting to speculate on the effects that frequent boyhood moves and uprootings had on George Comer. After a very unsettled boyhood, he may have longed for stability,

as a result of disasters, neglect or disinterest. This irretrievable loss of information limits our knowledge of the past. Still, research and the study of history continue. Discoveries compensate for dead ends as we try to gain a better understanding of the past. We study Captain Comer as he studied the Inuit, with an eye towards a better understanding

which he found, along with a sense of belonging, among the

of the human experience.

Inuit of Hudson Bay. In contrast, it is curious that he chose the life of a sailor, spending the equivalent of more than 20 years away from home. Suffering from the effects of tuberculosis, Johanna Comer died at the Tewksbury Almshouse in 1881. She was 50 years old. Her son George, then 23, had lost track of her. In a curious way, there are times when research reveals more than we


An Inuit family in winter clothing, Hudson Bay.


Captain George Comer ~ By the Numbers 14 27 months

Typical voyage length

23 years Close calls 2 shipwrecks, 2 near-drownings, 1 attempted shooting Number of surviving journals & notebooks 30 Number of photographs taken 300 Number of sound recordings made 65 Number of Inuit artifacts collected for museums 4,000 Number of plaster life masks made 300 Total time away from home, 1875–1919



In pounds, amount of bread brought along In pounds, amount of coffee brought along In pounds, amount of sugar brought along In Fahrenheit, coldest temperature registered during their stay in Hudson Bay In feet, thickness of ice measured

21,803 1,900 1,982

-53 degrees 6' 3''


Fred Calabretta joined the curatorial staff of Mystic Seaport in 1980, enthusiastic but doubting there was anything in the Museum’s collections to fuel his long-standing interest in Native American studies. Then, a few months after his arrival, he happened upon the photos taken by Captain Comer.

Number of Arctic voyages


want to know. I have long been fascinated by the life of George Comer, yet I was very saddened to learn of the hardships he and his mother endured when he was a young boy. Historical research often results in success, as illustrated by the examples noted above. Researchers find satisfaction in discovering, piecing together and interpreting fragments of our history. However, researchers often experience failure as well. Details are elusive. Questions remain unanswered and gaps in the historical record remain unfilled. Throughout history, great quantities of invaluable historical records have been lost






“Unidentified Ship in a Gale”

James E. Buttersworth paintings on display at Mystic Seaport BY ELIZABETH YERKES

THIS SPRING MYSTIC SEAPORT OPENED ITS DOORS ON A NEW FINE ART EXHIBIT. A careful choice of 30 oils displays the painterly ability of James Edward Buttersworth, a 19th-century artist who captured a realistic view of sea and sky while including the human element in a marine environment. The exhibit will show off the best of the Museum’s Buttersworth paintings, although not all of them. In 2006, Donald C. McGraw, Jr., the grandson of McGraw-Hill Inc.’s founder, bequeathed his private collection of 24 Buttersworth paintings to the Museum. “Our father wanted the Museum to have his paintings so they could be shared with and enjoyed by the public. Our family is delighted that this one exhibit will show so many of them,” says Josh McGraw, one of McGraw’s sons. The McGraw bequest complemented the 31 Buttersworths the Museum had acquired since 1935 and comprised part of a multi-million dollar gift. The Museum now holds the largest public collection of the work of this 19th-century American painter who supported himself and his family with his art.


