NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SEA HISTORY No. 164
THE ART, LITERATURE, ADVENTURE, LORE & LEARNING OF THE SEA Artist John Mecray American Warships for South America Whalemen in Sharkish Seas Saga of Jamaica Bay
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14 The National Maritime Historical Society Annual Awards Dinner, 2018, by Julia Church NMHS will recognize the contributions of three exceptional award recipients this October in New York City for their decades of service and commitment to promoting our maritime heritage and for their work in maritime and naval education and scholarship. nhhc, us navy
18 Warships for South American Rebels: Shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown Find a New Market for Frigates in South America, by James G. Brown Shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown supplied the US Navy with ships to conduct the War of 1812. When the war ended, their market for selling ships collapsed and they began to search for new buyers in unconventional locations.
courtesy mary gillette
22 John Mecray: A Celebration of Life, Art, and Yachting, by Julia Church Artist John Mecray excelled in recreating the grace and beauty of classic sailing yachts in his paintings. But he also worked to preserve the boats that had inspired him and the skills needed to keep them sailing, founding the International Yacht Restoration School. 32 The Greatest Port That Never Was: The Environmental History of Jamaica Bay, by Ray Vann Fishing grounds, dreamed-of bustling merchant port, oyster fishery, farmland, dumping ground, major airport, nature preserve—Jamaica Bay has been the site of all of these things. The one thing we can be sure of is that the bay will continue to change and adapt.
38 Sailing the Sharkish Seas: The 19th-Century Whalemen’s Experience with the MostFeared of Ocean Predators, by Emma McCauley Modern popular culture has fashioned an image of the shark as a terrifying, almost unstoppable predator. What did whalemen—whose tasks brought them remarkably close to sharks on a regular basis—think of the sharks they encountered?
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49 Funding America’s Maritime Heritage—a New Proposal, by Dr. Timothy J. Runyan National Maritime Alliance chairman Tim Runyan has been organizing the maritime community to press for Maritime Heritage Grant funds. Here, he reviews the history of this struggle and makes the case for a united effort to broaden our advocacy to fund maritime programs and projects. 32
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Cover: Shamrock V – 1995, by John Mecray (1937–2017) 20 x 48 inches, oil (See article on pages 22–26.)
DEPARTMENTS 4 Deck Log 16 Letters 10 NMHS: A Cause in Motion 30 Tall Ships America 44 Sea History for Kids
48 Maritime History on the Internet 50 Ship Notes, Seaport & Museum News 57 Calendar 58 Reviews 64 Patrons
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38 SEA HISTORY (issn 0146-9312) is published quarterly by the National Maritime Historical Society, 5 John Walsh Blvd., POB 68, Peekskill NY 10566 USA. Periodicals postage paid at Peekskill NY 10566 and add’l mailing offices. COPYRIGHT © 2018 by the National Maritime Historical Society. Tel: 914 737-7878. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sea History, PO Box 68, Peekskill NY 10566.
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Deck Log Research and Discovery Await You on Our Newly Designed Website “Can you see anything?” Lord Carnarvon, his patron, asked English archaeologist Howard Carter when he first peered into the tomb he had just discovered of King Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. “Yes,” he answered, “Wonderful things.” And that is what you will find on our website, www.seahistory.org, which we’ve expanded and given a whole new look. The Resources section, for example, has been vastly enhanced, with a searchable index covering every issue of Sea History and links to relevant sites for research and extensive online image galleries. This section also has a link directly to Peter McCracken’s website, ShipIndex.org, which boasts information on more than 150,000 ships—and counting. For more than a decade now, research librarian and maritime historian Peter McCracken has written Sea History’s Maritime History on the Internet feature, highlighting helpful internet research resources and innovative search strategies. In addition to his columns hyperlinked in Sea History’s searchable index (under the heading “Maritime History on the Internet”), you can also find summaries and additional resources on our website at www.seahistory.org/maritime-history-on-the-internet. Students will want to check out the new Sea History for Kids section for researching their history or marine science projects, or simply to browse around and learn about maritime careers, marine animals, ships in history, and more. “Animals in Sea History,” written and illustrated by Richard King in each issue of Sea History, now has its own easy-tofind section on the website as well. Even if you’re not a student, you might want to give this section a look; a lot of adult Sea History readers tell us that Rich’s fun and informative feature on animals is one of their favorite parts of the magazine! Thanks to a matching grant by the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area/Heritage Development Grant Program, we have updated Sea History’s Guide to Maritime Programs and Cultural Sites: New York Region print edition with a user-friendly online guide. This was first published in 2004 with funding from the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, Inc., the James A. Macdonald Foundation, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Museum Finder link is particularly useful, since you can search for maritime museums and institutions across the country using various criteria— region, ships, historic sites, Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM) affiliation, etc. Unlike the golden treasures of King Tut’s tomb, the wonderful resources in the NMHS website will continue to expand and grow, and there will be constant new marvels for you to discover. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President 4
NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY PUBLISHER’S CIRCLE: Peter Aron, Guy E. C. Maitland, Ronald L. Oswald OFFICERS & TRUSTEES: Chairman, Ronald L. Oswald; Vice Chairman, Richardo R. Lopes; President, Burchenal Green; Vice Presidents: Deirdre O’Regan, Wendy Paggiotta, Nancy Schnaars; Treasurer, Howard Slotnick; Secretary, Jean Wort; Trustees: Charles B. Anderson; Walter R. Brown; Christopher J. Culver; William S. Dudley; David S. Fowler; William Jackson Green; Karen Helmerson; Richard M. Larrabee; Guy E. C. Maitland; Capt. Brian McAllister; CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.); Michael W. Morrow; CAPT James A. Noone, USN (Ret.); Richard Patrick O’Leary; Erik K. Olstein; ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.); Timothy J. Runyan; Richard Scarano; Philip J. Shapiro; Capt. Cesare Sorio; William H. White; TrusteeElect, Denise Krepp; Chairmen Emeriti: Walter R. Brown, Alan G. Choate, Guy E. C. Maitland, Howard Slotnick FOUNDER: Karl Kortum (1917–1996) PRESIDENT EMERITUS: Peter Stanford (1927–2016) OVERSEERS: Chairman, RADM David C. Brown, USMS (Ret.); RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.); George W. Carmany III; James J. Coleman Jr.; Clive Cussler; Richard du Moulin; Alan D. Hutchison; Gary Jobson; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston; John Lehman; Capt. James J. McNamara; H. C. Bowen Smith; John Stobart; Philip J. Webster; Roberta Weisbrod NMHS ADVISORS: George Bass, Francis Duffy, John Ewald, Timothy Foote, Steven A. Hyman, J. Russell Jinishian, Gunnar Lundeberg, Conrad Milster, William G. Muller, Stuart Parnes, Nancy Hughes Richardson, Bert Rogers, Joyce Huber SEA HISTORY EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Chairman, Timothy Runyan; Norman Brouwer, Robert Browning, William Dudley, Daniel Finamore, Kevin Foster, John Jensen, Joseph Meany, Carla Rahn Phillips, Walter Rybka, Quentin Snediker, William H. White NMHS STAFF: Executive Director, Burchenal Green; Membership Director, Nancy Schnaars; Membership Coordinator, Jean Marie Trick; Marketing Director, Steve Lovass-Nagy; Comptroller, Anjoeline Osuyah; Staff Writer, Shelley Reid; Director of Development, Jessica MacFarlane; Membership Assistant, Irene Eisenfeld; Executive Administrator, Janis Nieves SEA HISTORY: Editor, Deirdre O’Regan; Advertising, Wendy Paggiotta Sea History is printed by The Lane Press, South Burlington, Vermont, USA.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
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SEA HISTORY No. 164
THE ART, LITERATURE, ADVENTURE, LORE & LEARNING OF THE SEA
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Every issue of Sea History is now online Hours & So Close to Home Annual Awards Dinner Live Auction (fullFinest access with11/3membership!). Seminar Series and 11/4 Take a sneak peak at the items featured in this
Beacon of Light Educational Initiatives Education is the movement from darkness to light. -Allan Bloom Education of the next generation is critical to carrying the memory of our maritime history forward, and we thank all of you who have supported our upcoming Annual Awards Dinner […]
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The Royal Navy ship Rattler was sailing southbound off the coast of Chile in late June 1794. At around eight o’clock at night, the men on watch heard somethings strange over side. Rattler’s captain later described it: “An animal rose along-side the ship, and uttred such shrieks and tones of lamentation so like thoes produced by the female voice, when expressing the deepest distress as to occasion no small degree of alarm among those who first heard it.”
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 5 READ MORE >>
Letters An Immigrant’s Arrival I found this old photo from when my parents and I (Dad is at far right, with Mom carrying me next to him) and a few aunts, uncles, and cousins all traveled from Hyderabad to Madras (Chennai) so my father could apply for a visa to come to the United States. He had been recruited by the University of Wisconsin to enroll in a masters program in civil and structural engineering, along with a scholarship and teaching fellowship. I have so much respect for his courage in leaving behind his beloved wife and baby girl in India so that he could pursue higher studies and the American dream. I also admire my mother’s incredible strength and willingness to be apart from her husband while raising me alone for two years. This was during a time when it was not easy or remotely affordable to fly back to visit home. We didn’t always have access to a phone and calls had to be scheduled; besides, international calls were prohibitively expensive. Remember overseas STD (subscriber toll dialing) or trunk calls and telegrams?
We Welcome Your Letters! Please send correspondence to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or Editor, Sea History, 7 Timberknoll Rd., Pocasset, MA 02559
Instead, my parents wrote beautiful long loving letters to one another during the two years they were apart on those blue aerogram tissue-thin envelopes. Mom saved all the letters in a box, but she won’t let us read them until she and my father are gone.
After graduating and landing a good job, my father brought us here to join him. It was not exactly perfect or easy, and we most definitely faced challenges as immigrants, but what a beautiful rich life we have been blessed to create in America. Shruthi Reddy Chicago, Illinois Downwind of Chincha Guano I was particularly interested in the article in the last issue, “The Smithsonian, the US
Join Us for a Voyage into History Our seafaring heritage comes alive in the pages of Sea History, from the ancient mariners of Greece to Portuguese navigators opening up the ocean world to the heroic efforts of sailors in modern-day conflicts. Each issue brings new insights and discoveries. If you love the sea, rivers, lakes, and
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Navy, and Aquatic Avian Excrement,” by Paul F. Johnston. I was a young deck officer in 1954 in the regular service from Europe to the West Coast of South America on board MV Bieberstein of Norddeutscher Lloyd (now HapagLloyd). We discharged and loaded cargoes at Pisco, Peru, the nearest major port to the Chincha Islands, only thirteen miles off the coast. Even after many years have passed, I still recall the obnoxious smell as so eloquently described by Mr. Johnston. It would be of interest to know how the seamen and the Chinese workers survived their long stay in these very dry islands. The sailing vessels could not carry sufficient fresh water and provisions for up to eight months of waiting plus the very slow loading time. Was there any ship service from the Peru mainland to the islands to provide for the livelihood of the seamen? Football and rowing sports are good for passing time, but water and food are essential. Also, what happened to the hundreds of Chinese workers after the mines shut down? Armin W. Becker Daytona Beach Shores, Florida From the Editor: Historian Justina Hwang looked at the history of Chinese indentured laborers in Peru: “Between 1849 and 1874, more than 100,000 coolies arrived in Peru as a result of Ley China, which allowed for the importation of an indentured work force of Chinese laborers in order to meet Peruvian need for labor after [its] slaves were emancipated in 1854....However, between 1849 and 1876, nearly half of the Chinese brought to Peru, ages 9 to 40, died from exhaustion, suicide, or ill treatment.” At the end of their contracts, the majority of those who survived their ordeal continued to work on the plantations. “Some coolies also migrated to the cities after successful completion of their contract. In cities such as Lima, some Chinese men were employed as domestic servants or artisans; they had more freedom to form households with native Peruvians, resulting in children of mixed race beginning in the 1850s.” (“Chinese in Peru in the 19th Century,” Modern Latin America, 8th Edition Companion Website: https://library.brown.edu/ create/modernlatinamerica/) SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
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Celebrate our maritime heritage this holiday season with NMHS greeting cards Greeting reads “Wishing you fair winds for the holidays and calm seas for the New Year.” Set of 10: $14.95. Add $4.50 s/h for one set, and $1.75 for each additional set. Please indicate your choice of holiday or blank notecards. Call for shipping charges larger orders or for international orders. Visit our website www.seahistory.org—for other selections choose “Store,” then “Gifts.” Breaking hrough—Maine Coast by Paul Garnett Oil on canvas 9” x 11” • Private collection To order, call 1-800-221-NMHS (6647), ext. 0, or visit our web site at www.seahistory.org. Order now for October delivery. SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 7
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The Ehime Maru, a Japanese fishery high school training ship carrying twenty crew members, thirteen students, and two teachers, was off the southern coast of Oahu, Hawaii, on 9 February 2001. The ship’s 74-day voyage included a training curriculum for tuna fishing, maritime navigation, marine engineering, and oceanography. The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Greeneville (SSN 772) departed Oahu on 9 February 2001 to conduct a demonstration of submarine capabilities with a total of fourteen VIP civilians, members of Congress, media journalists, and other important visitors onboard. As part of the demonstration, the commanding officer ordered an emergency dive followed by an emergency main ballast blow to swiftly propel the sub to the surface. When the Greeneville surfaced, it struck the underside of the Ehime Maru. Nine of the students and crew lost their lives in the tragic incident. Ehime Maru sank immediately and rested on the seafloor, 2,000 feet below, her keel broken. Dealing with a tragedy of this magnitude might have been too much for even the most seasoned leader, but Admiral Fargo rose to the occasion. He understood the difference between making short-term decisions to simply deal with the problem quickly and taking the more difficult path to ensure the best outcome long-term. Having served in Japan years before, ADM Fargo appreciated Japanese culture and pursued a path of transparency to regain their trust. Raising the vessel would be an expensive, dangerous, and time-consuming task. ADM Fargo included the Japanese at each step. He invited Japanese salvage experts to work side-by-side with US Navy salvage experts. When senior officials in Washington, DC, Makiko Tanaka, Japan’s Minister of Foreign Afexpressed skepticism that having a court fairs in 2001, walking with ADM Thomas B. of inquiry that could turn into a circus, Fargo, Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet, to ADM Fargo insisted on a court of inview the Crowley 450 diving barge that US Navy quiry, because he knew that the transdivers used in the recovery of the Ehime Maru. parency was essential. He even invited a Japanese admiral to sit with American flag officers as a member of the court of inquiry. ADM Fargo had to “manage up” almost as much as he had to “manage down.” ADM Fargo insisted on both actions. They had to recover the bodies and conduct a court of inquiry. The court of inquiry finished in mid-summer of 2001; however, the very challenging salvage effort dragged out for months. Shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, the government of Japan communicated and acknowledged that the United States had made a full effort on the salvage. ADM Fargo could have accepted that as a signal that enough was done, but he directed the salvage effort to continue. In October 2001, the Ehime Maru was lifted and brought to a shallow depth that allowed divers to recover any remains. US Navy and Japanese divers conducted these dives jointly to ensure the remains were handled appropriately. They recovered eight of the nine bodies. That was one of the best examples of leadership I’ve ever witnessed. ADM Tom Fargo taught me a valuable lesson about being a leader and turning a tragedy that could have split our two countries apart into an even stronger bond. The prime minister of Japan phoned ADM Fargo to thank him personally. During the phone call, the prime minister said only the strongest friend and ally would continue to follow through in face of the tragedy in New York during which the US was attacked. —VADM Peter H. Daly
us navy photo by petty officer 3rd class lolita d. swain
Excellence in Leadership We asked the 2018 NMHS Annual Awards Dinner awardees about the role models they looked up to in their own careers, and VADM Peter Daly told us this story about the exceptional leadership shown by ADM Thomas B. Fargo during a difficult situation in 2001.
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SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 9
A CAUSE IN MOTION
The Value of Mentors and Leaders
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton
courtesy uiversity of massachusetts amherst
nmhs photo by allison lucas
courtesy michael dodge
e owe much to the critical role that individuals play as mentors, leaders, and advisors in preserving our country’s maritime heritage through saving both physical structures and maintaining the culture that sustains our maritime roots. We seek to acknowledge them at our annual awards dinners. We were proud to present NMHS awards to people like Captain Arthur Kimberly and his late wife, Gloria, in 2008, for their role in teaching the next generation of tall ship mariners, people like Bert Rogers, now executive director of Tall Ships America, and Dan Moreland, captain of the world-voyaging barque Picton Castle. That generation taught people like our own Sea History editor, Deirdre O’Regan; Stefan Edick, executive director and senior captain of the historic Gloucester schooner Adventure; and Tom Ward, master rigger, of Traditional Rigging Co. in Maine. In this issue we remember the late John Mecray (see pages 22–26), the incomparable marine artist whose vision and leadership led to the founding of the International Yacht Restoration School of Technology & Trades (IYRS) and the Museum of Yachting, both in Newport, Rhode Island. Then there are people like Richard J. King, who in his many years teaching undergraduates enrolled in the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport has mentored students, going above and beyond the typical student-teacher experience. On numerous occasions over the last several years, he has guided and encouraged students to convert their research papers into articles, suitable for publishing in Sea History. On pages 38–42 in this issue, for example, you can read “Sailing the Sharkish Seas” by Rich’s recent student Emma McCauley. Rich also writes and illustrates Sea History’s “Animals in Sea History” feature in each issue. Those with means and vision, people like Gerry Lenfest and Alix Thorne, and the late Jakob Isbrandtsen, who not only mentor but contribute generous funds as well, are of course critical to the mission, but there are many whose dedication to the cause, through volunteer hours, exper- Captain Arthur Kimberly, aboard the Brigantine Romance tise, and participation are extremely valuable in their own right. We asked our 2018 NMHS Annual Awards Dinner awardees who their mentors were, to show the range of those who have made a difference. Dr. Timothy J. Runyan acknowledges Professor Archibald R. Lewis (1914–1990), who was a US Army officer in WWII and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Professor Lewis chaired the history departments at both the University of Texas and the University of MassachusettsAmherst, and served as co-director of the Munson Institute at Mystic Seaport. Dr. Lewis was a prolific author on maritime topics; Dr. Runyan co-authored European Naval and Maritime History, 300–1500 (Indiana University Press, 1985) with him and succeeded him as editor of the American Neptune. Captain Peg Brandon, president Alix Thorne congratulates Captain Bert Rogers, of the Sea Education Association, is winner of the 2017 NMHS Distinguished Service indebted to her mentor, Dr. Susan Award. Professor Archibald R. Lewis (1914–1990) SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
photo by patrick murphy, ssus conservancy
Getting to meet and work with such essential leaders as our award recipients is a great Dr. Susan Humphris, WHOI Senior Scientist, honor. I could not choose a favorite, but I was and Vice Chair of SEA’s Board of Trustees. ADM Thomas B. Fargo, USN (Ret.) particularly impressed with past award recipients Gerry Lenfest, David Rockefeller, and Peter Aron. One of the hardest and potentially heartbreaking causes is saving our largest historic vessels. Financing them is a great gamble and act of faith, and it takes a philanthropist with vision and courage. I was inspired when I interviewed Gerry Lenfest for the award, which recognized his generosity in working to save America’s iconic ocean liner SS United States and the schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, and his key role in the building of the new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. David Rockefeller Jr. has committed himself to improving the health of the oceans. In 2004 he established a new voice to promote ocean conservation, Sailors for the Sea, which works to educate and empower the boating community to protect and restore our oceans and coastal waters. Peter Aron and his late father, Jack Aron, were instrumental in saving the barque Peking, now being restored in Hamburg, Germany. In 1990 he was responsible for bringing the Seamen’s Bank for Savings art collection to South Street Seaport Museum so it would not be lost to the public, and kept the museum afloat through some difficult years. NMHS members Gerry Lenfest in front of SS United States, an important will recognize his name as the first on our masthead, the founder of our ship in American history to which he has lent his considerPublisher’s Circle, whose support, financially and personally, has been a able support in the effort to save it from the scrapyard. mainstay for Sea History. While these individuals mentioned are indeed giants in the maritime heritage community, there are many others who play important roles in mentoring others, providing guidance and expertise, and sharing their stories that, for Sea History especially, are invaluable to our ability to fulfill our mission. Who in your life warrants inclusion on this venerable list? NMHS members: please share with us the people in your life or your local maritime organization who deserve recognition. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share their stories, and perhaps nominate the next NMHS awardees. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President
photo by tom kleindinst, © woods hole oceanographic institution
us navy photo
Humphris, professional mariner, ocean explorer, and educator, who spent years at sea in many capacities, including researching deep sea hydrovents in the deep submersible Alvin. Dr. Humphris sailed for many years at SEA as chief scientist (including when Peg Brandon was a student), served as its dean in the 1980s when Brandon was a new and up-and-coming sea captain, and more recently worked with her when she served as chair of the SEA board of trustees. Currently a senior scientist in the geology department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dr. Humphris recently returned from a two-month voyage on a drillship to the Kermadac Ridge, north of New Zealand. Admiral Pete Daly acknowledges his great debt to Admiral Tom Fargo, USN (Ret.), who commanded Pacific Fleet and the US Pacific Command. Admiral Daly worked for him at Pacific Fleet and at PACOM. A veteran submariner, Admiral Fargo, currently the chairman of Huntington Ingalls Industries, taught Admiral Daly a tremendous amount about leadership, particularly when USS Greeneville (SSN-772) collided with the Ehime Maru— a Japanese fishery high school training ship—off the southern coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Fargo’s response to an extremely tragic and delicate international situation was an example Admiral Daly has found very meaningful. (See page 8 for ADM Daly’s recollections of this effort).
