Sea History 179 - Summer 2022

Page 6



Celebrating a Milestone

ifty years. During times of war and peace, recession and prosperity, for longer than any of our staff or trustees have been with the National Maritime Historical Society, our publication Sea History has flourished. Over the years since its modest beginnings, it has become the pre-eminent journal of the maritime heritage community, preserving and promoting the stories, ships, and culture of our seafaring past in myriad ways. As print media publications dwindle or disappear altogether, Sea History relishes her halfcentury status, and carries on. Our long-time senior staff writer, Shelley Reid, pulled together the history of the magazine—from its first black-and-white 40-page issue in 1972 to the 64-page color publication you are reading right now—for an installment of our biweekly online and email feature Sea History Today; you can read it at https:// It is an excellent overview, explaining such things as how we started regular features still included today, like Sea History for Kids, plus past features long since retired—Peter Stanford’s popular “Cape Horn Road”—and more recently concluded, such as Peter McCracken’s guide to researching maritime topics on the internet. Today, Sea History is resplendent with vibrant color illustrations, and each issue carries fascinating articles about key events and people in our maritime past, stories of everyday sailors past and present, news of maritime archaeology and what it has to teach us, updates on historic ships in danger of disappearing forever, book reviews, and news from a wide range of topics in the maritime heritage field. It tells the stories, great and small, that make up the wondrous panorama of our maritime history. Historic ship stewards and maritime museum leaders have told us that the features we have published in Sea History have often made the difference in promoting exhibitions, supporting and saving collections, and even helping historic ships claw off a lee shore. Sea History has had only a handful of editors in its long history. Frank O. Braynard edited the first issue, Norman Brouwer the following two, both men giants in the field. Peter Stanford then became editor from 1976 until 1999, interrupted only by a short stint in 1988, when author and historian Lincoln Paine served as editor for two issues. Peter called Sea History “the journal of a cause in motion, the cause of the living heritage of seafaring.” He passed the torch to Justine Ahlstrom. Deirdre O’Regan, our current editor, took the helm in 2003 and has embraced the role with the experience and enthusiasm of someone who has sailed across oceans, worked as a sailmaker both ashore and at sea, and taught maritime history and literature to undergraduates. Even in the early issues that did not have the sophisticated layout and high-quality images the magazine is known for today, the content was engaging and important. It has always been a remarkable publication; it just gets more so with each issue. When our beloved trustee Rodney Houghton died in 2008, it seemed the most appropriate way to honor his memory was to inaugurate a yearly award for the best feature article in Sea History. Rodney had been an avid reader and supported the efforts to share the stories of our seafaring heritage with current and future generations, to make sure they were not forgotten. The list of the award winners ( at right) and their feature articles reflects the excellence and diversity in the publication. Over the years hundreds of thousands of readers have discovered in the pages of Sea History magazine a treasure-trove of stories that captivate, inspire, and above all educate Americans about the vital role of the sea and those who have sailed upon it. The lessons that our seafaring history teaches us—the values of hard work, courage, preparation, and good spirit—are timeless. And we plan to have Sea History continue to tell those stories on its 100th anniversary. —Burchenal Green, NMHS President 4

Rodney N. Houghton Award for the Best Feature Article in Sea History —Past Recipients — William H. White (2008) “In the Wake of Bounty: A Voyage of Recovery” James L. Nelson (2009) “Taking the Fight to Sea: Machias and the First Sea Fight of the American Revolution” Capt. Arie L. Bleicher (2010) “Man and the Oceans” Matthew Stackpole (2011) “Restoring an Icon—Preparing the Whaleship Charles W. Morgan for her 38th Voyage” Capt. Walter Rybka (2012) “The War of 1812 on the Inland Seas” J. Phillip London (2013) “Before ‘Old Ironsides’—the Origins of USS Constitution and Her First Captain, Samuel Nicholson” Andrew Lambert (2014) “British Strategy in the War of 1812—the Balance of Power in Europe and the Perils of a Peripheral War” Kathleen Ciolfi/Geoff Carton (2015) “Explosives (see note C): The Unusual End of the Robert Louis Stevenson” James P. Delgado (2016) “Maritime Archaeology in the 21st Century” William H. Thiesen (2017) “Cutterman Frank Newcomb and the Rescue of USS Winslow” Donald Shomette (2017) “Tidal Wave: The Greatest Ship Launch in History” CAPT Michael J. Rauworth (2018) “Probing the Mysteries of the Jones Act” Paul Johnston (2019) “The Smithsonian, the US Navy, and Aquatic Avian Excrement” Kathleen Broome Williams (2020) “‘Amazing Grace’ Hopper: The Woman Who Brought the Navy into the Digital Age” Skip Finley (2021) “John Mashow (1805–1893): From Slavery to Master Shipbuilder and Designer” SEA HISTORY 179, SUMMER 2022

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