“These are beautiful paintings. The thing that distinguishes the Buttersworths is that they stop action in time, such as a moment in the middle of a race,” said Mystic Seaport Senior Curator Bill Peterson. Among many competitions, Buttersworth portrayed the start of the 1866 Transatlantic Race, the first America’s Cup race in 1870 and yacht races off of Sandy Hook and Boston. Other paintings document important moments in commercial sailing history, said Peterson, such as the beginning of mail steamer service. James Edward Buttersworth (1817–1894) emigrated from England to Hoboken, NJ, most likely in 1847. Many details of Buttersworth’s life remain unknown, but most scholars think he learned ship portraiture from either his father or brother, who were also marine painters. A contemporary of maritime

“Sloop Yacht Haswell”

artists William Bradford, James Bard and Fitz Henry Lane, Buttersworth may not have actually witnessed many of the environmental conditions that he painted. This makes his dynamic portrayals even more compelling. For about five years, Buttersworth worked for Currier & Ives lithographers. It is not known whether he transferred sketches to lithographs or fleshed out prints into paintings, but the sequence is less important than the effect. Millions of printed ship scenes enabled the American masses to see the ocean and vessels seagoing that they might otherwise never have known about. Art experts, amateurs, old salts and armchair sailors comment that Buttersworth painted vessels in action in a very believable way. Daniel Finamore is curator of maritime art at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Finamore wrote that Buttersworth often painted narratives of yachts in “tense and momentous juxtaposition, often sailing on opposite tacks or at different angles while rounding a mark. Even a casual viewer will be drawn in by the drama of Buttersworth’s composition and the backstories of the clipper ships and yachts he painted.” Jonathan Shay, Mystic Seaport director of exhibits and interpretation, says the Mallory Building provides enough space and proper lighting for all but a few dozen Buttersworths to be shown. Exhibit labels guide viewers through the show with lively historic and aesthetic particulars, and the interactive Art Spot nearby gives visitors a chance to try their hand at arranging a scene and drawing or painting water and clouds. Several Buttersworth paintings in this exhibit will be literally right at home.


“Ocean Scene, Henrietta Scudding”

Look for two paintings of Mystic-built ships, “Race Off the Battery, Schooner Dauutless ex l’Hirondelle” and the Clipper Ship “David Crockett.” Also on exhibit are paintings titled “The Sloop yacht Haswell” and “yacht Kate off Boston Light,” which show ships built for Charles Mallory, one of Connecticut’s most prosperous ship owners and the father of the Mallory Building’s namesake. The detail that Buttersworth employed can astound viewers, but the exhibit’s theme is one that all audiences can enjoy. “If Buttersworth’s treatment of the sea is grand, the sky has such subtlety it shows another aspect of his mastery of the milieu,” said Andy German, former director of Mystic Seaport publications. German is now completing an update of Rudolf Schaefer’s book, J. E. Buttersworth: 19th – Century Marine Painter, and consulted with curators on the Buttersworth exhibit. “Schooner yacht (possibly America) in the Strait of Dover off England, circa 1855”


“Where many painters would settle upon a characteristic way to paint the water’s surface, Buttersworth shows his versatility.” –ANDREW GERMAN, EDITOR OF 2ND EDITION J. E. BUTTERSWORTH: 19TH CENTURY MARINE PAINTER

“A lot of the paintings are pretty small, but they’re all gems,” said German. He said Buttersworth’s level of detail is such that a viewer could document the evolution of clipper ship rigging design. “But his best works have broad appeal because they depict the sea in detail that shows its chaotic structure. He’s pretty remarkable; where many painters would settle upon a characteristic way to paint the water’s surface, Buttersworth shows his versatility,” said German. Historically, marine paintings have not been considered fine art, but Buttersworth’s mastery helped change that. During the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a Buttersworth yacht race scene that began to change attitudes about marine artists. Some aficionados have suggested Buttersworth is the maritime equivalent of a Hudson River School painter. This 50-year movement, begun in 1825, introduced luminism as a technique to strike emotion in distinctly American settings. These painters captured the special properties of light and atmosphere and emphasized nature's grand scale. Said German, “I hope one effect of this exhibit, even if it’s incremental, will be to give a little more credibility to Buttersworth as one of the school of painters of man in nature.” Richard B. Grassby, in his Buttersworth biography Ship, Sea & Sky, called Buttersworth’s best paintings factual and full of action, luminous and atmospheric. Some say Buttersworth took considerable artistic license in his later work, introducing fictitious warships, redacted points of sail, and impossible clarity to storm-saturated seascapes. But that may be the enduring appeal of his paintings: the creative composition and exacting detail provide drama and movement that please on many levels. Whether the audience’s primary experience with canvas is sailing under it or painting on it, this exhibit is sure to delight visitors to Mystic Seaport. ILLUMINATING THE SEA: THE MARINE PAINTINGS OF JAMES E. BUTTERSWORTH, 1844 – 1894, WILL REMAIN OPEN THROUGH MARCH 2009.