“Show me a successful individual, and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 11
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
Jakob Isbrandtsen (1922–2018)
“All mornings are beautiful.”
fter serving in the US Coast Guard in both the Atlantic Howard Slotnick, NMHS chairman emeritus remembers: and Pacific theaters in World War II, NMHS Overseer Jakob Isbrandtsen went into ship chartering, and then We both kept our boats at Kretzer’s Boatyard in City joined his father in the shipping business, taking over as head of Island. The first time I saw him, I was sailing in Long Isbrandtsen Company upon his father’s death in 1953. He oversaw Island Sound. I had just cleared the breakwater at Port the business during the industry’s transformation from break-bulk Jefferson, and, with the wind piping up from the east, my shipping to containerization and led the boat was getting tossed about company through a merger with Amerby the waves. I couldn’t turn ican Export Lines. In the early 1970s, the boat around and then lost he returned to ship chartering and my dingy. At one point, I maritime arbitration before his retirelooked up to see a sleek ment. His love for sailing and the sea Sparkman & Stephens permeated his whole life; what stemmed sloop—Jakob’s Running from that passion is his legacy to us. Tide—on a broad reach, Norma and Peter Stanford founddancing from wave top to ed South Street Seaport Museum in wave top, just as sweet as they 1967, recruiting Jakob as its founding sail. Later, I met Jakob back chairman. It was his vision to purchase at City Island. We would end the 1885 iron Cape Horner Wavertree up working together on the and bring her to South Street Seaport, board for SSSM, and sharing and to save the historic buildings along many a pot of hot coffee on Schermerhorn Row. He established the Running Tide in fair weather Ship Trust of New York, Inc., in support and foul. Jakob Isbrandtsen coming aboard Wavertree carrying a of the volunteer restoration of historic handsewn hatch cover of his own making. Wavertree was ships, which included the Wavertree and South Street Seaport Museum’s a labor of love for Jakob, and there was no task he consida small fleet of working harbor vessels. president and CEO Jonathan ered beneath him, from mucking out bilges to working the Then, as the quintessential mentor, he Boulware eulogized: phones to gather support—whatever the ship needed. led the volunteer gang in restoring the ship with the motto, “Dirty work, long hours, no pay.” He was It’s fair to say that Jakob and Peter Stanford together were both generous to the museum and visionary, and he concocted the duo that breathed life into the place from the very the complex real estate deals that purchased, for the Seaport beginning… Indeed, today’s South Street Seaport Museum, the bulk of what would ultimately become the South Museum—as evidenced by its logo—is represented by Street Seaport Historic District. two large and iconic artifacts that define our very mission: Schermerhorn Row, the “first world trade center of New Norma Stanford remembers: York,” and the Wavertree. Jakob gave us both. He was It was Jakob and Joan Davidson who made it possible for always one to lead by example, mucking bilges in the hold us to quit our jobs and start the museum. Joan supported of Wavertree and all manner of dirty, difficult, and and created many cultural institutions in New York. Jakob dangerous tasks. He was the first person aboard the ship was head of American Export-Isbrandtsen Lines. He was in the morning and the last to leave. a real taskmaster, but a great man, a fair man, and proud I will never forget Jakob. There are a handful of people without of his forebears’ long history in shipping. I hope he is whom NMHS might never have survived. He is among them. sailing among the stars with all the other sailors who have More than a decade ago, when NMHS was going through a very kept our seafaring heritage alive. tough period, Jakob had sent us a generous check for a specific Joan Davidson added: project. I called him and explained our plight: that we really needed to use those funds for expenses to keep the doors open, Jakob inhabited the life of the Seaport as a cosmic spirit… but, if he would allow us to do that, we would get back on course He and Peter Stanford were the presiding geniuses! and complete the project for which the funds were originally Walking down to the seaport docks one morning, with the intended. I held my breath; it was the darkest hour here, and he water shimmering behind Wavertree’s masts in the early morning had every reason to believe we wouldn’t make it and complete his light, Peter Stanford passed Jakob, who was hurrying down Pier project. “Do what you have to do,” he said. He understood the 15 to retrieve something he’d left in his car. “God, what a morning!” struggles we went through to pursue our mission. Fair winds, Peter said to him, “It’s beautiful.” To which Jakob replied, “All Jakob, you are well remembered, and be rest assured, we will carry —Burchenal Green, NMHS President mornings are beautiful.” on. SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 13
National Maritime Historical Society 2018 Annual Awards Dinner
25 October • New York Yacht Club • New York City by Julia Church ou are cordially invited to join the National Maritime Historical Society on 25 October to celebrate three exceptional recipients for their unique contributions to our maritime heritage at the Society’s Annual Awards Dinner, held at the historic New York Yacht Club on 44th Street in New York City. This annual gala brings together those who love and serve the sea in every capacity.
Richard T. du Moulin will serve as master of ceremonies for the 2018 gala event. Video introductions of the recipients will be produced by Richardo and Alessandro Lopes of Voyage Digital Media. Entertainment will be provided by the US Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale, directed by Dr. Robert Newton. It is with great pleasure that George W. Carmany III, dinner chairman, and Christopher J. Culver, Rear Commodore of the New York Yacht Club and dinner vice chairman, announce this year’s three honorees: NMHS David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award for his work as an educator and leading advocate for our nation’s maritime heritage community. He serves as chair of the National Maritime Alliance, which represents a diverse maritime constituency and a broad range of institutions. Under his leadership, the Alliance successfully lobbied Congress and won the fight to gain continued and full funding for the National Maritime Heritage Act grants program with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2017. Dr. Runyan is also recognized for his invaluable efforts to help build the strength and outreach of the Society as a trustee and chair of Sea History’s Editorial Advisory Board. He recently served as the co-chairman of the 2017 and 2018 National Maritime Awards Dinners, promoting advocacy for maritime heritage funding in our nation’s capital. He is a founder and trustee emeritus of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, where he led the effort to preserve the 1925-built, 618-foot SS William G. Mather as a museum ship on the Cleveland lakefront. He is also the past president of the Great Lakes Historical Society, which operates the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo. When he became director of the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University, a graduate program training students in both maritime history and underwater archaeology, Dr. Runyan joined his students in the formal scientific diver training certification program and so he could participate in the program’s archaeological fieldwork. He served as a principal investigator in the 2004 survey and identification of the RussianAmerican Company barque Kad’yak, which sank in 1860 off Kodiak, Alaska. It is the oldest shipwreck found in Alaskan waters and the only Russian-American Company ship ever discovered.
photos courtesy timothy j. runyan
Dr. Timothy J. Runyan will receive the
Tim Runyan earning his square rigger chops aboard the barque-rigged USCGC Eagle as it makes its approach to the North Carolina coast. 14
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
Dr. Runyan retired from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, in 2017. He transferred from the Maritime Studies program to join the ECU Honors College Program, where he served as a Faculty Fellow and advisor. Tim Runyan is an esteemed mentor to his many former students from his long tenure at Cleveland State University, and later at Oberlin College and East Carolina University. He has guided countless college and graduate students through their academic programs and later in their professional careers. Dr. Raymond E. Ashley, President and CEO of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, will present the award. Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his exceptional leadership as CEO of the United States Naval Institute, one of the most respected professional associations and thought leaders in the United States. Comprising more than 50,000 members, the US Naval Institute has served since 1873 as an independent, non-partisan foScholar-turned-scientific-diver: Tim Runyan bravrum of the sea services and their ing Alaskan waters to carry out maritime archeolprofessional, literary, and scienogy field work with East Carolina University. tific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense. The Institute organizes conferences and meetings to promote dialogue. Its publications play a crucial role in promoting and preserving our naval and maritime history. Through his oversight, VADM Daly has effectually elevated Proceedings as a professional journal and broadened its outreach. Prior to accepting the CEO post in 2011, Vice Admiral Daly served as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, US Fleet Forces Command. His US Navy career, spanning more than thirty years, includes command of the destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59); Command of Destroyer Squadron 31; and Command of Carrier Strike Group 11 – Nimitz Strike Group. During each of these commands, he deployed to the 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility—participating in Operation Desert Strike in 1996 in USS Russell and as Sea Combat Commander for the Lincoln Battle Group in the Gulf immediately after the attack on USS Cole in 2000. As Nimitz Strike Group Commander in 2005, he led Task Forces 50, 152 and 58 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and maritime intercept operations in the Arabian Gulf. Shore assignments include Executive Assistant and Program Analyst, J-8, Joint Staff; Executive Assistant to the Commander, Pacific Fleet; and Executive Assistant to the Commander, US Pacific Command. As a flag officer, he served as Deputy for Resources and Acquisition (J-8) Joint Staff; Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy; and as Deputy N3/N5 (Operations, Plans and Strategy) in the Navy Staff. Peter Daly is a life member of the Naval Institute and former member of the Institute’s editorial board. A native of Chicago, he is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross (A.B. Economics), receiving a regular commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He holds a master’s degree in Operations Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. George W. Carmany III will present the award. Vice Admiral Peter H. Daly, Deputy Commander of US Fleet Forces Command, walks through sideboys aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) during a ship’s visit to Haiti in 2010 as part of Operation Unified Response, the US military relief mission to assist after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 12 January 2010.
usn photo by mass comm. specialist 1st class hendrick dickson
courtesy us naval institute
VADM Peter H. Daly, USN (Ret.) will receive the 2018 NMHS
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 15
S.E.A. will receive the NMHS Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education. Founded in 1971, SEA is based on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Internationally recognized as a leader in field-based environmental education at sea, SEA has taught over 8,000 students from more than 300 colleges the significance of the ocean and of its powerful role in seemingly every aspect of our lives. Students study the ocean from a multitude of academic perspectives, often from the platform of one of SEA’s two traditional sailing ships, SSV Corwith Cramer and SSV Robert C. Seamans. While the academic focus varies, each SEA program offers an interconnected suite of courses designed to explore a specific The brigantine-rigged SSV Corwith Cramer is one of two sailing oceanographic research ocean-related theme using a cross-disciplinvessels operated by Sea Education Association. The Cramer operates throughout the Atlantic, ary approach. Coursework includes marimaking port calls on both sides of the ocean. Cramer’s sister ship is the Robert C. Seamans. time policy, history and literature, ship Built in Washington State, the Seamans sails the waters of the Pacific, making port stops in navigation, and oceanography. SEA is Polynesia, Fiji, American Samoa, New Zealand, and the US West Coast. dedicated to helping its students grow in their respect for and understanding of themselves and others as well as our planet. SEA Semester®, SEA’s Boston University accredited study abroad program, is regarded as a leading off-campus Environmental Studies program where students undergo intellectual and physical challenges that combine the study of the deep ocean with the sailing adventure of a lifetime. SEA President, Captain Peg Brandon, who was recently named an Arthur Vining Davis Foundations’ Aspen Fellow for 2018, and who received the Tall Ships America Leadership Award for 2017, will accept the award.
photos courtesy of sea education association
Sea Education Association
Captain Peg Brandon, S.E.A. President
On SEA Semester voyages, students conduct original oceanographic studies. Here, with the help of an assistant scientist, a student prepares to deploy the oceanographic sampling carousel to collect water samples from the deck of SSV Robert C. Seamans. 16
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
Join Us! For the
National M aritime Historical Society ’s A nnual Awards Dinner Thursday, 25 October 2018, at the New York Yacht Club in New York City
Visit us online at www.seahistory.org/aad2018 for more information and prices. Call 914 7377878, ext. 0, or email email@example.com, to make your reservation. The National Maritime Historical Society invites sponsorship support for this event. Please call Wendy Paggiotta at 914 737-7878, ext. 235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo by joseph rudinec
This affair is traditionally sold out and seating is limited, so early responses are imperative.
The NMHS Annual Awards Dinner is held in the fabulous Model Room at the New York Yacht Club, where musical entertainment is provided by cadets with the One of the highlights of the event each year is US Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale. the silent and live auctions. From cruises to nautical antiques, signed marine art prints, and so much more, guests will find a lot to choose from. If you are unable to attend NMHS’s gala event on 25 October, let us bid for you! Call 914 737-7878, ext. 0, and we’ll set you up with your own personal bidding representative. All proceeds from the auction benefit the work of the Society. Please visit www.seahistory.org/aad2018 to view auction items.
7–NIGHT, 8-DAY CRUISE FOR TWO ON THE
Lower Mississippi River Traveling the Lower Mississippi with American Cruise Lines is an experience like no other. Our carefully selected onboard experts bring the history and culture of this region to life with award-winning enrichment programs. Live Auction generously donated by American Cruise Lines, Inc. Eligible departure date: May 18, 2019, May 25, 2019, November 16, 2019, or November 23, 2019. Double occupancy/balcony stateroom including port charges and fees along with gratuities. Valued at approximately $10,760. This cruise will be aboard either the America or the Queen of the Mississippi and will include a complimentary pre-night hotel stay.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 17
Warships for South American Rebels: Shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown Find a New Market for Frigates in South America
Battle of Lake Champlain, September 1814 p. 18 images courtesy naval history and heritage command, us navy
uring the War of 1812 (1812â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1815), Adam and Noah Brown of New York were busy shipbuilders. From the onset of the war in June 1812 they built eight privateers, the sloop-of-war Peacock for the United States Navy, the squadron for Commodore Perry on Lake Erie, the fleet for Commodore Macdonough on Lake Champlain, and the Robert Fulton-designed steam frigate Demologos for the defense of New York Harbor. In the midst of this work they also managed to build a brig and a frigate on speculation in the hope the United States Navy would purchase the vessels. The brothers were perhaps encouraged to do this by the contract for Peacock and correspondence with the secretary of the navy. Peacock was laid down in early July 1813 before the contract with the Navy had actually been signed, and was launched on 19 September. While the vessel was under construction, the Browns exchanged correspondence through New York Naval Agent John Bullis with Secretary of the Navy William Jones about going to Sacketts Harbor on Lake Ontario and building three similar sloops of war there. The Browns replied that they would leave for Sacketts Harbor with four hundred men as soon as the contract was signed. This proposal did not materialize, but discussions with Bullis and correspondence with the secretary of the navy continued.
by James Brown
Oliver Hazard Perry
In December the Browns wrote to Jones asking to be given the contract to build naval vessels authorized by Congress. In January 1814 Secretary Jones asked the Browns if they could procure the timber for a 44-gun ship and if they were ready to build the vessel. Prior to this exchange, and acting in anticipation of getting a Navy contract for new construction, the Browns had laid down two vessels, a brig and a frigate, on speculation using their own funds. The brig was probably laid down during the winter of 1813â&#x20AC;&#x201C;14 and was launched on 21 March 1814. The frigate had also likely been laid down late in 1813 and was probably launched during the spring of 1814. The Browns offered both vessels to the Navy in March 1814. The Navy had inspected the plans of both vessels while they were on Adam and Noah Brown built formidable vessels for the US Navy at their New York shipyard, but they also traveled far inland to build fleets from scratch at remote locations along the shores of Lake Erie for Oliver Hazard Perry, and Lake Champlain for Thomas Macdonough. The sloop-of-war USS Peacock, depicted here after she was rebuilt as an exploration ship, was built in less than three months at their New York shipyard in 1813. Their ability to build ships in the wilderness, from gunboats to frigates, helped give the Americans the edge in pivotal battles on the lakes in 1813 and 1814.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
bibliothèque nationale de france
River pier to be fitted out for the voyage south. The sale price was reported as $220,000, for a vessel said to have cost the Browns $80,000 to build and fit out. The inferred profit from the sale of the General Brown did indeed prove to be a windfall for Adam and Noah Brown. The transaction increased their wealth, and also may have made up for some of the out-of-pocket losses and un-reimbursed expenditures for their work during the war. The emergence of new governments as a result of revolution in many former Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and South America represented a new market for American-built warships. After concluding the sale of General Brown, the Browns, as well as other New York shipbuilders, were obviously interested in meeting the new demand. One of the new and emerging governments in South America that caught their attention was the United Provinces of South America (later known as the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata), with its capital in Buenos Aires in present-day Argentina. A declaration of independence had been signed 9 July 1816, and General José de San Martín, commander of the nation’s forces, took his army west over the Andes into Chile where he achieved a victory in January 1817. Allied with Chilean revolutionary Bernardo O’Higgins, they planned a campaign to move against Valparaiso from the sea. To do this, they would need warships. The United Provinces sent a delegation to the United States to either buy or build suitable vessels. Two men were selected to do this job, Don Manuel Hermenegildo de Aguirre and Gregorio Gomez. Aguirre was given the honorary title of Commissioner General of War and Marine. The two men sailed for the United States and arrived in Baltimore in July 1817. The envoys hurried to Washington, where they met with interim secretary of state Richard Rush. Rush was filling in while the new secretary of state, John AdAlexandre Sabès Pétion was the first president of the Republic of Haiti, from 1807 until his death in 1818. His purchase of the frigate General Brown (ex-Warrior) in 1815 was the first sale abroad for the Browns.
keepscases, cc by s.a 3.0 wikipedia
the stocks and declined to purchase them, claiming they were “not the kind of vessels desired.” While discussions with the Navy continued, Noah Brown departed for Lake Champlain in February to build vessels for Commodore Thomas Macdonough. In his absence, Adam Brown finished the frigate and she was launched that spring. The Browns would continue to try to persuade the Navy to buy the ships, but in the meantime they used the brig, christened as Warrior, as a privateer, and she successfully took six prizes in late 1814 and early 1815. The end of the War of 1812 found the frigate still unsold, but with the peace came new prospects for both vessels. Warrior went into merchant service, sailing Caribbean routes. With no other buyer for the frigate, Adam and Noah Brown fitted her out as a merchant vessel and renamed her General Brown. She was the first New Yorkbuilt vessel registered in New York in 1815. She made a single voyage to Cadiz, but due to her size proved to be uneconomical to operate. The Browns began looking around, again, for a new buyer and began exploring options beyond their usual client base. The New York shipbuilders were finally able to find a buyer for the brig in the fall of 1815. The General Brown would go to the new Republic of Haiti, then headed by President Alexandre Pétion. In October General Brown was moved to a North
With the close of the War of 1812, the Browns had to find a new market for their ships. They found good prospects in new United Provinces of South America, which needed ships to achieve its goals of taking Valparaiso from seaward. This graphic shows the area under various states of control by the United Provinces in 1816. ams, was returning from Europe. The United States was in a sensitive position regarding the rebel governments in South America and was in negotiation with Spain over several issues, including the purchase of Spanish territory in Florida. Because of this, Aguirre was told he was free to buy vessels in the United States, but that he could not arm or equip them for war. Aguirre and Gomez then made their way to New York. The most likely point of contact in the New York shipbuilding community at that time would have been Henry Eckford. One of the best-known shipbuilders in the region, Eckford had just taken a new job as naval constructor for New York on 1 June 1817 and was busy in his new post with government work. Nevertheless, Eckford was able to help the envoys, sharing his contacts with them, including his neighbors Adam and Noah Brown, whose shipyard butted up against his own. By the end of August Aguirre had come to an agreement with the Browns and with Foreman Cheesman, another prominent shipbuilder, to
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 19
nhhc, us navy
build the hulls of two 28-gun corvettes of about 700 tons, for $40 per ton. They were to have a finished cost of $80,000, which would include armament. The Browns would build one vessel in their yard using the building slip covered by the large “ship house.” The Cheesman vessel would be built nearby in the Eckford yard that adjoined the Brown property. Given the limited amount of funds the envoys had to spend, the vessels would be built as flush-deck corvettes, rather than frigates with raised forecastle and quarterdecks, likely similar to the sloop-of-war Peacock, which the Browns had built for the US Navy in 1813. Both corvettes were laid down in early September 1817. Shortly after the two vessels were laid down, Eckford apparently decided to build a third vessel on speculation, hoping to find another foreign buyer. There is some evidence that Adam and Noah Brown built this ship under contract for Eckford. Since the Brown shipyard abutted Eckford’s yard, she was likely built there along with the Cheesman vessel. Aguirre had hoped to keep the true destination of the vessels secret, but while the vessels were on the stocks the Spanish Counsel to the United States, Don Luis de Onis, figured out the ruse. De Onis began to work against what he saw as a threat against Spain. Given the sensitive dealings between the US and Spain, Aguirre now feared that the Neutrality Act passed by Congress on 3 March 1817 would not allow the vessels to be completed. In response to this situation, he went back to Washington to meet with the new secretary of state, John Adams. Aguirre met with Adams and relayed his discussion with Rush in July. Adams referred Aguirre to lawyers, who told him the Neutrality Act might bring confiscation of the ships. Aguirre went back to New York still unclear about what would happen next. But American sentiment turned against Spain, and Adams steered the country’s sympathies and allowed his own prorebel leanings to govern his actions. The policies of the United States government were also shifting in favor of the rebels, but not quickly enough to benefit the shipbuilders. The United States was still concerned
Henry Eckford with the possibility of war with Spain and how that would impact the negotiations over Florida. Back in New York City, Aguirre watched as the Brown-built corvette, now named Horatio, was launched from the shipyard at the end of November, 1817. Several days later, the Cheesman corvette— Curacio—was splashed into the East River from Eckford’s yard. The third vessel, to be called Regulus, was still on the stocks in the shipyard. Horatio and Curacio were about the same size, with Horatio measuring out at 865 burthen tons and Curacio measuring 851 burthen tons. The similarity in size also suggests that both vessels were built from the same model. Regulus, the third corvette at 877 burthen tons, was launched on 20 December 1817. Regulus was 147 feet on deck; it had a beam of 36½ feet and a depth of hold of 18 feet 3 inches. Not long after Horatio was launched, Adam Brown died, leaving Noah Brown to run the business on his own. Both Horatio and Curacio were towed to a pier on the North River, where they were to be fitted out for the voyage south. Regulus remained at a wharf at the Eckford yard. By the end of January 1818, the two corvettes were finished and ready to sail, but by then money problems had beset the envoys, and diplomatic concerns seemed even more daunting.
Noah Brown traveled to Black Rock, south of Buffalo, New York, in late December 1817 to build Walk-in-the-Water, the first steamboat for the upper Great Lakes. When he returned to New York in May 1818, diplomatic maneuvering between the United States, Spain, and the United Provinces was in full swing. Although Noah Brown and Foreman Cheesman would have been paid for building the hulls of the two corvettes, the envoys still owed them a considerable sum of money for completion work on both Horatio and Curacio. Aguirre sent his partner, Gregorio Gomez, back to Buenos Aires to explain the need for additional funds, while Aguirre continued to parry the Spanish efforts to stop the sailing of the two corvettes. In July the Spaniards managed to have Aguirre arrested for violation of the Neutrality Act, accusing him of readying the two corvettes for sea. Aguirre spent several days in jail before a New York judge released him, declaring there was no proof the vessels were intended for hostile operations. On 29 July, Captain Joseph Skinner of Horatio and Captain Paul Delano of Curacio were both arrested on the same charges. They were also released by the same judge, but this action sent Aguirre scurrying back to Washington to again consult with Adams while de Onis complained about the lack of justice for the Spaniards. In the capital, Aguirre offered to sell the two corvettes to the United States government, an offer that Adams declined. This time, though, Aguirre found a more sympathetic United States stance toward the United Provinces. As a result of a US diplomatic mission to Buenos Aires, the Americans now viewed the rebels more favorably. Without receiving formal approval, Aguirre must have been given the verbal permission to sail, and he promptly returned to New York. There was still the matter of money owed for fitting out the two corvettes. Aguirre was able to borrow enough funds by issuing notes to satisfy the liens of the vessels. The creditors were paid and the corvettes were free to sail. Still, Aguirre was required to post a bond against violation of the Neutrality SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
Act before the vessels could put to sea. Horatio and Curacio departed New York on 2 September 1818, with their armament and other equipment transported in another vessel. Both corvettes arrived in Buenos Aires on 12 November 1818. After some delay, Curacio took aboard her armament and sailed for Chile, where she participated in the liberation of Peru under the new name of Independencia. Horatio’s fate was quite different. Captain Joseph Skinner had sailed from New York with a note for 69,544 pesos to be paid upon arrival in Buenos Aires. Wary of efforts to take possession of the corvette without settling the debt, Skinner sailed for Rio de Janeiro, where he sold the vessel to the Portuguese government to satisfy the debt. In the end, Horatio did not go to her intended owners. Finally, Henry Eckford did not find a ready buyer for Regulus. He advertised the vessel while the ship was on the stocks, and the ads continued to run through the end of the year. Eckford offered the ship to the US Navy and was turned down. Regulus was ultimately sold the following August to Spanish government interests, demonstrating that there was no political bias on the part of New York shipbuilders—money talked. Regulus put to sea for Havana at about the same time as the other two corvettes departed New York. She was also required to post a bond of $140,000, said to be twice the value of the vessel. New York shipbuilders would continue to take new contracts from foreign governments and build warships into the 1860s, but as one of the first attempts to build vessels in 1817 the story of the three corvettes is a study in diplomacy mixed with Yankee shipbuilding skills. The late James G. Brown (1946–2018) was a lifelong sailor, having grown up racing boats on the waters of Lake Michigan, Long Island Sound, and Casco Bay in Maine. He spent forty-seven years working in investment banking, but he was also an active amateur maritime historian and genealogist; he recently served as a trustee of the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum/USS Slater in Albany. In the course of his genealogy research, Jim discovered he was a first cousin, six times removed, of shipbuilder William Henry
Brown, builder of the original 1851 schooner yacht America and nephew of the famous New York shipbuilders Adam and Noah Brown. His article “William Henry Brown and the Building of the Schooner America” was published in the summer 2013 issue of Sea History. After we had accepted this article for publication in Sea History, his wife, Alison, informed us of his passing. Fair Winds Jim, and thank you for sharing your work with us.
NOTES <?> Letter from A. & N. Brown to Secretary Jones, 29 June 1813. Letter requests a contract for the sloop of war and states “she has already been started.” National Archives, Misc. Letters, 4:121. <?> Letter from Secretary Jones to John Bullis, 24 August 1813, National Archives, Washington, DC, Private letters 1 Feb. 1813–20 Jan. 1814, p. 62. <?> Letter from Secretary of the Navy Jones to Commodore Chauncey, 19 September 1813, National Archives, Washington, DC, Private letters 1 Feb. 1813–20 Jan. 1814, pp. 69–70. <?> Letter from Secretary of the Navy Jones to A. & N. Brown, 16 December 1813, National Archives, Washington, DC, Misc. Letters, 7:98. <?> Letter from Secretary of the Navy Jones to A. & N. Brown, 12 January 1814, National Archives, Washington, DC, General Letters, 12:72. <?> The National Advocate, New York, NY, 21 March 1814, “A man of war brig pierced for 22 guns will be launched from the shipyard of Adam and Noah Brown about half past 8 o’clock this morning.” <?> Letter from A. & N. Brown, 8 March 1814, National Archives, Washington, DC, Misc. Letters, 2:85. <?> Letter from Secretary of the Navy Jones to A. & N. Brown, 15 March 1814, National Archives, Washington, DC, General Letters, 12:136-37. <?> Albion, Robert G., The Rise of New York Port, Charles Scribner & Sons, New York, NY, 1939, p. 307. <?> Farmer’s Register, Troy, NY, 23 January 1816. <?> Bemis, Samuel Flagg, Early Diplomatic
Missions From Buenos Aires to the United States 1811–1824, American Antiquarian Society, April 1939, pp. 49–55. <?> Chapelle, Howard I., The Search for Speed Under Sail, p. 256. <?> The Executive Documents printed by order of The House of Representatives during the Second Session of the Forty-Second Congress, 1871–72, in Eighteen Volumes, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1872, p. 212. <?> New York Columbian, New York, NY, 24 November 1817. <?> New York Daily Advertiser, New York, NY, 26 February 1819. <?> Executive Documents, pp. 57–60. <?> New York Columbian, 24 November 1817. <?> Holdcamper, Forest R., List of American-Flag Merchant Vessels That Received Certificates of Enrollment at the Port of New York, 1789–1867, Washington, DC: US National Archives, 1968 REF HE565. U5A43, p. 156, 329. <?> Selig, Steven M., Draughts, The Henry Eckford Story, Agreka History Preserved, www.historypreserved.com, Scottsdale, AZ, 2008, p. 109. <?> Daily Advertiser, New York, 5 January 1818. <?> Early Diplomatic Missions From Buenos Aires to the United States 1811–1824, p. 71. <?> Ibid, pp. 71–72. <?> Ibid, p. 73. <?> National Advocate, New York, NY, 2 September 1818. <?> Long Island Star, Brooklyn, NY, 9 September 1818. <?> Dutch Newspaper Zieirkzeesche Courant, 19 February 1819, cited in a blog posting 30 December 2011, http://warshipsresearch.blogspot.com/. <?> Early Diplomatic Missions From Buenos Aires to the United States 1811–1824, p. 73. <?> Ibid. <?> New York Columbian, New York, 26 December 1817. <?> Selig, Steven M., Draughts, The Henry Eckford Story, Agreka History Preserved, www.historypreserved.com, Scottsdale, AZ, 2008, p. 109. <?> National Advocate, New York, 2 September 1818.
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John Mecray: A Celebration of Life, Art, and Yachting by Julia Church
Through my paintings I have tried to portray what I believe to be some of the most magnificent objects ever created, classic sailing vessels—particularly the large racing yachts from the mid-1800s through the 1930s. For a sailor, they are evocative in a most compelling way. For an artist, they are truly inspiring, with an endless variety of interaction of shapes, patterns and lines to delight the eye: From the shivery essence of soaring sails, to the moving hull, a perfect example of form following function. —John Mecray
John Mecray’s artistic talents became apparent early on, and, as a young man, he won several awards as a student in the Cape May, New Jersey, public school system. In 1954 he was accepted at the prestigious Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), where he studied illustration and painting. He served two-and-a-half years in the US Army stationed in Germany and became a set and graphic designer for the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, and an illustrator for the Seventh Army Headquarters’ Psychological Warfare Company. After his return to the United States and graduation from art school, he enjoyed a successful career as a freelance illustrator in Philadelphia during the 1960s, during which time he illustrated four books, including a scout manual, created magazine illustrations, and developed a long list of advertising clients.
photos and images courtesy of the estate of john mecray
mong modern marine artists, John Mecray gained an international reputation as a major talent who, through his art, successfully captured the spirit of classic racing yachts, their power and grace, and moreover imparted his own loveof-subject. His masterful paintings depict the long, wooden yachts of the America’s Cup races of the early twentieth century—the J-Class yachts that were at the cutting edge of design and considered the peak racers of the era, when the Universal Rule determined eligibility in the America’s Cup. Today, only a few of these grand yachts still exist. Mecray’s legacy lives on not only through his art, but also through his work to support restoration efforts; he is well-known for his role in the founding of the Museum of Yachting and the International Yacht Restoration School (now IYRS School of Technology & Trades) in Newport, Rhode Island. The maritime heritage comJohn Mecray munity lost a valuable friend and important (1937–2017) advocate when John Mecray died last November in Jamestown, Rhode Island, of acute myeloid leukemia. He was 80 years old.
A Change in Course
In 1972, Mecray received an invitation to crew on a 40-foot sailboat bound for St. Thomas, a sailing trip that proved life-changing. The experience awakened in him something profound, and he discovered new subject matter for his canvases. After a second voyage, this new passion had taken hold and he was creating marine scenes. Nineteenth-century marine artist James E. Buttersworth, one of the foremost American ship portraitists of the golden age of steam and sail, was a major inspiration for Mecray; the acquisition of one of Butterworth’s works ultimately sealed his determination to produce realistic images of the sea and seafaring. In 1976, after a third passage to the Virgin Islands, Mecray walked away from a successful career as an illustrator in Philadelphia to move to Newport, Rhode Island, and dedicate himself to marine painting—a career move that ultimately brought him even greater acclaim. He established a studio on Thames Street, near the historic harbor. In 1977 his work was featured in the America’s Cup issue of Yachting magazine. Shortly afterwards, Ted Turner
Departing New York, June 2nd 1851 22
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
New York Harbor, May 14th 1851 • oil on Belgian linen • 28 x 50 inches commissioned him to paint the 1977 America’s Cup winner, Courageous; more commissions soon followed. Nine offshore yacht deliveries between New England, Bermuda, and the Caribbean transformed Mecray into an accomplished sailor and gave the artist an intimate knowledge of the effects of wind, sea, and light on a variety of sailing vessel types. His ability to portray yachts with attention to detail and an understanding of sailing, along with an emphasis on historical accuracy, made his works appealing to collectors.
J-Boat Rainbow, Powering Ahead
The 23rd defense of the America’s Cup took place in Newport in 1977. It proved to be a Courageous summer, with both Gary Jobson and Ted Turner buying paintings and establishing long-term friendships. Mecray also published his first yachting print of the J-Class Sloop Rainbow, which was also featured in Yachting magazine and is considered by many to be John Mecray’s most iconic image depicting the pure thrill of big-boat racing. Marguerite Riordan, noted art and antique dealer of Stonington, Connecticut, served as Mecray’s long-time mentor and agent from 1981 to 2008, producing well-received major exhibitions of original paintings and drawings and retrospectives of several years’ work. In 1987 Mecray began creating limited-edition prints and giclées of his oil paintings, which were first published by the Mystic Seaport Museum. Forty-six limited editions and six open editions were published and met with overwhelming success. In 1988, the first major exhibition of his marine paintings was presented at Marguerite Riordan’s gallery and was an immediate success. The opening reception for his 1996 show included a celebration, when he married the love of his life, Mary Gillette, on the grounds of the Newport Art Museum, with Reverend Frank S. Murray, captain for 36 years of the schooner yacht Coronet, presiding. SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 23
Fastnet ’79 • 18 x 43 inches: At dawn on the morning of the fatal Fastnet race of 1979, when a freak storm blew up in the Irish Sea and
bore down on the 306-boat fleet. Fifteen yachtsmen, three rescuers, and five yachts were lost. The painting was commissioned by Gary Jobson, who is depicted in this scene at the helm of Ted Turner’s Tenacious, which went on to win the race. A small edition of 450 prints was published, all countersigned by Jobson.
Restoration Work It is not so much about the funding; it is about the understanding of what an historic artifact means, and why you would go to so much trouble to save it.—JM In 1980, John Mecray read an article about the 1885 schooner yacht Coronet in WoodenBoat magazine. Coronet was considered by many to be the finest sailing yacht of its day, and after visiting the yacht in Gloucester, Massachusetts, he explored options to see if the 133-foot schooner that originally belonged to Arthur Curtis James, a wealthy speculator in copper mines and railroads, could be restored. He subsequently painted three works depicting Coronet and published a print, with most of the proceeds going to a museum fund to
Reaching Off Soundings • 25 x 49 inches
Coronet blasting out of the fog.
stabilize and help maintain the yacht. A small group of friends met in his Thames Street studio regularly to discuss the possibility of starting a museum in honor of yachting in Newport and take up the effort to return the yacht to her original splendor; in 1979, the Museum of Yachting opened at Fort Adams State Park.
IYRS: In 1992, John Mecray joined forces with Elizabeth Meyer to found the International Yacht Restoration School. When the doors opened at its Newport waterfront location in 1993, IYRS offered instruction in Boatbuilding and Restoration. Today, in addition to this original program, the school offers programs in Composites Technology, Marine Systems, and Digital Modeling and Fabrication. 24
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
In 1993 he helped found the International Yacht Restoration School, now known as IYRS School of Technology & Trades, and served as a trustee. IYRS took ownership of Coronet two years later and moved it to the school’s Newport waterfront location. Since its founding, the institution has gained worldwide recognition as a maker-builder school with an exceptional program for individuals who are passionate about “thinking through their hands” and making the most of modern technology to restore vintage vessels. To date, IYRS School of Technology & Trades has successfully brought back numerous vessels and trained students in specialized disciplines that are in demand for today’s workforce. The school has evolved to offer four accredited programs: Digital Modeling & Fabrication, Composites Technology, Boatbuilding & Restoration, and Marine Systems. Additionally, IYRS has collaborated with post-secondary schools of architecture, preservation, industrial design, and engineering through short-term classes, including projects with MIT, Harvard, RISD, Roger Williams, Salve Regina University, and others.
Schooner Yacht Coronet, 1885 • oil Coronet was one of the most elegant yachts of its day, designed for crossing the ocean in style, and featured a marble staircase, stained glass doors, mahogany paneled staterooms, and a piano in the main salon. It was built by the C. & R. Poillon Shipyard in Brooklyn for Rufus T. Bush, off plans designed by William Townsend. Since 1995, the vessel has been on the IYRS campus undergoing restoration. In 2006, Coronet Restoration Partners purchased the project to continue this important restoration effort.
Shamrock V • 20 x 48 inches: Shamrock V was the first British yacht to be built to the new J-Class rule and the only remaining J-Class
to have been built in wood. She was commissioned by Sir Thomas Lipton for his fifth America’s Cup challenge. Although refitted several times, Shamrock is the only J-Class never to have fallen into dereliction.
John Mecray’s Legacy
John Mecray was a treasured member of the maritime community and contributed to it on so many levels: through his art, in helping to create and fund restoration projects, by working to establish museums, and co-founding IYRS. He was also an active and generous member of the National Maritime Historical Society, New York Yacht Club Fine Arts Committee, Mystic Seaport Museum’s Yachting Committee, the Fort Worth Boat Club, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Herreshoff Marine Museum. In 2007 the National Maritime Historical Society recognized Mecray with its Distinguished Service Award at its annual awards dinner held at the New York Yacht Club in New York City, in recognition of his devotion and influence in preserving our maritime heritage, and for his work in helping to preserve the historic schooner Coronet. SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 25
The Run to Block Island
The Sparkman & Stephens yachts Dorade (left) and Sonny (right) are shown in a good breeze, as they sail on a broad reach past Castle Hill Light on Aquidneck Island, Narragansett Bay. Built in 1930 and 1935 respectively, both yachts survived not only the Depression, but also World War II. Their longevity is a testimony to their designer, Olin Stephens and his brother Rod—who oversaw the project, their builders, and especially their owners, who have lovingly cared for these classic beauties. Today it’s not unusual to see the two yachts with similar hulls just over 52 feet, but very different rigs, jousting in the waters off Newport where they have summered for several years, actively competing in numerous yachting events and berthed with other classics at the IYRS docks. Mecray was also a major supporter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and donated one of his limited-edition prints to each of 45 Leukemia Cup regattas held throughout the country as fundraisers. The prints were featured items in the regatta auctions and helped to raise funds for the fight against leukemia/lymphoma. John Mecray’s paintings of the great racing yachts continue to be prized by collectors. Most of his limited editions are now sold out and continue to appreciate on the secondary art market. His powerful images have given us a new perspective and greater appreciation of the classic racing yachts that are his trademark and the lasting images that are his legacy.