THE MUSEUM’S 55 BUTTERSWORTH PAINTINGS CONSTITUTE THE LARGEST PUBLIC COLLECTION OF BUTTERSWORTH’S WORKS. Here’s a look at some of the images not included in the current exhibit, shown here specially for readers of Mystic Seaport magazine.

“The Sloop Irene”



“The Schooner Yacht Dauntless and a Ship of the Line”


“Yacht L’Hirondelle in a Full Breeze”

This year, Mystic Seaport is exhibiting more than 30 of its 55 Buttersworth paintings. In celebration of the collection and to accompany the exhibit, a beautiful and up-to-date quarto will be released this fall. The Museum will publish a new edition of Rudolf J. Schaefer’s 1975 publication, J. E. Buttersworth, 19thCentury Marine Painter, in November 2008. Among other things, the new four-color version includes the latest information about historic vessels Buttersworth depicted in his paintings, as well as explanations of aesthetic choices that he made in portraying them. Andrew German, former director of publications for Mystic Seaport, is editor of the new version. German said the revision includes substantially more and better quality images than the original publication. About a third of the plates will be color, in contrast to the first edition that had roughly one-fifth of the illustrations in color. Janet Schaefer, widow of the author, continued her late husband’s work of studying and indexing Buttersworth’s oeuvre and catalogued about 1,200 Buttersworths, said German. Although details of Buttersworth’s life are still enigmatic, his work continues to flash into the limelight: in the last several months, two more Buttersworth paintings have come to public auction. In 2001, Doyle Auction House sold a Buttersworth for $136,000, about four times the expected price. “It’s still puzzling why he’s not better known, even though certain Buttersworth paintings have been valued at half a million dollars,” said Daniel Finamore, curator of maritime art at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, MA. For information about ordering the new edition of J. E. Buttersworth, 19th-Century Marine Painter, please call the Museum Store at 800.331.2665.


a Beacon in


planned giving with significance C.S. “Butsy” Lovelace and family focus support on Mystic Seaport








very summer for 84 years C.S. “Butsy” Lovelace lived directly across Nantucket harbor from the Brant Point Lighthouse, and every summer, it seeped more deeply into his and his family’s emotional landscape. “I’ve seen it all my life and when the fog rolls in, I hear it,” said Lovelace. “But Mystic Seaport has always been on my horizon, too.” A Museum member and Trustee (now Emeritus) for many years, Lovelace and his family are funding the transformation of the replica Brant Point Lighthouse that stands on the Museum’s grounds. As ship

navigators are now guided by satellite global positioning, and the Coast Guard is shutting down lighthouses, Lovelace said he wanted to acknowledge their history and past significance to sailors. The replica lighthouse has been at the Museum since 1966. It is one of the many transformations that Museum members and visitors will enjoy in the coming years. Katherine Cowles of the Museum's Advancement department said the lighthouse will serve an educational mission. It will combine flat-screen video panels and other content on the ground floor. Interpreters will playact stories of lighthouse keepers and answer visitors’ questions about lighthouses. Lighthouse Point will be embellished with rosa rugosa and other plants native to Nantucket, and its promontory will become more prominent. “There are thousands of lighthouse enthusiasts out there. The Museum has a terrific resource in that replica harbor light,” said Christopher Owens, a Mystic businessman who has restored lighthouses and penned a book about the process. The original Brant Point Lighthouse was the second light built in this country, has been rebuilt five times since the mid-1700s and has