The largest racing sloop that ever sailed was painted here as a full-rigged portrait and published for the Herreshoff Marine Museum. The 143-foot yacht handily beat Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock in the 1903 America’s Cup races off New York.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
Model Ships by Ray Guinta
North of Charleston by Roger Dale Brown
P.O. Box 74 Leonia, NJ 07605 201-461-5729
Fun & Informative Events & Fellowship
www.modelshipsbyrayguinta.com e-mail: email@example.com Experienced ship model maker who has been commissioned by the National Maritime Historical Society and the USS Intrepid Museum in NYC.
Explore Historic Charleston
Please Join Us! AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MARINE ARTISTS 40th Anniversary Retreat
Painting Demos by Roger Dale Brown, Dee Beard Dean & Don Maitz
Plein Air Painting Outings
November 1-4, 2018 Charleston, SC Join ASMA Online and Register Early for the Retreat... Participation is Limited. For More Info go to
ASMA Invitational Show at the Principle Gallery
2019 Calendar NEW! Tall Ships There are few things on the high seas more dramatic than the great clouds of sail raised by traditional full-rigged ships. This edition of Tall Ships features “America’s Tall Ship” Eagle, the Chilean barquentine Esmeralda, the clipperrigged Morgenster, the new Peruvian barque Union, and many more. Calendar is wall hanging, full color Size 13.75” x 20.6” open.
$15.95 or $14.36 for NMHS members. Add $5.50 media mail s/h within the US.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 27
In Search of the Lig
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Tall Ships A merica TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2019 by Erin Short, TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Director
TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2019 * Dates & route are subject to change
* Dates & ports are subject to change
BROCKVILLE, ON AUG.30-SEPT.1
MIDLAND, ON AUGUST 9-11
TORONTO, ON JUNE 29 - JULY 1 GREEN BAY, WI JULY 25-28 KENOSHA, WI AUGUST 1 - 4
CANADIAN PORTS US PORTS
BAY CITY, MI JULY 18-21
SARNIA, ON AUGUST 9-11 BUFFALO, NY JULY 4-7 KINGSVILLE, ON AUGUST 16-18
ERIE, PA AUGUST 22-26 CLEVELAND, OH JULY 11-14
In the summer of 2019, Tall Ships America will once again bring a fleet of tall ships to the Great Lakes, the world’s largest body of fresh surface water, as part of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2019 race series. Join us as the tall ships race through the Great Lakes making port appearances in cities throughout the US and Canada.
courtesy bluenose ii
An international fleet of tall ships will sail its way through the Great Lakes next summer as participants in Tall Ships America’s TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2019 Race Series. This will be the seventh time the series has visited the Great Lakes, and twenty magnificent ships representing the Great Age of Sail are expected to take part. Between July and September 2019, the ships will be visiting the following ports: Toronto, ON; Buffalo, NY; Cleveland, OH; Bay City, MI; Green Bay, WI; Kenosha, WI; Sarnia, ON; Midland, ON; Kingsville, ON; Erie, PA, and Brockville, ON. Leading the fleet will be the iconic Canadian schooner and ambassador of Nova Scotia, Bluenose II, and the worldvoyaging barque Picton Castle. Bluenose II is sailing again after an extensive rebuild, and this will be a celebratory tour of the heartland for her. Picton Castle will have just completed her seventh round-the-world voyage, and her crew will have many stories to tell and adventures to share with visitors in every port. Appledore IV, Appledore V, Denis Sullivan, Empire Sandy, Fair Jeanne, Friends Good Will, Inland Seas, Madeline, Mystic Whaler, Niagara, Playfair, Porcupine, Pride of Baltimore II, Red Witch, St. Lawrence II, Windy, and others will join Bluenose II and Picton Castle as they sail throughout the Lakes next summer. Tall Ships America is the hub for tall ships activity, information, and expertise in North America, and is commended by the United States Congress as the national sail training organization representing the United States. As a national membership organization, Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training and tall ships through professional development grants, sail training scholarships, conferences, education, publications, regulatory and licensing information, public events, and advocacy. Tall Ships America organizes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® annual series of tall ship races and maritime port festivals to celebrate our rich maritime heritage and traditions and to inform the general public about the transformative power of adventure and education under sail. (www.sailtraining.org)
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
The Flagship Niagara League is a 501 (C) 3, non-profit educational associate organization of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), chartered to facilitate citizen participation and operation of the U.S. Brig Niagara and its homeport, Erie Maritime Museum. The Lettie G. Howard is owned by the South Street Seaport Museum and is operated as a programmatic collaboration between the South Street SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 31 Museum and Flagship Niagara League. Photo courtesy South Street Seaport Museum.
The Greatest Port That Never Was
The Environmental History of Jamaica Bay
etween Brooklyn and Queens is a large, peaceful estuary oft taken for granted by those who live around it. Aside from its use as a source for fishing or a platform on which to zip around in recreational watercraft, few give any thought at all to the complex and oftentimes highly dynamic history that was involved in transforming Jamaica Bay into the body of water it is known as today. The first European eyes to sight the bay were likely those of Henry Hudson and his crew, who, believing it to be the mouth to a great river, recorded it in their ships’ logs in 1609. Of course, they were not the very first people to see the bay, however, and for generations before that, the area’s shoreline served as home to a number of native tribes, many of whom would leave their names behind for the areas that they inhabited. The Canarsie, the Reckowacky (who gave their name to Rockaway), and the Maspit (Maspeth) were among the many who fished the bountiful waters during the warm summer months. The bay was so prosperous that, according to archaeological findings, there were as many as thirteen different settlement sites located within a three-mile area of its shoreline. One tribe, however, seemed to be of particular importance to this early, preEuropean society of hunter-gatherers. They
by Ray Vann
New York City
nd g I sl a
were the Jameco, and it was from them that we today take the name Jamaica Bay. These early groups were among the first to alter the shape of the bay and its shores, chopping down trees to construct their homes and canoes, gathering the plentiful sea life for food and wampum, and leaving vast mountains of discarded shells stacked high along the beaches. These large mounds of shells, known as middens, would remain in place for centuries, many surviving well into the late nineteenth century, long after the last of the native tribes had left or died out. The Dutch were the first Europeans to make any real attempts at settling the
land around Jamaica Bay, attracted by the area’s flat, fertile soil. Immigrants from the Netherlands set up a few small mills as well, hoping to take advantage of the cool sea breezes and clean waters. Crops grew well on the low-lying plains, most of which required only minimal clearing, and cattle grazed freely on the salt marsh grasses while fish and shellfish provided a welcome change to the farmers’ otherwise mundane diet. Eventually the Dutch would be replaced by the English, who took control of the region in 1664, erecting even more settlements around Jamaica Bay. By 1865 their descendants had converted more than
library of congress
“Typhoid Oysters of Jamaica Bay.” After hundreds of people were taken ill with gastroenteritis or typhoid fever from eating oysters harvested from the contaminated waters of Jamaica Bay, the shellfishing industry was shut down entirely in the 1920s.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
library of congress
3,000 acres of land around the bay for agricultural use, producing, among other things, more than 100,000 bushels of potatoes and tens of thousands of pounds of other fruits and vegetables each year. The fisheries in and around Jamaica Bay would thrive even more than their agricultural counterparts, with some sources describing shellfishing in Jamaica Bay as “the best in New York state, if not in the nation as a whole,” and by 1904 a whopping 350,000 bushels of market oysters were being pulled out of its waters annually. The shellfishing industry would be one of the first affected adversely by the manmade changes to the bay, however, when sewage, a byproduct of the rapid urbanization along its shores, started to be dumped into the waters by the ton. By the early 1920s, the sheer volume of sewage—50,000,000 gallons daily according to some sources—led to the contamination of nearly twenty-one square miles of bay water. In 1911 alone, more than a hundred cases of gastroenteritis and twenty-seven cases of typhoid fever were attributed to eating the shellfish harvested there. As a result of this health risk, city officials decided to shutter the oyster and clamming industry in the area for good in 1921, warning merchants and connoisseurs that, because of the fact that between a quarter and a third of all of the city’s oysters came from these now fouled waters, they should expect a shortage in the coming years. It was not until years later that the city decided to construct a major sewage treatment plant along the shores of the bay, hoping to cleanup the much-maligned body of water. The biggest impetus for this clean up would come during the 1960s and 70s, culminating in the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972, which helped to get the modern treatment plants seen all around the bay’s perimeter built. For the fishing industry in the area, however, this measure was a case of too little, too late; the damage was already done. While pollution might have halted the development of one industry, another was soon to follow. By the close of the nineteenth century, city planners were already finding new ways to use the bay now that the fisheries were decimated. Intent on the creation of a new
“The city of New York in co-operation with the Federal government is about to begin at Jamaica Bay a scheme of construction of channels, bulkheads, and the reclamation of land, which, when ultimately completed, will provide this port with 150 additional miles of water front.” The grand plan for Jamaica Bay, as depicted on the front cover of the 2 July 1910 issue of Scientific American, was widely touted but never realized. port to handle the ever-growing volume of shipping flowing into New York, many set their eyes upon the calm, protected waters of Jamaica Bay with ideas for a future commercial harbor. In 1910 the federal government, working with city officials, would take the first steps towards this vision when
it began to dredge portions of the bay so that larger ships could navigate its waters. Canals were dug and channels carved, dramatically increasing the volume of water in the bay. The mean depth of Jamaica Bay soared from just three to thirteen feet, while an estimated 1,400 acres of marshland were
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 33
Floyd Bennett Field, New York’s first commercial airport, was built on Barren Island in 1928. It was built on terrain created with sand and fill, and dredge materials from the bay. When WWII broke out, it became part of New York Naval Air Station. In the 1970s, most of the property was turned over to the National Park Service. 34
SS President Harding
us lines postcard, p.d.
around the bay. A smaller-than-imagined concrete pier was also started for further use offloading fill, but the momentum soon was lost and work on this project ground to a halt. In the end, only one pier, 400 feet short of the one originally planned for, was built in Canarsie. It remains in place to this day, and has become a popular spot for local fishermen and picnicking families to gather throughout the year. The end of World War I brought about a small renaissance for the idea of turning the bay into a great port when the US Shipping Board’s Emergency Corporation opted to use Jamaica Bay as a temporary storage site for its fleet of mothballed merchant and naval ships. The first of these vessels entered Jamaica Bay on 4 March 1921, reigniting the stagnant hopes of many in the bay’s ability to play home to ships of such a large size. To build upon these reinvigorated hopes, a group of advocates chartered SS President Harding and toured Britain, France, and Germany, waving a blue flag with the words “Jamaica Bay Harbor” boldly displayed, attempting to secure overseas support for their cause. Flatbush Avenue was extended during this time, and by 1923 it would reach across to the bottom of Barren Island right up to the Rockaway Inlet.
photo by michael sedwick, wikipedia commons, (cc)
flooded in the process. Additionally, in anticipation of the future bulkheads and piers, natural streams were either stopped altogether or turned into basins, and a number of the smaller islands that dotted the waters were consolidated to form larger ones capable of sustaining the infrastructure necessary for creating a port that local officials hoped would become the envy of the world. Further plans were drawn up, calling for the construction of numerous canals and larger islands around the bay, plus a series of new rail lines to carry the vast quantities of anticipated imported goods from the area to market within the city. A few of the more ambitious plans even sought to cut a grand canal across the east end of the Rockaway peninsula to link Jamaica Bay with Great South Bay. In 1918, additional steps were taken towards the construction of the port when the city approved the construction of fourteen piers, all to be 1,000 feet long and 200 feet across, on Barren Island at the western edge of Jamaica Bay and at Mill Basin to the north. The first of these piers was slated for use by the Sanitation Department on Barren Island, where it would serve as an offloading point for landfill destined to expand other areas under development
Unfortunately for those who supported the project, soaring projected costs again put their grand idea on the backburner and, after a few years of stagnation, the plan was abandoned once more. Hope returned for a brief moment in 1933 when a 500-ton freighter pulled into Canarsie and people envisioned more to follow, but interest departed with the ship when it went on its way. One final, last-ditch effort to increase the appeal of the bay was made when supporters sought to bring the 1939 World’s Fair to Jamaica Bay’s shores, but this, too, was met with failure, dashing the final hopes of many who still held on that their plan might someday be revived. The city’s interest in the bay did have some lasting benefit, however; and due to this interest the city’s very first airport, Floyd Bennett Field, was constructed on Barren Island. Up through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, Barren Island had been New York City’s primary dumping ground for animal carcasses that cropped up by the thousands each year on the city’s streets. The corpses, mostly horses, were hauled to a cove on the western end of Barren Island known as Dead Horse Bay, where they were boiled down into glue at rendering plants. The plan to build Floyd Bennett Field was, in part, an effort to shutter these factories. Advocates reasoned that if they could get the airport built, the city would need to close the factories to boost the impression of the city to visitors. After all, it would be a pretty poor impression of a city if, just before pulling into a brand-new port or shiny new air field, one first had to pass towers of rotting carcasses and mounds of refuse. Once city planners decided to go ahead with building an airfield on Barren Island, they were met with new problems. To transform the island into a site capable of sustaining international flights, the city would SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
need to fill in a smaller waterway known as Flatlands Bay. Engineering plans for the airfield would also require much of the 387 acres that comprised Barren Island to be covered with sand, raising the land some sixteen feet from its original height and destroying the native cord grass in the process. Fill was also used to connect Barren Island to the mainland of Brooklyn, filling in the narrow waterway around where Flatbush Avenue now crosses Avenue U. Floyd Bennett Field would play a major role in the early days of aviation. Pioneering aviators like Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, Wrong-Way Corrigan, and Charles Lindberg all flew out of the new airport, and several historic aviation firsts began on Jamaica Bay’s shores. Despite all of the early contributions and successes of Floyd Bennett Field, however, it would soon be overshadowed by its far larger cousin on the bay’s opposite shore. In 1947 the city decided to build a newer and even larger airport on the eastern side of the bay, choosing Idlewild marsh as a suitable location. This area, a staggering 4,527 acres of relatively untouched
marshland, was soon completely filled in, and nearly fifty-three million cubic meters of sand were pulled from the bay floor to create what we know today as John F. Kennedy International Airport. The sole reminder of the once wild marshland can be occasionally seen in the flocks of geese that have become something of a nuisance to pilots in recent years, with all other traces firmly buried beneath several feet of concrete and sand. Robert Moses, the legendary powerbroker who helped to shape so much of New York City, also had a hand in the creation of the modern Jamaica Bay. On Urban planner Robert Moses (1888–1981) is a controversial figure in New York history. His development projects reshaped much of the infrastructure of the five boroughs, including the Triborough Bridge, Jones Beach State Park, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, West Side Highway, and Long Island parkway system, among approximately 1,700 major projects, plus hundreds of playgrounds and the designation of more than a million acres for state parks and conservation lands.
photo by c. m. spieglitz for the world telegram and sun, courtesy library of congress
photo by joseph byron, library of congress
When horse-drawn carriages were still a regular mode of transportation in New York City, pollution in city streets from manure was a problem, but not nearly as objectionable as the problem that resulted when those horses died and were left to decompose in the streets. These kids in New York circa 1905 seem unfazed by the dead horse lying at the curb. The city hauled carcasses by the dozens on a regular basis and dumped them in Dead Horse Bay at Barren Island in Jamaica Bay. A solution for Manhattan, perhaps, but a growing problem for those around Jamaica Bay.
25 February 1930, when Moses unveiled his grand plans for bridge and parkway construction all around the city, he included the bay in his vision, outlining designs for a large boulevard to run along the “Brooklyn shore from Brooklyn Bridge south and then east to Jamaica Bay. From the southwest corner of the bay, the boulevard would proceed north and then east to connect with a projected cross island parkway.” He also laid out the plans for a large park to be situated in the middle of the bay, which eventually would become known as the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The rise of the environmental movement in the years after the Second World War gave further impetus to Moses’s plan for a wildlife preserve in the bay, and in the years to come city planners began to take a distinctly different view of Jamaica Bay than the views that had been prevalent before. The waters, city planners finally recognized, would better suit the city if they were preserved and made into a recreational zone, as the thriving and bustling ports in New Jersey eliminated any further need for grand-scale commercial transformation of the area. This idea would lead to the creation of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which was conceptualized by its planners “as a hybrid space of city and nature defined by its ecological connections.”
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 35
photo by teri tynes, flickr.com, (cc)
photo by arthur tress, nara
The City of New York’s large-scale landfill operations dumped the city’s garbage on the marshlands of Jamaica Bay. By 1973, citizens and civic groups were voicing strong opposition to the practice, citing pollution hazards and ecological damage. Today, much of Jamaica Bay is a wildlife refuge and recreation area, managed by the National Park Service as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. By 1953, the first hints of this hybrid space were beginning to come together as migrant birds began to find their way to the man-made freshwater deposits of the Wildlife Refuge. Herbert Johnson, the city’s turf grass specialist, was chosen to manage the new reserve, and he did so with considerable success. In 1958, just five years after the opening of the refuge, researchers saw a remarkable recovery of the bay’s wildlife, with 208 different species now sighted in the area. Thirty more species would turn up the very next year, and the number of different animals that either called the area home or made it a pit stop on the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route would continue to climb, finally reaching the most recent count of 332 distinct species, representing nearly half of all of the species found in the entire Northeast. Moses, however, was not completely environmentally friendly, and while he hoped to turn portions of the bay into a recreational zone, he also saw the area as a suitable location to relieve the stress on New York City’s then-overflowing garbage dumps. Author and activist Elizabeth Barlow Rodgers paints a vivid picture of the scene all too common in many parts of the bay shore during this time, writing: NOTES <?>
Black, Frederick R. Jamaica Bay: A History (1981), NPS, Washington, DC, p. 4. <?> Kurlansky, The Big Oyster, p. 263. <?> Tarr, Joel A. “The Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Air, Land, and Water Pollution in Historical Perspective.” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, DC, 51 (1984): 1–29.
Household garbage gobbled up more marshland. Around the bay’s perimeter, massive mounds of refuse continued to rise. Department of Sanitation trucks plied their slopes like busy ants, continually expanding the size of each landfill site with empty glass bottles, worn–out mattresses and treadless rubber tires…Once a given site was full, it was decommissioned, stabilized, and capped with soil before being turned into a park or building lot. The best example of this kind of landfill, and the most recently operational, can be seen in Spring Creek, in Brooklyn. The area, comprising two separate landfills, occupies over 400 acres of space that was extended out into the bay and is now home to Starrett City, as well as a shopping complex, and the remainder of the landfill is soon to be in part converted into a park. The story of Jamaica Bay is one that is far from over, and much like any piece of land and sea in an urban area, its future is far from certain. As the city continues to grow and expand, and the areas along <?>
Black, Jamaica Bay, p. 71. Fauss, Eric. The Wild Lands of Gotham: City and Nature in Jamaica Bay, NY, 1880–1994 (2014), Doctoral Dissertations, Paper 374. p. 4. <?> Black, Jamaica Bay, pp. 71–72. <?> Hendrick, Daniel M. Jamaica Bay (2006), Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, pp. 59–62. <?>
the waters of the bay continue to get more and more valuable through time, it is only logical that the coastlines and environmental realities that we take for granted today will continue to change. It is entirely possible that the bay, by the time the next generation enters adulthood, will be something entirely different from the bay we know today. As we have seen, the bay will be shaped and molded by the way we human beings see a need for it. When the city needed a new port, we planned to turn it into the greatest port the world would ever see. When we needed an airport, it became home to not one, but two, and when we needed an area for recreation, the bay was there to become just that. We do not know what the future holds, but one thing is certain. As the needs and desires of the rest of the city continue to change, so too will the shape and function of Jamaica Bay. Ray Vann is a freelance writer and journalist, with a master’s degree in history from Brooklyn College. He worked with the National Parks Service at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for eight years, during which time he developed a deep appreciation for the bay and its history and ecosystem. <?> Rodgers, Elizabeth Barlow. Green Metropo-
lis: The Extraordinary Landscapes of New York City as Nature, History, and Design (2016), Penguin Random House, New York, p. 44. <?> Black, Jamaica Bay, p. 70. <?> Fauss, The Wild Lands of Gotham, p. 10. <?> Rodgers, Green Metropolis, pp. 44–48.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
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SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 37
Sailing the Sharkish Seas
by Emma McCauley
The 19th-Century Whaleman’s Experience with the Most Feared
Marine biology student Emma McCauley recently spent a semester at the Williams CollegeMystic Seaport Maritime Studies program. At Mystic, she found the opportunity to approach marine life from a more historical point of view, particularly studying the attitudes of whaleship crews towards the creatures with which they shared the ocean. Here, she discusses the relationship between whalers and sharks.
via wikipedia, p.d.
biodiversity heritage library
common story told in field guides and Wikipedia-style popular entries on sharks is that few thought much of these ocean predators until the early twentieth century, when sharks made headlines as killers of swimmers off beaches and of shipwrecked sailors floating in the sea during wartime. It wasn’t until the premier of Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) terrified audiences across the nation that the perception of an insatiable, ferocious beast was solidified, and our horrible image of the shark, however created and culturally learned, is now difficult to shake. A twentieth-century start date for the shark’s modern-day image problem in the US fails to account for the experience of American whalemen sailing in the nineteenth century. Sailors hated sharks more than any other animal, reserving a level of cruelty that they inflicted on no other organism. For crewmembers aboard whale-
Hand-painted plate of a short-fin mako shark that appeared in Systematic Description of Cartilaginous Fishes (1838) by German anatomists Johannes Müller and Jacob Henle, one of the first modern works on sharks. ships, their particular familiarity bred contempt. And they brought their horrifying stories home and spread the word among landsmen of the shark’s terrifying role in the sea.
A look through whalemen’s logbooks gives a more complete understanding of this contentious relationship. By and large, logbook entries contained brief, formal notes, primarily recording the ship’s position, the day’s weather, and any significant catches or events of the day. Occasionally, however, the men recorded the sighting of a shark, and on occasion were more specific, denoting a “brown shark,” “shovelnosed shark,” or another common name that is now difficult to attribute to a given species. It was not until I read the more personal journals and published narratives about life onboard whaleships that I got a real sense of how sharks were perceived. The majority of these passages discuss gruesome scenes of the whalemen’s practice of Francis Allyn Olmsted made dozens of sketches and took copious notes during his time aboard the whaleship North America, including many observations of sharks and the way his shipmates viewed them. He published them, including this sketch of his ship, in Incidents of a Whaling Voyage in 1841. SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
mark conlin, noaa fisheries
“cutting in” the bloody carcass of a recently killed whale to remove strips of blubber to render into oil. While the men were perched on greasy cutting stages over the side of the ship, the water below was filled with sharks struggling to make a meal out of the fresh carcass. The risk that scavenging sharks posed to the whalemen dangling just over their heads was such a regular occurrence that it was not even worth mentioning in ships’ logbooks. Herman Melville, one of the many whalemen who experienced ravenous sharks, devotes a full chapter, titled “The Shark Massacre,” to the scene in his novel Moby-Dick (1851). One of the most detailed published accounts I read was that of Francis Allyn Olmsted, who had just graduated from Yale when he shipped aboard a whaling vessel bound for the Pacific in 1839, in the hopes of improving his health. His father was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Yale, so Olmsted had grown up with an eye toward observation and natural history. In his Incidents of a Whaling Voyage (1841), Olmsted gave a rich description not only of the sharks he saw, but also of how the crew thought about them. He described how, with a hook and chain, he captured six or seven “peak-nosed sharks,” which he said were also known as “blue sharks.” The sharks had gathered around a dead sperm whale that the crew had lashed alongside Olmsted’s whaleship, North America. While Olmsted did not give a scientific name, the details he included
published in whale fishery of new england, published in 1915 by the state street trust company, boston, ma, p.d.
of Ocean Predators
The task of “cutting in” a whale required crewmen to stand outboard of the ship’s topsides, perched on greasy stages over the dead whale. It was a dangerous job and often became a race between the whalemen and the sharks that came to scavenge the carcass under their feet. If the sharks made quick work of it, they literally ate into the whalemen’s profits. about coloration, jaws, and fin placement match today’s Blue shark, Prionace gluaca. Olmsted spent time describing the shark’s behavior and commenting on how it swam, ate, and breathed. While he ultimately deemed them to be “ravenous monsters,” Olmsted noted that this species rarely bites humans, unless they put themselves in harm’s way in the flurry of bloody water. He summed up the American whalemen’s relationship with sharks:
The shark in all his varieties, is regarded with inveterate hatred by the sailor, and is considered a legitimate subject for the exercise
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 39
mystic seaport museum
Drawing from the logbook of the whaling ship Clara Bell, depicting ravenous sharks during the process of cutting in. The 295-ton barque left Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, in 1855, bound for the whaling ground of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. of his skill in darting a lance or spade, to which this savage animal is admirably adapted from his apparent insensibility to pain. At the repeated gashes he receives
from these formidable instruments, he manifests the utmost indifference and calm composure, and even with a large hook in his mouth he still continues to exer-
cise his voracious propensities. Aboard whale ships, sometimes, upon the capture of a shark during the process of trying out, he is drawn out of the water by two or three men, and a gallon or more of boiling oil is poured down his open mouth, a most cruel act, but defended on the ground that “nothing is too bad for a shark.”
photo by chris fallows, plos one, (cc)
Olmsted’s impression of how American whalemen saw and treated sharks is representative of dozens of other primary accounts. In addition to their fear of losing life or limb, whalemen recognized a shark’s ability to eat a large portion of their ship’s profits. William Morris Davis, who crewed aboard a whaleship in 1872, explained: “At each mouthful a quart of sperm-oil was lost to us, and we went to work with lances and spades to stop the A Great White shark tears into the fluke of a dead Bryde’s whale off South Africa. 40
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biodiversity heritage library
leak.” The resulting competition bred between sharks and whalemen was not only practical, but personal; oil lost at the jaws of a shark meant a longer voyage for a crew eager to return home. This ever-present frustration and danger led to a zombie-like image of sharks, which made its way back to popular works ashore beyond sailor’s narratives. Naturalist Samuel Maunder wrote in his 1852 encyclopedic work The Treasury of History, Being A History of the World that “[sharks] devour with indiscriminating voracity almost every animal substance, whether living or dead.” The popular Book of Nature (1826), seemingly the first book read by the second mate of the Charles W. Morgan after boarding in 1841, explains that the shark is “the most dreadful tyrant of the ocean,” devouring everything. It claimed that the “white shark” can grow up to thirty feet long, weigh 4,000 pounds, and can “swallow a man whole at a mouthful.” (The longest trusted measurement of the Great White’s length is about 19.5 feet). It was a commonly held idea in the nineteenth century, and perhaps still, that sharks do not feel pain. Numerous accounts, in both the writings of naturalists and in the logbooks kept by whalemen, mention that after being stabbed or maimed, sharks either swam off as if nothing had happened, or even continued eating. In contrast, whales, considered by some to be monsters themselves, would react wildly to being harpooned. The sharks’ seemingly unaffected response to mutilation, along with their single-mindedness in eating, seemed to eradicate any reservations whalemen may have felt about killing them. John Ross Browne, a journalist and artist who worked as a whaleman and then published a narrative in 1846, led with a frontispiece that depicts open-mouthed sharks thrashing around a whale as the men cut in. Browne described a particular shark that his shipmates mutilated after it ate a large amount of a whale they had killed. In response to losing its tail, the “monster did not appear to be particularly concerned at this indignity, but, sliding back into his native element, very leisurely swam off, to the great amusement of his comrades, who pursued him with every variant of gyrations.”
Aquatint by William Daniel, published in Zoography; or The Beauties of Nature Displayed by W. Wood, F.L.S., 1807. In the description on sharks that went with this illustration, Wood wrote: “The shark is by far the fiercest and most voracious of the finny tribe; he is formed for destruction, and, having a very strong appetite for mischief, is constantly seeking to gratify it. Thus, he prowls about in the warmer part of the ocean, to the great terror of the rest of its inhabitants, as well as to the human race; whose bodies have been too frequently buried in the stomach of this formidable creature.” The perception of sharks as cruel and callous made them desirable targets for whalemen looking to break up the monotony of life at sea. Sometimes this meant just “a little sport in… catching a shark,” as Lucy Ann Crapo, the captain’s wife of the barque Louisa, observed in 1866. Catching a shark, however, did not carry the same significance onboard a whaleship as fishing for tuna, since sharks were rarely eaten. Mary Brewster, who went to sea on two voyages aboard the Tiger with her whaleship-captain husband, wrote in her journal in 1848 that the crew “caught a large shark which was playing astern, it was soon dispatched and thrown overboard. The delight of the sailor is to kill every one they can get.” While mariners were able to use a shark’s liver for oil and its skin for sandpaper, the primary objectives of catching sharks seemed to be both to relieve boredom and to get revenge on the creatures. Occasionally, whalemen went a step further. Some published accounts, such as those by William Morris Davis, recount stories of torture, where whalemen would stick a rod down a shark’s throat before tossing it back overboard, still alive. The science of the time seemed largely in accord with contemporary mariners’ assessments about the ferocity of sharks.
One of the most influential publications in the nineteenth century was by the French naturalist Georges Cuvier. Though he had never been to sea himself in any substantial way, in The Animal Kingdom (1835), Cuvier made species-specific observations about the teeth, senses, and anatomy of the Great White, hammerhead, basking, and other sharks. While Cuvier commented on the preferred fish species and marine mammal prey of the sharks he wrote about, he also included numerous accounts describing the predators as particularly inclined to human flesh—a characteristic that Olmsted and nearly all whalemen, including Melville, never actually connected to sharks. Of the Great White, Cuvier wrote that it often appeared after shipwrecks “with its mouth and throat ready to swallow entire the despairing sailor.” So voracious was the Great White of Cuvier’s imagination, that it would often beach itself in the pursuit of fleeing prey. Today there is a wealth of knowledge about the discerning palates, advanced senses, and the important roles sharks serve in marine ecosystems. As apex predators and scavengers, sharks influence many different food webs by limiting the populations of their prey, affecting all animals that feed at lower trophic levels.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 41
chronicle / alamy stock photo
Yet even in the twenty-first century, uncertainties about large pelagic sharks persist. Life span, gestation period, and age of sexual maturity are some of the most basic biological questions that remain unanswered about the ocean’s most iconic shark, the Great White. The scientific community still debates whether fish, and especially large sharks, are capable of feeling pain. That we still have some of the same unanswered questions as in the nineteenth century, makes a convincing case for the importance of advancing marine biology research. Whalemen and sea-going naturalists, such as Olmsted, correctly identified the behavior of individual species such as the Great White shark, Blue shark, and Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), all of which are known scavengers and have ranges that overlap with many of the whaling grounds these ships sailed through. They also understood the utility of the hard, overlapping plates that make up shark’s skin, which they dried out and used as sandpaper. The data that nineteeth-century whalemen and naturalists collected continue to serve researchers today. While advances in diving technology and surveying techniques have pushed the boundaries in how sharks can be studied, scientific research cruises are challenging to fund and launch. The whalemen, who were sailing at a time when shark populations probably dwarfed those of today, had more empirical experience with pelagic sharks than most scientists will ever witness in the twenty-first century. As an example, a 2013 research study on instances of Great White sharks scavenging on whale carcasses noted that, since 1896, there have only been nineteen accounts in the primary literature of this type of activity. The fraction of logbooks, journals and accounts I explored seem to support a much higher number than nineteen observations, even on a single voyage.
Convicts attempting an escape from the penal colony on Devil’s Island, French Guiana. The island was famous for being guarded by sharks, and the terror that this scene conveys kept most inmates from even considering making the attempt. As a recent college graduate just beginning my career, I can’t help but draw comparisons with Francis Olmsted, who was my age when he went to sea for the first time. Four years of studying ocean processes and ecology have left me with an unshakeable appreciation of sharks and their role in the marine ecosystem. Unlike Olmsted, however, my respect for them was curated in the classroom, with full access to data, analyses, and studies on these marine animals, which have mystified people in both lore and science for hundreds of years. I wonder how my perception of sharks would be altered if I knew them not as the endangered animals they are, but as the plentiful scavengers they were when Olmsted and his shipmates encountered them. We are still trying to unpack and dismantle the horror movie image of sharks crafted by whalemen, one that has been cemented by centuries of misunderstood
interactions. While scientists and conservationists work on creating a new narrative around sharks, we should not discount these sailors’ fearful accounts. Rather, we should appreciate their early endeavors to understand the mysterious creatures when few others were attempting to do the same.
original book on archive.org: Samuel Maunder, The Treasury of Natural History, or A Popular Dictionary of Animated Nature, 3rd ed. (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1852), 605. 4 Ebert, Fowler, Dando, A Pocket Guide to Sharks of the World (Princeton, 2015), 110.
Emma McCauley graduated in 2017 from Stony Brook University with a degree in Marine Vertebrate Biology and is currently working as an educator at South Street Seaport Museum in New York. Emma wrote this article as a Williams-Mystic student of Glenn Gordinier and as a research assistant to Richard King, who contributed some of his own research and ideas. Rich is the author-illustrator of the Sea History for Kids feature “Animals in Sea History,” and his latest book, A Natural History of Moby-Dick (University of Chicago Press) is due for release in 2019. The book includes a chapter, naturally, on Ishmael’s sharks.
NOTES 1 Francis
Allyn Olmstead, Incidents of a Whaling Voyage (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1841) 183–4. 2 William Morris Davis, Nimrod of the Sea (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1874). 3 Richard Ellis (2012), Shark: A Visual History. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 60; the 42
John Ross Brown, Etchings of a Whaling Cruise (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1846) 132. 6 Georges Cuvier, Animal Kingdom, London: Whittaker & Co. 1835. 7 www.livescience.com/48341-sharks-feelpain-but-have-few-protections.html. SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
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at the 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building D, Staten Island, NY 10301 (718) 447-6490 2 www.noblemaritime.org John Stobart, San Pedro: î&#x192;Ťe Bark Vidette Towing into Port at Sunrise in 1890, oil on canvas, 1983; courtesy of Kensington Galleries
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 43
SEA HISTORY for kids
National History Day 2018–19 Calling All Middle and High School Students! Welcome to the new school year! Before you get too far along with classes and after-school activities, you will want to start thinking about what you want to do for your National History Day project. Each year, more than half a million students from around the country participate in the National History Day competition, starting in local contests, with winners in various categories advancing to the next level, and ultimately to the national competition at the University of Maryland in June. Students select a topic that relates to an annual theme—this year’s theme is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Using primary and secondary resources, they research their topic and present their conclusions in one of the following categories:
national history day
Wait—What’s National History Day, you ask?!
•Research paper: traditional academic paper, complete with citations •Exhibit: museum-style exhibit using images, text, and supporting resources •Documentary: 10-minute video combining images and analytical narration •Website: web-based collection of interactive webpages •Performance: 10-minute live performance using actual or composite characters Projects are evaluated against three standards: historical quality, relation to theme, and clarity of presentation.
The National Maritime Historical Society encourages students to consider a maritime-related topic and offers special prizes in junior and senior divisions, including a $150 cash scholarship, recognition of achievement on our website and at the competition, and a one-year membership (which includes a subscription to Sea History magazine). Visit our website, www.seahistory.org/education/national-historyday/, for suggestions on maritime topics and other tips. NMHS currently offers special prizes in 25 states, but if yours isn’t on the list posted on our website, please contact us at email@example.com to ask how you can participate. We would love to help you get started.
north carolina history day
florida history day
Not sure where to start? The National History Day website at www.nhd.org is chock full of suggestions and examples, with links to suggested topics, resources, experts who can help, and guidelines. There, you will find links to the National History Day contest for your state. Ask your history or social studies teacher for help—teachers of winning students get official recognition too! You can work as an individual or as a group with friends and classmates. The top entries from each category move on to the next level. Each state has its contest between January and May; the top two projects in every category are invited to attend and compete in the national contest.
SEA SEAHISTORY HISTORY164, 164,AUTUMN AUTUMN2018 2018
Keeping Afloat—The Personal Flotation Device Personal flotation devices have been around a long time. We know that people have been using variations of the PFD since at least 860 BC. In the British Museum, there’s a sculpted gypsum panel from an ancient palace from this era that depicts the Assyrian army crossing a river. Some of the soldiers are swimming across while they hold on to inflated animal skins to keep them afloat. The first modern version of the PFD that would resemble Type III USCG-Approved PFD what we have today was developed in the 19th century by the Norwegians, who wore vests made with blocks of wood or stuffed with cork.
photo by aidan andrews
If you spend time on the water, you are probably familiar with different types of life jackets, or PFDs—personal flotation devices. PFDs are an important part of water safety. Some activities require people to wear specific types of PFDs by law, and for others, it is simply a good idea.
Modern Type I USCG-Approved PFD
There are five categories of US Coast Guard-approved PFDs, from Type I to Type V. Types I, II, and III are wearable life jackets and vests. Type I pro- Coast Guardsmen at Lifeboat Station Point Adams in Oregon pose in vides the most flotation and is designed to keep their USCG-issued cork personal flotation devices. Cork PFDs were a person’s head face-up and out of the water, the standard life jacket in use in the 2nd half of the 1800s. even if he or she is unconscious. These are usually bulky and people don’t like to wear them for normal activity on the water. These would be the type you would put on in the case of an emergency, such as a boat capsizing or sinking. Type III are what most people are familiar with. These are life jackets and vests you would wear for waterskiing, kayaking, and other activities around the water. Type IV and Type V are generally special-purpose PFDs, such as throwable cushions and life-rings, inflatable PFDs, and work vests for people who work on commercial vessels.
Individual states have different laws requiring their use, but, in general, the US Coast Guard recommends that you wear a PFD that fits well and is in good condition every time you head out on the water—just like you put on a seat belt every time you get in a car. Yup—there are even PFDs for your dog. While the Coast Guard does not certify life jackets for non-humans, there are plenty of options out there for your dog. While most dogs can swim, they can still find themselves in situations where they are lost or far from shore and become exhausted. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that boaters consider finding a good-fitting PFD for dogs who spend time on the water. These salty sea dogs are modeling watercollars made by Hedz Up Pets, a company out of Louisiana that ships worldwide. (www.hedzuppets.com)
uscg historian’s office
Today, synthetics are used to make all kinds of PFDs. Some of the softer and more flexible vests are made with closed-cell foam or foam plastics encased in nylon. This type of foam can rip and tear and still stay afloat. It is also more comfortable to wear. One thing we know is that if PFDs are too bulky or uncomfortable to wear, people won’t use them, which defeats the whole purpose.
courtesy hedz up pets
courtesy the british museum
Cork became the flotation material of choice, but it was bulky and uncomfortable. In the 1920s, a plant fiber from the kapok tree became popular because PFDs made with it were softer and easier to wear. Kapok has a waxy coating, which floats and provides enough buoyancy that, when sealed in vinyl pouches, proved an effective type of wearable flotation. This sounded like a great option, unless something punctured the vinyl and saturated the pouch, turning the flotation device into a heavy sinker.