guided everything from whaling ships to pleasure yachts safely into Nantucket harbor. Butsy Lovelace's commitment to funding the Lighthouse transformation wasn’t finished when, last Christmas, he and his wife Jean made gift giving easier than Internet shopping. They gave additional gifts to the Museum’s Lighthouse Fund in their children's and grandchildren's names. The Lovelaces have supported the Museum in other ways. When Lovelace was publisher of Nautical Quarterly, Stanley Rosenfeld asked the publication to take care of his family's famous collection of photographs. “We told him we couldn't do it, but maybe we could find someone who could.” said Lovelace, who called Mystic Seaport straightaway. The Rosenfeld Collection, now housed and preserved in Mystic Seaport’s state-of-the-art Collections Research Center, continues to be supported by Butsy and his wife Jean in the form of charitable gift annuities.

“I've seen it all my life and when the fog rolls in, I hear it,” said Lovelace. “But Mystic Seaport has always been on my horizon, too.”

The Stillman Society: In memory of Dr. Charles Kitland Stillman 1879-1938. Membership in the Stillman Society is reserved for those members and friends who have made planned or deferred gifts to Mystic Seaport. To inquire about membership in the society, please contact Katherine Cowles at 860.572.0711 x5171 or


Richard Vietor, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, speaks to Mystic Seaport magazine. H a vi ng re c e n tl y re t ir e d f ro m a l on g Wa l l S t r e e t c a r e e r, R i c h a r d Vi e t o r b e c a m e C h a i r m a n i n S e p t e m b e r. Vie tor joined Mystic’s b oa r d i n 1 9 82 , su c c e e di n g h i s f a th e r, A l e x a n d e r, w ho a l so s e r v e d a s a t r u s t e e f o r m a n y y e a r s .

MS Mag azine:

Tell me about the changes you see coming to the Museum.

Sometimes it can be just a simple idea. For instance, every visitor can get out on the water on a free boat ride. To see Mystic Seaport from the water is very inspiring. We want to increase our national reputation as well. We established the America and the Sea Award to recognize those who, like the Museum, are stewards of the nation’s maritime memories.

MS Mag azine:

You seem confident about the future.

R i c h a r d Vieto r: I know that with our strong, dedicated Board of Trustees and incredibly committed staff, donors and members, the Museum can be faithful to our founders— to be educational in purpose, national in scope and inspiring for the future.

Above photo: Board Chairman Richard R. Vietor, and his wife Rosemary, at the annual Mystic Seaport America and the Sea Gala, held last fall at New York City’s Rainbow Room.


R i c h a r d Vieto r: Yes, it’s easily said and difficult to do. Our most far-reaching strategic goal is to become an all-weather museum. We have developed plans to build a new indoor museum on the north end, complete with exhibition galleries, theater and atrium, all using state-ofthe-art technologies and integrated with our outdoor campus.


We can educate and inspire even when we take care of our watercraft. In a few months we’ll haul out the Charles W. Morgan. It’s an exciting undertaking and her restoration will be an exhibit in itself.

Sounds exciting and challenging.



R i c h a r d Vieto r: Tangibly, with ships that our visitors can board on our waterfront. Intangibly, with exhibits that tell stories about people and the sea. For example, our new Buttersworth exhibit just opened. We now have the largest public collection of these paintings, thanks to a gift from the late Don McGraw.


MS Mag azine:

What are other ways to connect with people? ON

R i c h a r d Vieto r: We seek a broad transformation. It’s about connecting stories with people. Our mission is unchanged, but history is harder for people to relate to now than in the past. We want visitors to be educated and inspired by Mystic Seaport, whether for a few hours, or for a few days. And the goal of transformation is to make that happen.

MS Mag azine:

Second annual

america &W the Sea award GaLa

Mystic Seaport’s second annual America and the Sea Award gala was held on October 24, 2007 in the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Center. The award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American spirit and character. This year’s event honored David McCullough, noted author and historian, for his prowess in telling the sea stories of our nation.