SEA SEAHISTORY HISTORY164, 164,AUTUMN AUTUMN2018 2018 45
Animals in Sea History by Richard King
Paper nautilus (Argonauta argo) off the coast of Japan. Note how the webbed end of one arm is spread across the outside of the shell.
after the Greek myth of the hero-sailors, the Argonauts, who had voyaged aboard Jason’s ship, the Argo. Wood continued on to explain that, whenever approached by a human sailor, the animals would quickly dive, making them difficult to capture and nearly impossible to observe at sea. Two decades later, the naturalist Jeannette Villepreux-Power took up the mysteries of Wood’s paper nautilus. Born in France, she gained renown as an embroiderer in Paris. When she moved to Sicily, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, she could then pursue her long-held interest in marine biology. In Sicily, Villepreux-Power saw paper nautiluses
photo by andré-adolphe-eugène disdéri,
abe hideki/minden pictures
watkinson library, trinity college
n 1807, William Wood, a naturalist from England and an expert on shellfish, published Zoography, or, The Beauties of Nature Displayed. Exquisitely illustrated, the 3-volume treasure was meant to include the most fascinating animals on Earth. Wood wrote an especially glowing account of the paper nautilus, also known as the argonaut or paper sailor, which he described as if it were a wondrous boat. The animal inside was to be “celebrated for his skill in navigation.” Wood wrote that some believed that the earliest peoples had Aquatint of a paper nautilus by William Daniell in William Wood’s Zoography (1807). learned the very idea of sailing from these animals, and that the eight-armed “sailor within” sits in a papery white shell “marked with elegant ribs that run towards the keel.” The animal spreads out a membrane at the end of two specialized arms to form, he said, small sails, gliding his shell across the water. At other times, presumably in calms, the paper nautilus spread out his arms to row. This was a belief that had gone back to at least Aristotle, leading Linnaeus in the early 1700s to name the creature
Jeannette Villepreux-Power (1794–1871) conducted the first experimental research on paper nautiluses, inventing the modern aquarium in the process.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
in the bay and received specimens from fishermen. She began to wonder how she could better observe these animals. She knew that the paper nautilus, unlike its close relative, the thick-shelled, multi-tentacled chambered nautilus, is actually a type of octopus living inside a thin shell. Villepreux-Power decided to solve a heated debate about whether paper nautiluses made their own shells, like a clam; found them, like hermit crabs; or even killed the original maker of the shells, like parasites. Villepreux-Power also did not know if they actually sailed or rowed across the water’s surface—or even how they reproduced. To study the paper nautiluses alive in the harbor, Villepreux-Power designed wooden cages that could be anchored underwater. Inside her small lab ashore, she designed hoses to pump seawater into wood and glass enclosures. Many credit Villepreux-Power with the invention of the modern aquarium. Her foundational experiments proved that paper nautiluses do indeed make their own shells from a young age, and that the animals in the shells are all female, using the shell as an egg case. The female is not physically attached to the shell, like a mussel, but she can only survive outside of it for a short time. Male paper nautiluses are relatively small and look entirely different. Biologists have since learned that the tiny male leaves one of its tentacles laden with sperm, usually around the female’s gills, to fertilize the eggs that she hatches inside her shell. Regarding the question of sailing across the water with their webbed arms, VillepreuxPower did not reject the idea entirely. She thought the two more robust arms could work as “masts,” but she observed instead that these membranes serve primarily to build and repair the shell, as well as to cover it, almost like a wetsuit, while the animal is swimming. Biologists now understand that paper nautiluses (Argonauta spp.), of which there are four species, are the only octopuses that use shells and are among the few kinds that live in the open ocean rather than along the sea floor. We know today that paper nautiluses do not use their membranes for propulsion using the wind, but rather they tend to swim just beneath the surface. They swim quickly and purposefully by expelling water out of a funnel, in the same way as do other octopuses and squids. In 2010, Australian Julian Finn learned still more by following in the footsteps of Villepreux-Power. Finn, a staff biologist and curator at Museums Victoria, captured a few specimens off the coast of Japan, then brought them back to the lab and observed them in a huge tank. He later released them into the harbor, where he could scuba dive beside them and watch them in their natural environment. Finn discovered that the paper nautiluses have evolved a way to use their shells to trap air bubbles from the surface while swimming, which they then use to regulate their buoyancy as they dive—similar to how scuba divers adjust the air in their vests. William Wood would be in awe. Jeannette Villepreux-Power would be, too—and proud. For more “Animals in Sea History” go to www.seahistory.org or educators.mysticseaport.org.
“Sea History for K ids” is sponsored by the Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 47
MARITIME HISTORY ON THE INTERNET
by Peter McCracken
Researching Legislative History: Background Documents
n our previous column, we looked at how to find information on US legislative bills that have become law. In this issue, we will look at the many, many volumes of background material that can support the development of these laws, or proposals that never became law. Even if they are not directly connected with the development of binding legislation, they can offer fantastic information and insights. In the next column, we’ll look at how one can keep track of legislation that is currently under consideration. Government reports can be an incredibly valuable tool for learning more about a subject. Immigration, for example, has always been an issue in American political life. From 1907 to 1911, a joint Congressional committee called the Dillingham Commission pursued a study of immigration to America. While it operated with a partisan intent at limiting immigration, the 42 (!) volumes of this report brought together an enormous amount of valuable information about that era’s immigration experience. The Commission collected reams of statistics and data about who was coming, how much they earned and sent home, what languages they spoke, and where they eventually settled. As part of the research process, several Commission staff members who had emigrated to the United States returned to their native countries, and emigrated again, to create a record of the experience. They traveled in 1908, a year of limited emigration, so the experience in steerage, as depicted in Volume 37, “was seen practically at its best,” and readers were reminded “that not extreme but comparatively favorable conditions are here depicted.” Nevertheless, it was a harrowing experience for all involved. The Dillingham Commission report can be found through a search for “immigration commission” at https://archive.org, or at the Wikipedia entry for the United States Congress Joint Immigration Commission. As with the Dillingham Commission, most significant legislative works have Wikipedia entries that can provide useful information about, and links to, online resources regarding the legislation in question. Publications by the US Government
are automatically without copyright, so they are easily shared and found online. The Congressional Record (https://www.congress.gov/ congressional-record) provides transcriptions of congressional discussion and debate, as well as extensive additional content added later by members of Congress. The Library of Congress’s American Memory site, at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ amlaw/lawhome.html, includes the first three years of the Congressional Record, along with an enormous collection of founding legislative documents up to 1875. Click on “Search: All Titles” to search this data set; from that page you can limit a search to a specific set of documents or a specific session of Congress, or search the full collection. In some collections, you are searching the full text; in others, you’re searching just titles and headings. Contents from 1875–76 to the present are available through https://www.govinfo.gov, a US Government Printing Office site that provides access to most of the published work of the US government. As with similar retrospective digitization projects, the analysis of the printed pages can return many unexpected errors; one might be surprised how often the word “modem” appears in the Congressional Record in the 1870s until you realize it is a computerized misreading of “modern” rather than reference to a recent communications device. The govinfo site also allows one to search by committee, which is particularly useful for exploring hearings presented in Congress on subjects covered by the relevant committee. Since 1997, most committees provide hearings, documents, reports, and more. Each entry offers a PDF of the printed report, a text-only version of the report, and metadata about the report. All of the full-text content is also searchable from this site. Suggestions for other sites worth mentioning are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.seahistory.org/maritimehistory-on-the-internet for all of Peter McCracken’s previous “Maritime History on the Internet” columns, plus a link to http://shipindex.org, a free compilation of more than 150,000 ship names from indexes to dozens of books and journals.
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Funding America’s Maritime Heritage—a New Proposal
n the past four years, nearly $10 million has been awarded to more than 100 maritime heritage organizations for critical projects in education and preservation through a competitive federal grant program. The funds come from a portion of the profits from the sale of ships for recycling by the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS). It is on hold for 2018–19 because few ships have been scrapped, and with a decline in scrap metal prices, they generate fewer dollars. So, where are we? What is being done? First, some history: Working together under the leadership of the National Maritime Alliance, the maritime heritage community advocated for the National Maritime Heritage Act in 1994, which mandates that 25% of the profits from ships recycled by MARAD fund a national grant program, while the remaining 50% is directed to MARAD for its own use, and the final 25% is designated to support public maritime academies. Following an initial round of grants totaling $650,000 in 1998, there were no profits generated from ship recycling until 2005–06—due to a regulation change requiring domestic scrapping, and low prices for scrap metals. A seven-year drought. Once profits returned, however, the funds did not move from MARAD to NPS. Then the law was changed; the 2010 Defense bill redirected 100% of the recycling profits to MARAD, which could use (our) 25% to fund a public grant program, or instead keep the money for its internal maritime heritage needs, still sending 25% to the maritime academies. The maritime heritage community determined to change the law. Pressure from our supporters in Congress prompted MARAD to initiate a grant program in 2014. We won support in Congress for legislation that restored the National Maritime Heritage grant program in December 2016. But in the sausage-making of legislation, the 25% of ship scrapping profits designated for the grant program was reduced to 18.75%. The bottom line: $10 million for maritime heritage grants was awarded in four rounds between 2015–18.
And now? We are looking at ways to we are not wholly reliant on the Maritime better represent the maritime heritage com- Heritage Grant Program. munity at the federal level, including a We ask that umbrella organizations proposal that the community jointly sup- like the Council of American Maritime port a part-time lobbyist in Washington, Museums, Historic Naval Ships Association, DC, a proposal discussed at a session on Tall Ships America, and the US Lighthouse advocacy and the Maritime Heritage Grant Society request funding from their members Program hosted by NMHS during the 11th to support this effort. These organizations, Maritime Heritage Conference/45th Sail representing more than 700 member instiTraining and Tall Ships Conference in New tutions, should take this proposal to their Orleans last February. Presenters were myself; Denise Krepp, a former government official and lobbyist; Ray Ashley, CEO and president of the Maritime Museum of San Diego; and Kelly Spradley-Kurowski of the National Park Service, who administers the grant program. The session drew one of the largest audiences at the conference. It also generated a spirited discussion. Leaders of maritime Advocating for Maritime Heritage on Capitol Hill: (l-r) Jay heritage organizations (includ- Haigler, Tim Runyan, RADM Mark Buzby, Joe Youcha. ing the NMHS leadership and trustees) and museums raised a number of membership, and work out the amount and questions, and asked for a revised proposal. means of providing the financial support. Advocacy efforts in the nation’s capital Organizations not included in the continued, with meetings with key staff memberships of the umbrella organizamembers of the Senate Commerce, Science tions—such as the National Maritime Hisand Transportation Committee; the Senate torical Society, North American Society for Appropriations Committee; Department Oceanic History, Association for Great of Transportation; and a first-time meeting Lakes Maritime History, Steamship Hiswith the new MARAD administrator, torical Society of America, National AsRADM Mark Buzby (USN, Ret.). For sociation of Black Scuba Divers, Diving meetings with congressional staff members, With a Purpose—will be asked to contribI was joined by Denise Krepp and Jay ute by separate request. Some of these groups Haigler of the National Association of Black have suggested that they would provide Scuba Divers and Diving With a Purpose. larger amounts than might be asked by the For the MARAD meeting Joe Youcha, di- umbrella group of which they are a member. rector of Building to Teach (small boats), This is encouraging. The National Maritime joined us. The meetings went well. At Alliance would then hire an advocate, MARAD, Admiral Buzby expressed his funded by those contributions from the support of maritime heritage, and commit- maritime heritage community. The advocate ted to work with us. We, in turn, agreed to would report to the NMA board. advance some of MARAD’s objectives, In summary, we “agreed to agree” that mainly in workforce development and com- we should move forward to find a means to munication. support an advocate for America’s maritime heritage community. This is new ground, Proposed Plan for Funding Advocacy and will take some effort to establish. But, This is our proposal: funding a part-time as one museum director pointed out, we advocate to work on behalf of the maritime do have a recent successful track record of heritage community to explore supplemen- $10 million in federal support, and “we tary and alternative funding sources for know that if we do nothing, we will receive maritime heritage grant programs, so that nothing.”
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 49
courtesy timothy j. runyan
by Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, Chair, National Maritime Alliance
SS Ste. Claire on fire, 6 July 2018 architect Louis Keil. The boat ride itself was part of the attraction of a trip to the amusement park; both boats featured spacious ballrooms, live music, and a gallery view of the triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines for the more technically inclined; sometimes passengers would ride the ferry back and forth of an evening and forego the amusement park entirely. The beloved “Boblo Boats” plied the route up and down the Detroit River until September of 1991, just two years before the amusement park closed for good. Columbia was purchased by SS Columbia Project, led by the late Richard Anderson, and after Anderson’s passing in 2013, the SS Columbia Project continued his work, successfully bringing Columbia to Buffalo, New York, where she is undergoing work in preparation for an eventual journey to Kingston, New York, and then a new career hosting educational programs as an excursion steamer on the Hudson River. (SS Columbia Project, www.sscolumbia.org) …
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Ken Stewart, founder of Diving With a Purpose, has been recognized by Scuba Diving magazine as a 2018 Sea Hero. The magazine has teamed with Seiko Watches to bestow this award on one person for each issue from May through October, who is working tirelessly to protect our oceans through education, conservation, and action. “DWP has dedicated countless volunteer hours to projects for NOAA, the National Park Service and the Smithsonian, and has made inclusion of teenage and young adult divers a special focus, fostering understanding of our
courtesy kenneth stewart, dwp
joseph cartledge, detroit fire dept.
Generations of nostalgic Michiganders and the historic ship community were dealt a blow on 6 July when fire struck SS Ste. Claire. The 190-foot excursion steamer, which had passed hands and changed locations numerous times since her retirement in 1991, had been moored since 2017 at Detroit’s Riverside Marina on the Detroit River. As of press time, authorities believed the fire might have been caused by welders working on the ship. Ste. Claire has a steel hull, but a wooden superstructure strengthened with steel supports. Ste. Claire’s owners, Ron Kattoo and Saqib Nakadar, had planned to open the ship for tours and as a haunted attraction in 2019, and to eventually fully restore her as a steam engine museum and event venue. At present they have launched a GoFundMe page to try and raise funds for restoration, reminding visitors to their website that the steel superstructure appears to be intact and the hull is still floating on the water. Launched on 7 May 1910 at Toledo Shipbuilding Company, Ste. Claire joined her “big sister” ship, Columbia (launched in 1902), carrying passengers in style between Detroit and Bois Blanc (adapted by the locals to either “Boblo” or “Bob-Lo”) Island, a location that evolved from a pastoral park area to a full-fledged amusement park over the years. Both steamboats were designed by noted naval architect Frank Kirby, with interiors designed by artist and
Ken Stewart (2nd from left, bottom row) with his team from YDWP shared national heritage and what its underwater remains can teach us.” A recipient of the 11th Maritime Heritage Conference Award of Distinction from the National Maritime Alliance in New Orleans last winter, Stewart and his team with DWP and Youth Diving with a Purpose have trained hundreds of youth and adult divers to assist in maritime archaeology projects. He serves as program director, scheduler, mentor, and spokesperson for both organizations and is responsible for planting the seeds for the National Association of Black Scuba Divers Youth Educational Summit (YES). YES encourages young people to achieve their potential through programs organized by the National Association of Black Scuba Divers. Stewart’s work has also been recognized by awards from the US Dept. of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Congratulations Ken! (DWP, www.divingwithapurpose.org; Scuba Diving magazine, www.scubadiving.com) … (continued on page 52)
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
WhalingHistory.org and SlaveVoyages.org New Online Databases for Researchers
Two new online resources were recently launched that will prove a treasure trove for historians, genealogists, students, and others interested in the wealth of records concerning two very different aspects of maritime trade under sail. The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in partnership with Mystic Seaport, has consolidated three databases: the American Offshore Whaling Voyage (AOWV) database, the American Offshore Whaling Log database, and an extensive whaling crew list database to develop the world’s most comprehensive whaling history database. The data presented at WhalingHistory. org draws from sources including logbooks, journals, ship registers, newspapers, business papers, and custom house records; users can find and trace whaling voyages and ships to specific logbooks, as well as the list of crewmembers aboard most of the voyages. All data sets are open to the public, and are downloadable for any researcher to use with other tools and systems. WhalingHistory.org The American Offshore Whaling Voyage (AOWV) database, spearheaded by Judith Lund, scholar and former curator at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, includes information about all known American offshore (or “pelagic”) whaling voyages from the 1700s to the 1920s. The American Offshore Whaling Log database includes information from 1,381 logbooks from American offshore whaling voyages between 1784 and 1920, extracted from the original whaling logbooks during three separate scientific research projects, conducted by Lieutenant Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury in the 1850s, by Charles Haskins Townsend in the 1930s, and by a team from the Census of Marine Life project led by Tim Denis Smith between 2000 and 2010. The data file includes 466,134 data records assembled in a common format suitable for spatial and temporal analysis of American whaling throughout the 19th century. Crew lists for whaling voyages recorded at the customs houses in Fall River and Salem, Massachusetts, and in New London, Connecticut, have been compiled as part of various projects and from various sources over the years. Crew lists for New Bedford voyages have been compiled using records kept by the chaplains of the New Bedford Port Society from 1840 to the end of whaling in New Bedford. These crew lists are now in a single searchable, sortable database, covering more than 5,300 voyages. In the next phase of the Whaling History website, museums and other institutions’ collection items will be able to be linked to the database, giving researchers the ability to see a robust and dynamic picture of whaling history and artifacts. SlaveVoyages.org Emory University has taken its database, released nearly 20 years ago in CD-ROM format and then moved to the internet in 2008, drawing three million site visits, and expanded its scope and made the data easier to incorporate into data analysis for scholarship. The expanded and enhanced SlaveVoyages.org, three years in the making, was made possible by two awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and now has searchable records of 36,000 transAtlantic voyages and another 10,000 voyages carrying slaves between ports in the Americas. For the first time, it will be possible to track the movement of African captives caught up in the transAtlantic and intraAmerican slave trades. The new website will also offer a modernized user interface, new animations, including a 3D video of a slave ship drawn from original plans, and an opportunity for users to correct and augment existing data in the two databases via an easy-to-use contribution page. Thanks to funding from the Hutchins Institute at Harvard University, the site will be available in Spanish and Portuguese as well as English. The revamping of the site will allow users more flexibility in using the data, including the analysis of combinations of variables, and the ability to download the complete databases, facilitating statistical studies. The site will also offer interpretive essays, contemporary images of places and people, and a searchable list of 92,000 Africans, including their African names, who were removed from slave ships in efforts to suppress the slave trade in the nineteenth century.
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SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 51
Artist’s conception of the schooner Ceiba.
photo by danielle doggett, courtesy sailcargo inc.
(continued from page 50) SailCargo, Inc. wants to give the Age of Sail another chance. The emerging shipping company plans to carry freight in carbon-neutral sailing ships, equipped with supplemental power provided by solar batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines, as well as an advanced variable pitch propeller, which will convert kinetic energy into stored electrical energy. Construction of the company’s first ship, the schooner Ceiba, will take place in what the company calls an “eco-plantation” in Punta Morales, Costa Rica, a location chosen in part due
In addition to the pursuit of carrying cargo under sail, Sail Cargo, Inc., is providing instruction in traditional wooden shipbuilding and small boat construction, rigging, blacksmithing, and sailmaking. to that country’s commitment to national carbon-neutrality by 2021. The keel was formed from mountain tamarind, felled by a hurricane in Upala; the company is planting trees to offset the project’s carbon footprint, as well as to ensure the availability of usable wood going forward. Construction of the schooner, which will have an overall length of 148 feet and 25-foot beam, is expected to take around three and a half years and involve the work of around 250 people. The company’s proposed traditional skills program will offer hands-on learning in wooden shipbuilding and small boat construction, rigging, blacksmithing, fine woodworking, and sailmaking. With a maximum cargo capacity of 350 cubic meters and a chilled hold available, Ceiba will call Costa Rica home, but carry a variety of cargoes around the world. (www. sailcargo.org) … In the mid-19th century Americans had the opportunity to take a virtual journey around the world via the Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World, a 1,275-footlong by 8-foot-high painting that was scrolled on giant spools, with accompanying theatrics and narration. The painting was made in 1848 on cotton sheeting by Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington during the heyday of American Whaling. 52
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
It has not been exhibited in its entirety in more than fifty years. The museum has carefully restored the painting, and not one, but two, exhibitions are recreating the grand spectacle that entertained our forebears. In the exhibition A Spectacle in Motion: The Original, the painting will be displayed in its entirety—scrolling it would damage the restoration—at the historic Kilburn Mill in New Bedford. This exhibition, running through 8 October, is free and open to the public. The second exhibition, The Experience, will run through 2021 at the Whaling Museum. It will feature a digital reproduction of the artwork as a theatrical moving picture show, similar to what audiences would have experienced in the 1850s. “Seeing the Panorama in its entirety as a work of art, as well as experiencing it in motion, will be one of the most singular and spectacular American folk art milestones of this era,” said the museum’s chief curator Dr. Christina Connett. “It is an artwork of national historical importance and a keystone that defines our region’s role in maritime heritage.” A twovolume book highlighting the painting, its history, and interpretation is available at the museum, the mill, and online. (NBWM, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA; (www.whalingmuseum.org) …
As of press time, the 1878 iron square rigger Falls of Clyde was fighting for another reprieve. The vessel, the only surviving sail-driven oil tanker, is currently berthed in Honolulu Harbor. Faced with the threat of scuttling by the Hawaiian Department of Transportation–Harbors Division in mid-2015, the Friends of the Falls of Clyde pursued several options, including the possibility of a local relocation and restoration. The group ultimately agreed to work with a Scottish contingent to move the historic ship to Scotland, where
she would be restored and sail as an attraction based on the River Clyde, where she was first built in 1878 by Russell and Co. The Scottish supporters formed Save Falls of Clyde–International, led by David O’Neill, who has been in communication with harbor authorities and the governor’s office to secure the time needed to fundraise for the move. However, the transport company that had been in negotiations to carry the Falls across the Atlantic ended up accepting another offer, and the group is faced with a looming deadline—the
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The Grand Panorama on the scroll during restoration. The painting is longer than the Empire State Building is high.
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Falls of Clyde
save falls of clyde – international
fair-trade cargo transportation, personal sail training experiences, and cadet sail training. In addition, they envision a role in clearing waste plastic and debris from the ocean and recycling this material onboard. The campaign hopes to offer opportunities to sail onboard in exchange for community service, covering costs with
fundraising and offering branding opportunities on “fake sails” and other elements on the ship. (Follow Save Falls of Clyde– International on Facebook; email: email@example.com) … Coralarium, a new art installation in the Maldives, engages the visitor both above and below the waterline. A semi-submerged permanent installation, Coralarium features a cubic structure rising above the water and topped with sculptures but also pieces placed at varying heights on the lagoon floor, revealing themselves above the surface as the tide ebbs. The artwork, located in the waters of the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resort in Shaviyani Atoll, is just a short swim in shallow water from the shore and intended as a bridge between the underwater and overwater worlds. Marine biologists from the resort lead tours to the structure, and it is illuminated at night. It
jason decaires taylor
negotiated window for the ship’s departure from the harbor had been this summer— as well as a press for funds to secure a new transport company. Once the ship is restored, the Scotland group hopes to put her to sea as an ambassador of the Clyde region and its shipbuilding heritage, as well as carrying out education-at-sea programs,
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
An octant on the Blake Ridge wreck site.
noaa office of ocean exploration and research
is the intention of the artists that the installation serve a similar function as a reef, offering sanctuary for fish, crustaceans, octopuses, and marine invertebrates. The artwork was designed by British artist and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor, who hopes to raise awareness for the protection of coral reefs in the region. You might want to hurry if you want to see it, however. Not long after it was installed, the Maldives government ordered the resort to remove the sculpture after considerable public outcry over the statues, which are viewed as idols by the local population and thus objectionable on religious grounds. As of press time, the Coralarium was still in place. (www.fairmont.com/maldives/) … In June the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer returned to Blake Ridge, a site more than 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina, to investigate a shipwreck discovered in 2015 by a team led by Dr. Cindy Van Dover of Duke University in cooperation with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the submersible Alvin. During this return visit to the site, Dr. James Delgado of SEARCH, Inc., and NOAA’s Bruce Terrell determined that it was a small 19th-century vessel, possibly a coastal trader or fishing vessel. They observed ceramics, bottles, and an intact octant. Archaeologist Scott Sorset of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is completing a 3-D photo mosaic that will be made available online. The modest ship, about 66 feet long, was not sheathed in copper and lacked a stove; rather a pile of bricks remain of what was apparently a form of hearth. There was no apparent cargo to be seen—it’s possible that the cargo was perishable and disappeared naturally over time. Some artifacts observed on the site offered small clues, such as collection of conch shells, suggesting a recent journey to the Bahamas or Florida. A comb, sewing kit, and ceramic vase were also observed. Delgado commented: “I am reminded that history is about people—most of us humble, not powerful—and this wreck reveals the reality of how the vast majority do as they have always done: they work hard, sometimes in difficult circumstances and at times in harm’s way, because there is no other choice than to get up and go to work…or to sea.” (https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov) …
Matson, Inc,. and Philly Shipyard, Inc., christened the largest containership ever built in the United States in a ceremony on 30 June 2018. SS Daniel K. Inouye, named in honor of Hawaii’s late senior senator, is the first Aloha-class containership. The Daniel K. Inouye is the first of two new ships built for Honolulu-based Matson—at a cost of approximately $418 million for the two—and the first of four new vessels to be put into service for the shipping company over the next two years.
Senator Inouye’s wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, officially christened the vessel with the ceremonial champagne bottle with approximately 350 guests in attendance. The new vessel is 850 feet long and weighs 51,400 metric tons, with a capacity of 3,600 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU). Features include dual fuel engines that can be adapted to use liquefied natural gas, double fuel tanks, freshwater ballast systems, and a more fuel-efficient 1/8 pagehull AD design. (www. matson.com)
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NMHS Seminar Series Join Us for These Upcoming Presentations O’er the Wide and Tractless Sea: Original Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt with Michael Dyer: 22 September at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose, NY.
Hell Around the Horn: a nautical presentation and book signing with author Rick Spilman, 3 November at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose, New York.
Hudson River Lighthouses, Part II & Holiday Potluck: with historian Scott Craven, 1 December at the Cortlandt Yacht Club in Montrose, New York.
Call NMHS Headquarters at 914 737-7878 ext. 0 or visit online at www.seahistory.org/seminars for details.
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CALENDAR Conferences & Symposiums •2018 Historic Naval Ships Association Annual Conference, 25–28 September in Bremerton, WA, hosted by USS Turner Joy, the Naval Undersea Museum, & the Puget Sound Naval Museum. (www.hnsa.org) •“Literature at Sea: Storms, Shipwrecks, and Survival.” Shipboard conference organized by Troy University 17–24 December. The conference takes place during a cruise aboard MSC Armonia. Departs from Miami with port calls at Montego Bay (Jamaica), George Town (Grand Cayman), Cozumel (Mexico), and Havana (Cuba). (Conference website: www.spectrum.troy. edu/conference/index.htm; Cruise ship website: www.msccruisesusa.com) •American Historical Association, 133nd Annual Meeting, 3–6 January in Chicago, IL. (www.historians.org) •Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, 9–12 January in St. Louis, MO. Theme: “Making the Most of Opportunities: Education, Training, and Experiential Learning.” (www.sha.org) •2019 National Council on Public History Annual Meeting, 27–30 March in Hartford, CT. (www.ncph.org) •“Water Logics” Conference 11–12 April at Tulane University in New Orleans. (Contact Edwige Tamalet Talbayev at etamalet@ tulane.edu for more information.) •PCA/ACA National Conference (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association), 17–20 April in Washington, DC. “Sea Literature, History, & Culture” will be one of the subject areas presented. Call-for-Papers deadline is 1 October. (www.pcaaca.org) •Council of American Maritime Museums Annual Conference, 24–26 April in Manitowoc, WI, hosted by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Call for Papers notice will be posted this fall on the CAMM website. (www.councilofamericanmaritimemuseums.org) •International Congress of Maritime Museums (ICMM), 15–20 September 2019 in Sweden and Finland. The Congress begins in Stockholm, then moves by Baltic ferry—with Congress sessions held onboard—to Mariehamn in the Åland Islands. The Åland Maritime Museum will host the final days of the Congress. (www. icmmonline.org)
Festivals, Events, Lectures, Etc. •Lake Union Boats Af loat Show, 13–16 September in Seattle, WA. (South Lake Union, 901 Fairview Ave. North; www. boatsaf loatshow.com) •Boatyard Beach Bash, 15 September at the Annapolis Maritime Museum. (723 Second Street, Annapolis, MD; www. amaritime.org) •Greenport Maritime Festival, 21–23 September, in Greenport, Long Island, NY. (www.eastendmaritimefestival.org) •Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, 29–30 September, in Portsmouth, NH. (http://pmffest.org) •Southport Wooden Boat Show, 29 September at the Old Yacht Basin, Southport, NC. (Ph. 910 477-2787; www.southport woodenboatshow.com) •Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, 29–30 September at Lake Union Park in Seattle, WA. Hosted by the Center for Wooden Boats. (www.cwb.org, click on “events”) •Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, 6–7 October at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum; also at the museum is OysterFest on 27 October. (213 North Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD; www.cbmm.org) •USS Constellation Cup Regatta & Deck Party, 13 October, organized by Historic Ships in Baltimore. (301 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD; Ph. 410 539-1797; www. historicships.org) •Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival, 13 October along the Santa Barbara waterfront. (113 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA; www.harborfestival.org) •The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, 9–14 October from Baltimore, MD, to Portsmouth, VA. Dockside tours in Baltimore 9–10 October; Baltimore parade of sail is on 10 October; the race down the Bay is 11–12 October; select vessel tours in Portsmouth on 13 October. (www.gcbsr.org) •Wellfleet OysterFest, 13–14 October in Wellfleet, MA, on Cape Cod. (www.well fleetoysterfest.org) •Port Visit by the Viking Ship Draken Harald Hårfagre, plus the accompanying pop-up exhibition Draken Village, 5–15 October in Washington, DC. 735 Water Street, SW, Washington; www.drakenhh.com; updates posted on the ship’s Facebook page.)
E xhibits •25th Annual Maritime Art Exhibit, at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, OR; ends 29 September. Featured artist is Jeffery Hull. Also, 25 Years of Maritime Art Exhibitions through 6 October. (235 Anderson Avenue, Coos Bay, OR; Ph. 541 2673901; www.coosart.org) •Annie Hejny: Waterlines, 3 October through 6 January at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. (800 Riverview Dr., Winona, MN; Ph. 507 474-6626; www.mmam.org) •The Vikings Begin: Treasures from Uppsala University, Sweden, ends 30 September at Mystic Seaport. Also at the museum, Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition, 1 December through 28 April at Mystic Seaport. (47 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT; Ph. 860 572-5388; www.mysticseaport.org) •A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ’Round the World—The Original, through 8 October at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. (18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA; Ph. 508 997-0046; www.whalingmuseum.org) •Answering America’s Call, at the Mariners’ Museum. (100 Museum Dr., Newport News, VA; www.marinersmuseum.org) •Immigration on the Erie Canal, through November at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY. (318 Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse, NY; Ph. 315 471-0593; www. eriecanalmuseum.org •Scrimshandering: Ralph Cahoon, Scrimshaw, & Nantucket Whaling Heritage through 22 December at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, on Cape Cod. (4676 Falmouth Rd., Cotuit, MA; Ph. 508 428-7581; www.cahoonmuseum.org) •Man-of-War: Adventures Aboard a Fighting Ship, onboard “HMS” Surprise at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. (1492 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA; Ph. 619 234-9153; www.sdmaritime.org) •Workaday to Holiday: Schooners Along the Maine Coast through 21 October at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. (43 Washington St., Bath, ME; Ph. 207 4431316; www.mainemaritimemuseum.org) •Kent’s Carvers and Clubs: Guides, Gunners and Co-Ops, a new waterfowling exhibition at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. (213 North Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD; www.cbmm.org)
SEA SEAHISTORY HISTORY164, 164,AUTUMN AUTUMN2018 57 2018 57
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Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates by Eric Jay Dolin (Liveright Publishing, New York, 2018, 365pp, illus, notes, biblio, index, isbn 978-1-63149-210-5; $29.95hc) Black Flags, Blue Waters is a fast-paced scholarly narrative about seamen who turned rogue to terrorize the seventeenthand eighteenth-century Atlantic and Indian Ocean shipping routes. This brash, aberrant, but small segment of the North American colonial population became legendary in American history. Brigands of the sea, pirates have fascinated generations since their roughly two-century so-called golden age. Subjects of countless books, plays, movies, and other forms of entertainment, they have become more famous in death than in life. Eric Jay Dolin masterfully writes about this popular topic and then takes his reader upon a fascinating literary journey by exposing little-known events that surround and flesh out pirate history. Pirates were “miscreants [who] found sport to do mischief; where prodigious drinking, monstrous cursing and swearing, hideous blasphemies, open defiance of heaven and contempt of hell itself, was the constant employment.” Many of the troublemakers Dolin visits over the course of the book are familiar: Bellamy, Bonnet, Drake, Kidd, Low, Quelch, Roberts, Teach or Thatch (a.k.a. Blackbeard), Vane, Worley, and many more. He also introduces the reader to a few obscure, but engaging villains. After being admonished by fireand-brimstone clergy such as the likes of Cotton Mather, many ended up being hanged before a public gathering (dancing the “Tyburn jig”). Their corpses were left hanging in an iron cage near the harbor entrance or prominent point as a warning to those who harbored thoughts of engaging in piracy. Astonishingly, British colonists first welcomed pirates in American ports because they brought with them valuable items the colonists needed and/or desired. That the goods were obtained by thievery and occasionally murder in a remarkably religious emigrant society was self-serving, if not outright hypocritical. This was presumably considered acceptable because the seagoing bandits plundered Mughal “infi-
del” ships on distant oceans. Some saw this as a positive activity, a modern extension of the Crusades. When the pirates chose to attack British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch vessels in American waters, attitudes changed. This was also the era of privateering, when a governmental agency could grant a captain or a vessel a
Eric Dolin has produced an elegantly written history. His streaming writing style makes for enjoyable reading, and his penchant for distinguishing where fact has been garnished and morphed into legend creates sundry unexpected revelations. These romantic or repulsive sea rovers continue to captivate the imaginations of the public. Over the years, many books about pirates have been published, but Black Flags, Blue Waters is distinctive and an excellent addition to this subdivision of maritime history. Louis Arthur Norton West Simsbury, Connecticut
Pamir The Glencannon Press 4 col. inches (2.25 x 4.5 inches) Prefer right hand page, bottom right.
Sailing the Pacific during WWII by
letter of marque (an official license) to attack any vessel flying an enemy’s flag and take the ship and its cargo as a prize. With this authorizing document, the officers and crew would have the rich bounty auctioned off and divide the proceeds according to a predetermined contract or pact. The line between legal privateering and larcenous piracy eventually became blurred. Peace may have been achieved between belligerents, yet, because of sluggish communications, a privateer sailing far away on the high seas might be unaware of it. If he unknowingly attacked what was a former foe, it was considered a piratical act. For financial gain, some colonies were more tolerant of pirates and even created safe havens. The most underpublicized of these was the New York City area, and to a lesser degree Massachusetts, the Carolinas, and parts of the Caribbean. The stories of governmental officials who profited from this arrangement makes fascinating reading. Dolin also describes the thought-provoking pirate articles-of-agreement before a voyage began. These were a quasi-social security system for the crew, as well as a remarkable example of the pirate’s code of democracy.
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by Kurt D. Voss All proceeds from this pictorial history benefit the ELISSA preservation fund.
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White Fox and Icy Seas in the Western Arctic: The Fur Trade, Transportation, and Change in the Early Twentieth Century by John R. Bokstoce, Foreword by William Barr (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2018, 344pp, illus, maps, notes, index, isbn 978-0-300-22179-4; $40hc) John Bockstoce is at it again. The intrepid chronicler of Arctic maritime history has added another volume to his impressive collection of monographs dealing with the region and its varied inhabitants, human and otherwise. His latest contribution, White Fox and Icy Seas in the Western Arctic: The Fur Trade, Transportation, and Change in the Early Twentieth Century, is a sweeping account of economic and cultural exchanges in the far north, as seen through the prism of the trade in white fox furs. Relying on extensive research that includes archival and first-person accounts (the author is himself an accomplished Arctic mariner, with many decades of experience to his credit), this book introduces the reader to fantastic characters, the impact of haute couture on far-flung reaches of the north, and geopolitical turmoil associated with the Russian revolution and resultant international tensions. Bockstoce weaves a compelling narrative in this comprehensive account of the rise and fall of the Arctic fur trade, paying close attention to the reasons for this phenomenon and on what it meant to natives and newcomers in the region. Bockstoce spares no details in his accounting of the fur trade. He describes the origins and expansion of maritime trade in the Western Arctic, with a thorough accounting of the hazards one might (or would) encounter in the region. He walks the reader through the earliest attempts made to establish trading posts and economic footholds, and offers entrée into the world of indigenous denizens of the north. He speaks to the changes in fashion that led to an increased interest in fox furs, and describes how the centers of fashion—particularly Paris—impacted the lives of people half a world away. He describes the manner in which white fox were hunted, graded, transported, and traded over a span of several decades and many thousands of miles, with especial attention paid to the role of regional trading centers such as
Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco. The result is a book that—while focusing on the microcosm of the Western Arctic— really speaks to issues of a global nature. This work is equal parts history, geography, economics, and anthropology, as it shows the impact that new technologies (and economic systems) had on longestablished trade networks among native peoples. The result is a sweeping portrayal of the region during the half century from roughly 1890–1940, with especial focus on the cataclysmic changes wrought by external influences such as market capitalism. Bockstoce is at his best when he shows how the dramatic transformations impacted not just the centuries-old patterns of subsistence economies, but how the imposition of “modern” conveniences—embodied by such transnational players as the Hudson’s Bay Company— resulted in profound changes to the communities (and ecosystem) that dominated the Western Arctic. White Fox and Icy Seas in the Western Arctic is an important contribution to many subfields of maritime history. It adds an important element to the narrative of farnorth maritime history, while introducing a new perspective that augments the traditional dichotomy of frontier/metropole. With this latest contribution, John Bockstoce proves once again why he is the definitive source of all things related to Arctic maritime history. Timothy Lynch New York, New York The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps by Edward Brooke-Hitching (Chronicle Books, LLC, San Francisco, CA, 2017, 256pp, illus, biblio, index, isbn 978-1-4521-6840-1; $29.95hc) Maritime map fanatics rejoice—this is a book for you. From Atlantis to the Lands of the Zeno, “This is an atlas of the world—not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be.” These entirely fictitious places are vividly described and are handsomely illustrated in this atlas. BrookHitching begins with a four-page introduction explaining some of the reasons behind these mystifying maps and their “remarkable durability” through time (some SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
of the map mistakes existed for centuries.) These map “phantoms” were considered plagues on navigational charts, frequently leading ships astray on fruitless confirmation missions.” The atlas is organized—roughly— alphabetically by title of each map vignette. Each narrative is a minimum two-page spread (with some up to six pages) with multiple maps and corresponding stories explaining the origin of each legendary location. Each map mystery is noted with its approximate latitude and longitude coordinates, and the author captivatingly explains how the ideas behind them (the myths, lies and/or blunders) came about and why they were believed so widely. The historical account of each map is peppered with interesting anecdotes from a wide variety of sources. These include excerpts from ancient texts (Plato, Pliny, Herodotus, and Strabo), travel journals and notes from voyages of exploration (Columbus, Cook, Cortez, and Darwin), letters, official reports, and journals—all written with an enjoyable blend of humor. The first map in the book and the oldest map mentioned depicts Atlantis in 340 BC. Brook-Hitching points out that “all missing islands of the past pale in scale to the largest and most famous fugitive of all: the island of Atlantis—‘larger than Libya and Asia put together,’ according to Plato, whose dialogue...describes the land in detail.” The maps selected for the book draw on examples from the past 2,300 years (360 BC to 2012) and encompass cities, islands, lands, rivers, seas, reefs, straights, and mountains. The atlas then continues with more than 200 pages covering fifty-five misleading maps from around the world and literally from every continent and ocean basin. Additionally, it has ten pages about the sea monsters on maps with enlargements of each creature from the original map, eight pages on monsters in medieval maps (mythological portraiture), six pages on Paradise, and four pages on the history of the Flat Earth. This compilation of lively, skillfully illustrated stories about myths, mysteries, and imaginings as recorded on maps holds something for everyone, young and old.