Following the live auction, Linda Hart assists Chairman Richard Vietor in pulling the winning ticket for one of the evening’s raffle items. A bottle of Mystic River water was a humorous and attention getting auction item that went for $2,000. Mystic Seaport President and Director Douglas H. Teeson, his wife Phyllis and Chairman Vietor welcome the McCullough family, David, his wife Rosalee and their daughter Melissa McCullough McDonald. (Right)

Munson Institute professor and historian Bill Fowler also assisted in introducing the honoree, emphasizing what a profound influence David McCullough has had on his life’s work. (Left) Honoree David McCullough and his wife Rosalee were the first up on the dance floor. (Middle) Museum trustee Charles Mallory proudly shows off the Nelson H. White painting for which he submitted the winning bid. (Right)



Olin A special Centennial Celebration is taking place this spring at Mystic Seaport.


Former Museum Chairman Bill Forster and his wife Linda Hart. (Left) Following the award presentation, Chairman Vietor, honoree McCullough and President Teeson show off the handsome award, a Simon Pearce glass sculpture titled “Flame.” (Right)



April 13, 2008, was no ordinary day. It marked the 100th birthday of America’s preeminent yacht designer of the 20th century, Olin J. Stephens II. How do you celebrate someone’s centennial? Well, at Mystic Seaport, we believe it’s worth celebrating for more than one day. In fact, to pay tribute to a legendary figure like Olin, we’re celebrating for 100 days. A special celebration in honor of Olin is being held in May. Want to attend and become a friend of Olin? Go to to learn more. Meanwhile, when you’re on grounds, stop by the Olin Stephens Reading Room in the G.W. Blunt White Building for a look at Olin through the years. Additionally, you can visit for more about the man who, while working with the world-famous yacht designers Sparkman & Stephens, designed some of the most well-known boats in history, including our own schooner Brilliant. At Mystic Seaport, we think there’s one word to describe Olin’s work—brilliant. Olin J. Stephens II, world-renowned yacht designer, turned 100 in April.

Introductory speaker and documentary filmmaker Ric Burns spoke of his long time respect for author McCullough. (Pictured left to right are Robert Hoerle, David McCullough, Burns and Jacquelin Robertson. Incoming Museum trustee Robin McGraw and his wife Elizabeth enjoyed the music of Alex Donner’s dance band. (Right)


Drizzle, drizzle,

drip, drip. Spring in New England can be wet! We’re all tired of being cooped up in the house for months. Parents and children alike dream of warm breezes and sweet green grass to roll in. There are many rainy days in the spring that help the new plants grow, but it can be too chilly to play for long in the rain.

D R I Z Z L E & D R I P D R A W I N G Perhaps a rainy day art project will pass the time! Draw a collection of lines and shaded shapes with magic markers on a piece of thick paper. Put your raincoat on and step outside with your drawings for a few seconds. The marks will run! Now back inside, move the paper around to create dazzling trails of mixed colors and new shapes. Have fun!




Sometimes we can see texture, but can’t feel it. Other times, we can feel and see it. For many people, making rubbings of textures helps them “capture” a texture to keep for their own. TEXTURE SCAVENGER HUNT Here’s an art project you can do outside on a dry day. Get a large piece of paper


and a peeled crayon. In your yard, collect as many textures as you can, without overlapping them. Place the textured objects under the paper, and with your peeled crayon, rub on the paper, over the object. Ask a parent or friend to try to identify the texture samples. You’ll be surprised how difficult it is to

Kids, don’t miss the fun at Mystic Seaport this summer, with summer camps for all ages, and daily activity programs, including our all-new daily drop-in program, Hands-On History! For more information on programs for kids and family at Mystic Seaport, go online to!

identify them. When you visit Mystic Seaport, you’ll see and feel hundreds of different textures. Bring some paper along with you, and by the end of the day, you will have enough for a special scrapbook of Mystic Seaport textures.

-Barbara Jarnigan




Jul~ Aug

MAY 9–10 AND 16–18


JULY 1–6

Boat-building: Greenland Kayak Learn to build a Greenland kayak in an intensive weekend course.

Member reception for opening of Frozen In

All American Picnic Week

MAY 17–18 Brilliant sailing weekends for adults begin Weekend sails for adults available in May, June, Sept. and Oct.

JULY 4 Independence Day Join the parade and patriotic ceremonies while celebrating Independence Day 1876-style.

JUNE 17–21 Plein air painters of the Maritime Gallery paint on location at Mystic Seaport

Also... New Lighthouse exhibit opens

JUNE 21 Art opening, Plein Air Painters of The Maritime Gallery Exhibition open through September 1.

JULY 7–AUGUST 22 Summer Community Sailing Learn to sail on the Mystic River. Classes available at all levels for families, adults and youth.


JUNE 16–AUGUST 29 MAY 24 Frozen In: Captain George Comer and the Inuit of Hudson Bay A new exhibit opens in the Schaefer Gallery.

MAY 24–26 Lobster Days

Brilliant teen sailing programs begin Choose a five- or ten-day program and experience the adventure of sailing aboard the classic schooner Brilliant.

JUNE 22–AUGUST 1 Joseph Conrad summer camp begins Youth ages 10-15 learn to sail on the Mystic River by day and sleep aboard a tall ship by night.

Celebration of Volunteers

JULY 28–29 Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous


JUNE 13–15

Moby-Dick Marathon

Sea Music Festival Sing along with live music from the world’s oceans and coasts.

AUG 1–3


AUG 9–10

Introduction to Half-Model Construction Carve your own half-model of a classic sailboat.

A 100th birthday celebration for the steamship Sabino


Summer day camps begin Sign up your kids (ages 4-14) for a series of fun summer programs, including “Junior Explorers” and “Mystic Seaport Sampler.”


A food & wine festival at Mystic Seaport

JUNE 15–18 NOAA Whaling Symposium

JUNE 21 Summer Solstice Party

JUNE 27–29 WoodenBoat Show

k k k To register for a class or program at Mystic Seaport, go to or call 860.572.5322.


E D U C AT I O N Number of school /youth groups that visited Mystic Seaport in 2006: 1,130 Number of students, teachers, parents and other adults who participated in Education Department programs last year: 34,604 Number of teachers who traveled from Florida to participate in the 2007 Black Hands, Blue Seas Teacher Institute: 5 Number of types of guided tours, Planetarium programs, outreach programs, home-school programs, overnight programs, Elderhostel programs, summer day camp programs, teacher institutes and role player and chantey programs offered through the Education Department: 46 Number of different states that schools came from in 2006–07: 10





Number of miles a school group from Milwaukee, WI, traveled to visit Mystic Seaport: 1,012 Number of kids who climbed ship’s rigging during Mystic Seaport overnight programs and Joseph Conrad camp: 1,618 Number of pizzas eaten during Anchor Watch overnight programs for scout groups: 136 Number of reproduction harpoons used for on-site and outreach programs: 4 Number of times one of these harpoons gets darted into the river during tours and overnight programs: 2,000 Number of logbooks sewn out of sailcloth during a year’s worth of programs: 500 Number of scrimshaw pieces etched by students: 1,000 Number of lanyards made by students: 1,500 Number of miles put on the new outreach van during the first year of owning it: 5,306

-Lisa Marcinkowski, Director of Education

Join the fun! Learn more about our great programs at, or call 860.572.5322

Mystic Seaport Magazine 2008 Spring  

Mystic Seaport Magazine Spring 2008 issue filled with events, programs, activities and information about America's favorite maritime museum...

Mystic Seaport Magazine 2008 Spring  

Mystic Seaport Magazine Spring 2008 issue filled with events, programs, activities and information about America's favorite maritime museum...