Many of these stories are known in the cartographic/geography community but here they all are in one place, and it’s a decidedly nautical place. Jennifer L. Rahn Saba, Netherlands Antilles Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin by Matthew J. James (Oxford University Press, New York, 2017, 284pp, illus, biblio, notes, appen, index, isbn 9780-19935-459-7; $34.95hc) Eight young men set off for the Galapagos Islands in 1905 for an expected eighteen-month journey to collect biological specimens in a time when slaughtering animals was considered to be a boon for science—the rarer the species, the better. Under the banner of the Museum of the California Academy of Sciences, they
sailed in the wake of Charles Darwin, as well as that of paleontologist Georg Baur. There was a ninth major player in this expedition—the research vessel Academy. The 89-foot schooner, formerly named USS Earnest, had served in two previous careers before setting sail with the collecting expedition, suffering mishaps in both. In 1876, under the operational control of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, it ran aground on Isle au Haut, Maine; in 1904, as a training ship for the US Navy, it was tossed ashore in a storm on Yerba Buena Island in California. The Navy sold it to the California academy for $1,000, and off it sailed into a new branch of maritime history. James’s retelling of the expedition is detailed down to the skinning of the last tortoise and includes the trials of the seagoing portions of the mission. The crew of
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SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 61
“sailor-scientists” spent 366 days among the islands, which included several groundings. By the time the expedition left the islands in 1906 for the trek home, the ship was without its navigator, who had been given a vote of no confidence by the rest of the team and decided to find his own way back to San Francisco. Battered during the lengthy voyage, when problems with the rig plagued the crew every couple of days, the schooner limped home, arriving at the Golden Gate late in November of 1906. The expedition’s successful return had become increasingly important. The previous spring, the museum had burned down in the aftermath of the great San Francisco earthquake of 18 April 1906 and was a total loss. With the return of the expedition, the thousands of specimens—lava lizards, mockingbirds, beetles, and other collected species—packed into the schooner would provide the museum with a new collection, saving the future of the museum itself. James recounts the expedition and the ripples it sent through the study of evolutionary biology for decades to come, ultimately vindicating the theories of Charles Darwin. John Galluzzo Hanover, Massachusetts
discussion of the fleets in which they identify the various warships of the navies involved in the war and make comparisons where possible. They define their terms in preparation for discussions of the conflicts. Appendix I, Ship Specifications, supports chapter one with a listing and silhouette of each nation’s vessels: Austro-Hungarian navy (Kaiseriche und Königllche Kriegsmarine), Ottoman navy (Osmanli Donanmasi), German navy (Kaiserliche Marine), French navy (Marine Nationale), Italian navy (Regia Marina), Russian navy (Rossiiskii imperatorskii flot), United Kingdom (Royal Navy), and Japanese navy (one ship, Takaschio). The chapters each cover a year in the war and examine the naval battles that occurred during that time, from 1914 through 1918. Each case is set out as illustrated in the example below, before a narrative description of the action, often replete with numbers of rounds fired by size and evaluations of the effectiveness of the shooting. Within each chapter the authors address actions in the North, Baltic, Black, and Mediterranean Seas, and nonEuropean waters.
Clash of Fleets: Naval Battles of the Great War, 1914–18 by Vincent P. O’Hara and Leonard R. Heinz (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2017, 373pp, illus, maps, notes, index, isbn 978-1-682-47008-4; $34.95) Books published by the Naval Institute Press are top notch and their recent title, Clash of Fleets: Naval Battles of the Great War, 1914–18, is no exception. Vincent P. O’Hara and Leonard R. Heinz have researched and set forth in detail all the naval battles of World War I. Engagements so minor as to leave little trace are included in a listing in an appendix. Mention of the Great War, what later became World War I, brings to mind trenches, artillery duels, tanks, machine guns, and human slaughter on a biblical scale, so overwhelming as to overshadow the active war on water. A reading of Clash of Fleets leaves the reader wondering why so much death and destruction at sea is rarely acknowledged. The authors open their work with a
Battle of the Falklands: 8 December 1914, 0919–2130 Conditions: Clear, deteriorating later Missions: British, none; Germans, raid British Force (Vice Admiral Doveton Sturdee): BC Invincible#, Inflexible+; CA Carnarvon, Cornwall#, Kent#; CL Glasgow#, Bristol; AMC Macedonia. German Force (Vice Admiral Maximilian Spee§: CA Gneisenau*, Scharnhorst;* CL Nürnberg,* Dresden, Leipzig*
The following is a sample presentation from Clash of Fleets (p. 96):
[BC = Battle Cruiser; CA = Armored Cruiser; CL Light Cruiser; # = put out of action; + = damaged but remained in action; § = killed in action; * = sunk] Clash of Fleets: Naval Battles of the Great war 1914–18 makes good reading, but any reader who considers opportunity cost will blanch at: “…the Germans lost 954 killed
and 80 wounded …” and “The battleship sank with 640 men drowned.” The lives and the treasure expended on weapons and ammunition was, and continues to be, appalling. Notwithstanding, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in World War I, those wanting an exciting narrative, and general readers. Dr. David O. Whitten Auburn, Alabama To the Walls of Derne: William Eaton, the Tripoli Coup, and the End of the First Barbary War by Chipp Reid (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2017, 376pp, illus, biblio, notes, index, isbn 978-1-61251813-8; $29.95hc) To the Walls of Derne is a quite complete history of the Barbary Wars, offering detail generally not found in most of the works on the subject. One of my problems with this rendition is the book’s title; I expected the book to be about Marine Corps Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon and William Eaton’s march across 500 miles of desert—from Alexandria to Derne—with a somewhat ragtag group of mercenaries to attack Yusef Karamanli’s fort there. While the story did indeed include some of that march, it occupied barely fifty pages of the book. Mr. Reid spent an inordinate amount of time on the backstory and personal biographies that really were, while interesting to the reader, inconsequential to the subject—at least as stated in the title. Other irrelevancies include a political fight regarding the formation of the Marines, and USS Constitution’s visit to Portugal. The research Mr. Reid did, using mostly primary sources (an absolute mandate to any historian worth his salt), was copious and commendable; unfortunately, there was no filter on what got included. It was almost as though the author felt he had to include exact quotes from letters or other historic documents in order to be credible, instead of simply stating that thus and so happened, including a footnote for accuracy. This feature in the book made it a bit ponderous to work through for the reader. His editor should have remedied this, as well as some of the word errors that appeared from time to time. Occasional convoluted sentence structure confounded me, another editoSEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018
New & Noted rial shortfall. His timeline wandered over a period of four or five years, jumping back and forth as his scene and character changed. Writers write, editors are supposed to edit; I got the impression that Mr. Reid’s editor fell a bit short of the mark. All the foregoing aside, To The Walls of Derne will give the interested reader a complete story of the Barbary Wars. One of the more interesting aspects of Mr. Reid’s effort is that he includes narrative from both sides of the conflict; the citizens and rulers of the Barbary Coast also have a voice. The story covers the political infighting, the individual conflicts, and hardships of fighting a war far from the home front, managed by mostly inept senior officers. Reid spares few punches in detailing the failures of the military and civilian leaders responsible for overseeing the conflict, all well documented. I can recommend this book with few caveats to any interested in America’s first foreign war and the politics associated therewith. William H. White Rumson, New Jersey
Above & Beyond: John F. Kennedy and America’s Most Dangerous Cold War Spy Mission by Casey Sherman & Michael J. Tougias (PublicAffairs, New York, 2018, 329pp, isbn 978-1-61039-804-6; $28hc) Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World’s Fastest Clipper Ships by Steven Ujifusa (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2018, 427pp, isbn 978-1-4767-45978; $29.99hc Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro by Rachel Slade (Ecco, New York, 2018, 416pp, isbn 978-0-06269-970-1 In Peril on the Sea: The Forgotten Story of the William & Mary Shipwreck by Kenneth A. Schaaf (Van Raalte Press, Holland, Michigan, 2018, 304pp, isbn 9780-9891469-6-8; $30pb) World War II at Sea: A Global History by Craig L. Symonds (Oxford University Press, New York, 2018, 792pp, isbn 9780-19024-367-8; $34.95hc)
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The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams (Chicago Review Press, Chicago, 2017, 304pp, isbn 978-1-61373-7583; $26.99hc) Twain at Sea: The Maritime Writings of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, edited by Eric Paul Roorda (University Press of New England / Seafaring America Series, Hanover, NH, 2018, 263pp, isbn 978-1-51260151-0; $19.95pb) The Whale And His Captors; Or, The Whaleman’s Adventures by Henry T. Cheever and edited by Robert D. Madison (University Press Of New England, Lebanon, NH, 2018, 242pp, isbn 978-1-51260266-1; $40pb) To Master The Boundless Sea: The US Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire by Jason W. Smith (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2018, 269pp, isbn 978-1-46964004-0; $35hc)
In Hostile Waters a novel by
William H. White award-winning author of the 1812 Trilogy
Volume I: The story behind the 1848 Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World Volume II: The entire 1,275 ft. Panorama reproduced with narrative details store.whalingmuseum.org 508-997-0046 ext. 127
It’s 1813 and US Navy Lieutenant William Henry Allen takes the brig Argus across the Atlantic to take the fight to the British in their home waters. Oliver Baldwin, from The Greater the Honor and In Pursuit of Glory, sails as first lieutenant for the commission. In a matter of a few weeks, Allen and his crew sink or burn 21 British merchant ships before the Royal Navy catches on and sends HMS Pelican out to hunt down the marauders. The brig Pelican is commanded by none other than Edward Ballantyne, recently seen in Gun Bay and previously in When Fortune Frowns. When the two brigs find each other at sea off the coast of Wales...well, it’s a battle worthy of a novel. In Hostile Waters is available in paperback or on Kindle through Amazon.com. For more on William H. White and his books, visit the author’s website: www.seafiction.net.
SEA HISTORY 164, AUTUMN 2018 63
NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL SOCIETY AFTERGUARD J. Aron Charitable Foundation, Inc. The Artina Group Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger CACI International George W. Carmany III James J. Coleman . James O. Coleman Condé Nast Crawford Taylor Foundation Christopher J. Culver Edward A. Delman Brian D’Isernia & Eastern Shipbuilding Group Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation In Memory of Ignatius Galgan C. Duff Hughes & The Vane Brothers Company Arthur M. Kimberly Trust Dr. J. Phillip London Richardo R. Lopes Guy E. C. Maitland J. W. Marriott Foundation McAllister Towing & Transportation Company, Inc. Ronald L. Oswald Estate of Walter J. Pettit, Sr. In Memory of Capt. Joseph Ramsey, USMM Charles A. Robertson Howard Slotnick Capt. Cesare Sorio John Stobart Andrew C. Taylor Charles H. Townsend Weeks Marine Inc. William H. White BENEFACTORS Robert C. Ballard Chesapeake Bay Foundation VADM Dirk Debbink, USNR (Ret.) Richard T. du Moulin Elite Island Resorts EMR Southern Recycling David S. Fowler Green Family in Honor of Burchie Green Don & Kathy Hardy J. D. Power Family Robert F. Kamm VADM Al Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.) Mercury Erik & Kathy Olstein ADM Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.) David & Susan Rockefeller Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Rutherford Jr. Scarano Boat Building, Inc. Philip J. Shapiro Marjorie Shorrock Skuld North America Inc. H. C. Bowen Smith Norma Stanford In Memory of Peter Stanford Philip & Irmy Webster Jean Wort PLANKOWNERS Alban Cat Power Systems Caddell Dry Dock & Repair Co. RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.) Cincinnati Financial Corporation Charles Todd Creekman Jr. Dr. William S. & Donna Dudley General Dynamics William J. Green Royal Holly The Ruth R. Hoyt/Anne H. Jolley Foundation, Inc. Huntington Ingalls Industries Benjamin Katzenstein H. Kirke Lathrop Thomas & Deborah Lawrence H. F. Lenfest National Geographic National Marine Sanctuary Foundation CAPT James A. Noone, USN (Ret.) Stephen B. Phillips Dr. Timothy J. Runyan Peter A. Seligmann Star Clipper Cruises Alix Thorne US Navy Memorial Foundation Chris Walker Adam Wronowski SPONSORS American Bureau of Shipping Paul M. Aldrich Jim. &. Christine. Bruns Stephen & Carol Burke Dr. John & Rachel Cahill Douglas Campbell Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Conservation International C. W. Craycroft The Edgar & Geraldine Feder Foundation, Inc. Mrs. D. L. Fleischmann D. Harry W. Garschagen Burchenal Green ADM Jonathan Greenert, USN (Ret.) Robert S. Hagge Jr. Marius Halvorsen Capt. Howard R. Hill Jr. Hornbeck Offshore Independence Seaport Museum The Interlake Steamship Company J F Lehman & Company Neil E. Jones William Kahane Cyrus C. Lauriat Hon. John Lehman Norman Liss Panaghis Lykiardopulo The MacPherson Fund, Inc. Maine Maritime Museum Marine Society of the City of New York Ann Peters Marvin Mark Mashburn Buckley McAllister David J. & Carolyn D. McBride McCarter & English, LLC CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.) Dr. Joseph F. Meany Jr. RADM John T. Mitchell Jr., USN (Ret.) Robert E. Morris Jr. William G. Muller Navy League of the U.S. New York Yacht Club The Betty Sue and Art Peabody Fund Hon. S. Jay Plager Pritzker Military Foundation John Rich Rhianna Roddy George Schluderberg A. R. Schmeidler & Co., Inc. Karl A. Senner Shipbuilders Council of America CDR William h. Skidmore Philip Stephenson Foundation University of Utah Andres Duarte Vivas VSE Corporation George & Anne Walker Waterford Group Thomas Wayne Daniel Whalen DONORS Allen Insurance Financial CAPT Donald Bates, USNR Eleanor F. Bookwalter James O. Burri John Caddell II RADM Nevin P. Carr Jr., USN (Ret.) Stephen Caulfield James W. Cheevers Gerald F. B. Cooper John C. Couch Draper Laboratory Dr. John Finerty Mr. & Mrs. Eugene P. Finger Robert P. Fisher Jr. Robert Franzblau Richard Hansen CAPT Roger P. Hartgen, USCG (Ret.) Christian Havemeyer J. Russell Jinishian Gallery Mary Burrichter & Bob Kierlin Kobrand Corp. & Marco Sorio James P. Latham Paul Jay Lewis Drew McMullen Fred Meendsen Walter C. Meibaum III Richard Muller New York Container Terminal Capt. Eric Nielsen Mrs. Joanne O’Neil CAPT Richard T. O’Shea, USMC Philip B. Persinger Nathaniel Philbrick Mr. & Mrs. William P. Rice Charles Raskob Robinson Capt. Bert Rogers Levent Kemal Sadikoglu Lee H. Sandwen Scholarship America James Edward Spurr Gerould R. Stange Philip E. Stolp Daniel R. Sukis Mr. & Mrs. William Swearingin Tall Ship Providence Alfred Tyler II USCGC Ingham Memorial Museum Roy Vander Putten Gerald Weinstein & Mary Habstritt Richard C. Wolfe PATRONS CDR Everett Alvarez Jr., USN (Ret.) John Appleton Carter S. Bacon Jr. William Baker Ernest T. Bartol Charles R. Beaudrot Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Bellafiore Theodore Bernstein Arthur A. Birney Arthur Birney J r . CAPT R. A. Bowling, USN (Ret.) RADM David C. Brown, USMS (Ret.) Jerry M. Brown Robert P. Burke Judith L. Carmany Russell P. Chubb James M. Clark Jr. Dr. Gerard J. Clifford Jr. J. Barclay Collins Sean Crahan Jack Creighton Morgan Daly James M. D’Angelo Joan M. Davenport Dr. Jacob Deegan Anthony Delellis James P. Delgado C. Henry Depew Capt. John W. Dorozynski Steven Draper Michael F. Dugan Richard H. Dumas Reynolds duPont Jr. Egan Maritime Institute Theodore Eckberg, M. D. Ken Ewell Fairbanks Morse Donald Faloon Bruce K. Farr OBE Ben P. Fisher Jr. James J. FolJohn F. Gradel Arthur Graham ey Jr. Peter P. Gerquest Capt. Dwight Gertz Mary Lee Giblon-Sheahan James R. Gifford Edwin H. Grant Jr. Tom Green Ray Guinta J. Callender Heminway Dr. David Hayes William L. Henry Steven A. Hyman Timothy A. Ingraham Andrew MacAoidh Jergens Gary Jobson RADM Eric C. Jones, USCG Jane Sundelof Jones Richard Julian John Kapteyn Ken Keeler The Kelton Foundation James L. Kerr James & Barbara Kerr Omie & Laurence Kerr Mr. & Mrs. Chester W. Kitchings Jr. R. Joyce Kodis Mr. & Mrs. Richard W. Kurts John L. Langill Chris Lautz F. W. Lee W. Peter Lind Robert Lindmark In Memory of John B. Lyon Babcock MacLean Mr. & Mrs. Alan McKie Richard S. Merrell Christopher W. Metcalf Glenn L. Metzger Richard A. & Lois Meyer Vincent Miles Charles H. Miller Michael G. Moore Jack & Marcia Moore CAPT R. G. Moore, USCG (Ret.) Thomas A. Moran Vance Morrison Michael Moss & Ellen Chapman James A. Neel Randy Nichols Eric A. Oesterle Roger Ottenbach William L. Palmer Jr. Col. Bruce E. Patterson, USA Robert L. Petersen Peter B. Poulsen Jennifer N. Pritzker David Prohaska Dr. G. Michael Purdy Mr. & Mrs. Andrew A. Radel Michael J. Rauworth George Raymond Demetra Reichart William E. Richardson Christopher Richmond, AAI, AINS In Memory of Richard E. Riegel Jr. Reed Robertson William M. Rosen James G. Sargent Robert W. Scott Mr. & Mrs. John R. Sherwood III RADM & Mrs. Bob Shumaker, USN (Ret.) Edmund Sommer Patricia Steele Rob Surprenant A. E. & Diana Szambecki F. Davis Terry Jr. RADM Cindy Thebaud Charles Tobin Capt. John Torjusen Robert J. Tyd William Van Loo Carol Vinall Terry Walton Dr. John Dix Wayman Capt. Eric T. Wiberg Bill Wissel James R. Williamson David Winkler Woodson K. Woods
NMHS Ship’s Store Featuring John Medeiros Jewelry
Amethyst, Black, and Aqua
Amethyst, Aqua, Black, Champagne, Garnet, Indigo, Peridot
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Canary Islands & Madeira Winter Warmth 14 Nights on the Balmoral – Fares from only $1,690 per person Day/Date Sat Jan 5 Sun Jan 6 – Mon Jan 7 Tue Jan 8 Wed Jan 9 Thu Jan 10 Fri Jan 11 Sat Jan 12 Sun Jan 13 Mon Jan 14 Tue Jan 15 – Wed Jan 16 Thu Jan 17 Fri Jan 18 Sat Jan 19
Southampton, UK Cruising Lisbon, Portugal Cruising Funchal, Madeira Santa Cruz, La Palma Santa Cruz, Tenerife Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Gran Tarajal, Fuerteventura Cruising La Coruna, Spain Cruising Southampton, UK
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firstname.lastname@example.org Call Toll Free 877.318.6228 www.fredolsencruisesusa.com Fares are per person, based on double occupancy of the lead-in double cabin, subject to availability. Offers may be amended or withdrawn at any time without prior notice, are subject to availability and cannot be applied retrospectively. All bookings are subject to Fred.Olsen’s standard terms & conditions, available on www.fredolsencruises.com & on request. Some ports may be at anchor, intermediate days are at sea. FOCL reserves the right to amend itineraries for operational reasons. Anchor fares: Full payment is required at the time of booking; 100% cancellation charges apply and guests cannot transfer their booking to an alternative cruise, and cabin grade and number will be confirmed at check-in, not before; additional discounts do not apply. Oceans Club benefits and discounts are not combinable with Anchor Fares. For the purpose of clarity, Travel Edge is acting as the principal and not as agent of Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines.