Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Moby 360

Coming up this weekend on NPR's Studio 360 is a rebroadcast of the 2004 Peabody Award winning show on "Moby Dick". From an interview with Ray Bradbury, author of the Gregory Peck film adaptation to Laurie Anderson's opera, to Moby-Dude, a play about a teenager's summarization of the novel, 360's host Kurt Anderson discusses the many influences Melville's great white novel has had on American culture.

No need to wait for the broadcast however, you can catch it at Ishmael, Ahab, Moby.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War

Or...more on the common sailor. The University of North Carolina Press recently published Michael J. Bennett's study of Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War. Unlike Union solder's who joined the army for ideological reason, Bennett argues that sailors enlisted because of "practical circumstances formed within the realities of class ethnicity, and race."

Relying on diaries and letters, as well as statisical enlistment information this book provides an interesting picture of why and who formed the bulk of the Union Navy.
This book is also the winner of the 2004 John Lyman Award for U.S. Naval History as presented by the North American Society for Oceanic History

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fire and Water: The CIGNA Firefighting and Maritime Collection

Here's a new and interesting twist on museum exhibits; exhibit the processing of a collection. The National Museum of American History invites visitors to observe staff processing one of their newest collections which includes maritime and firefiring paintings such as the one above - "The Great Fire at Chicago, October 8th, 1871" by Currier and Ives.

Fire and Water

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Afternoon Break

A few posts ago detailed several events commomerating Trafalgar Day, one of the most noteable being Adnams special ale. The Adnams company not only makes a good beer, and a good website, they also have a rather fun game for us to play. Go to Win Adnams Prints - and good luck!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Job Posting - Education and Volunteer Assistant Santa Barbara, CA

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is seeking to hire a full-time Education and Volunteer Assistant. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum's mission is to educate the community and visitors about the unique maritime history of California's central coast through interactive and hands-on educational programs such as the Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship Education Program. Over the past 8 years the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has been privileged to offer such exciting programs as the Wyland Ocean Challenge, multiple Surf Film Series' highlighting new and classic surf films, an engaging lecture series and adult education program, the Tall Ship Education Program, the JASON Project, and much more. The Education and Volunteer Assistant works intimately with the Education Coordinator on all education projects and is highly involved in the planning and execution of all programs.

All interested applicants, please email Education Coordinator, Stephanie Griesmer, at or call (805) 962-8404 ext. 109

Le Griffon

Le Griffon is considered to have been the first actual ship on the Upper Great Lakes and the most recent to wind up in a court battle. The Great Lakes Exploration Group and the state of Michigan are arguing over ownership of a wreck believed to be that of Le Griffon. While the matter still remains undecided the parties have agreed to jointly begin exploration. Chicago Sun Times Article.

According to Wikipedia Le Griffon "The ship was launched in the Niagara River as a forty-five ton Barque with five guns. On its maiden voyage in 1679 it was sailed across Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. On its return trip it vanished with all six crew members and a load of furs"

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Your history: Maritime History

The hundreds of thousands of common sailors who formed the backbone of early North American commerce are virtually invisible. Unless they were among the very few who left diaries and letters of their travels they have disappeared from the historical record for all except the very dedicated researcher willing to spend countless hours pouring over fading reels of microfilm containing the crew lists. While more and more museums, maritime or otherwise have exhibits focused on the experience of the common man, as opposed to the leading class, captains, etc. very few if any have identified all the participants by name.

Now however there are a few notable exceptions:

New London Crew List Database: 1803-1878

Young Men and the Sea: Salem Databases

Black Sailors Research Project

The research potential is enormous!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Magic of Antarctic Colours

"For most people, thoughts of historical exploration in Antarctica typically center on dogs, skis, snowshoes, and people in fur, not paintbrushes or sketch pads." However it was common for explorers of polar regions to be accompanied by artists who would visually record those dogs, skis, snowshoes, people and polar sites for research and for popular distribution in books and articles. The "Magic of Antarctic Colours" exhibits the vibrantly painted works of David Abbey Paige, an artist who accompanied Byrd on his 1933 expedition.

The Gallery page of the exhibit provides a quick overview of the Magic. The full size images are just as intense, the pastels giving an etheral edge to each piece.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What Better Way to Celebrate!

Flagship is the new beer from Adnams; brewers of real beer from the Suffolk coast. It has been specifically created to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of The Battle of Trafalgar and to mark the great maritime tradition of the East Anglian Coast.

Adnams’ Flagship is named after Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship: HMS Victory. A further tribute to Britain’s naval victory can be seen in the new design for the Flagship logo, which uses the maritime colours of blue and gold. Look closer at the ‘Flags’ icon and you can see it cleverly replicates the first two words of Nelson’s famous signal, “England expects that everyman will do his duty”, which is flown in celebration every year from Victory’s masts.

Flagship beer is served as a draft beer and is a seaworthy 4.3% ABV! It is available nationally now until 11th November from all Adnams pubs and licensers.

press release

Even better than their beer however is Adnams website. It's very maritime with sound effects and images, but not the least bit hoakie

Monday, October 17, 2005

Maritime Chic

Fear not maritime enthusiasts, we are living the life the rich and famous aspire to, or at the very least, play at. New York's nautically themed Maritime Hotel promises to give guests the maritime experience without ever leaving land.

How? you ask.

According to Stephen Beaumont it's the ambience. "Entering the hotel lobby is akin to wading into a warm, welcoming sea, with intensely marine blue carpeting and soft lighting combining to produce a romantically nautical sensation." And then there are the rooms with "walls that curve rather than angle into the ceiling and large porthole windows that actually open."

For those of you planning a cruise to New York City - rooms run from $245-$295. Official Maritime Hotel Website.

Friday, October 14, 2005

PortCities UK

If you were drawn to the image of the sailors in port from the last post you might be interested to know that it came from a wonderful and rich website called PortCities UK

The site is divided into 5 sections, one each for the ports of Bristol, Hartlepool, Liverpool, London, and Southampton. Within the sections there are numerous essays and images addressing the issues that formed that particular port. As an example, the London section has an essay on "Prison hulks on the River Thames", "Trades, industries, and institutions", as well as many others. The site also includes a "Fun and Games" Section and an e-card option. Which I had lots of fun with.

Culture Shock

Dan "Wingfoot" Bruce's Bible to Thru Hikers of the Appalachian Trail concludes with a chapter on "Life After the Trail." Wingfoot offers congratulations to those who have completed over 2000 miles and endless days of hiking. He also offers a warning:

Some people have no reentry problem, but, for most, this transition involves a period of culture shock and stress, and perhaps a period of depression. The Thru-Hiker's Handbook.

If this is the effect of a six month, albeit strenuous, vacation, what then would be the reentry shock for some one who has been at sea for 2 to 4 years? Occasionally a Thru-Hiker will summit Katadhin, turn West and start hiking to Georgia. Is it any wonder that sailors spend a night or two in port and sign back on the next ship to leave port?

Trafalgar Day - 21 October 1805

It has been pointed out, or rather should I say, I have been warned, that it would show a great lack of judgment and maritime acumen if I were to let the 200th anniversary of Lord Nelson's historic victory off the south-west coast of Spain pass without mention.

And indeed Trafalgar Day is a big one in the Maritime World. There are celebrations being held around the world. The Australian National Maritime Museum is holding a one-day seminar on Sunday, 23 October and the Lord Mayor of Newcastle will lay a wreath at the memorial to Admiral Lord Collingwood in the City's St. Nicholas Cathedral. (Collingwood took charge when Nelson was killed.)

The main event however, is the Trafalgar 200 celebration which includes Her Majesty is dining onboard HMS VICTORY, Wreaths being laid at Nelson's Tomb, The Royal Navy participating in a commemorative program organized by the Spanish Navy, and in Portsmouth the BBC Singers and the BBC Concert Orchestra will perform a concert.

The Royal Navy hosts a site detailing the Battle of Trafalgar and Lord Nelson's career.

The Naval Historical Center has also electronically published "An Authentic Narrative of the Proceedings of His Majesty's Squadron, under the Command of Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson...." in celebration of the event.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Here's another....

This one is a little late making it to the Blog, but there is still plenty of time to apply.

Contact: Amy Harbur, 202-939-4753
Washington, D.C. – For the fifth year, the Council on Library and Information Resources is offering fellowships funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support dissertation research in the humanities in original sources.
Applications postmarked by November 15, 2005 (November 1, 2005, if mailed from outside the United States) will be considered for about 10 awards to be announced by April 1, 2006 for use beginning between June 1 and September 1, 2006.
The purposes of the program are to:
· help junior scholars in the humanities and related social-science fields gain skill and creativity in developing knowledge from original sources;
· enable dissertation writers to do research wherever relevant sources may be rather than just where financial support is available;
· encourage more extensive and innovative uses of original sources in libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and related repositories in the U.S. and abroad; and
· provide insight from the viewpoint of doctoral candidates into how scholarly resources can be developed for access most helpfully in the future.
Application information and forms are available under Awards at, or may be requested from CLIR by e-mail at, by telephone at 202-939-4750, or by regular mail at CLIR Mellon Fellowships/1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW/Suite 500/Washington, DC 20036.
The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good. Through publications, projects, and programs, CLIR works to maintain and improve access to information for generations to come. In partnership with other institutions, CLIR helps create services that expand the concept of "library" and supports the providers and preservers of information.
Amy J. Harbur
Program Associate
Council on Library and Information Resources
1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
202.939.4753 tel
202.939.4765 fax

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Young Men and the Sea

Command at Sea - and at Home

Guilt often overwhelms me when I look through the Naval History shelves of the Library. I must confess, I don’t know all that much about it. In a recent attempt to rectify the situation I picked up Michael A. Palmer’s (Professor of History, East Carolina University) Command at Sea: Naval Command and Control Since the Sixteenth Century.

The text follows naval history through the last 400 years focusing on the interplay of command and control and communication. Palmer argues that “decentralized approaches as exemplified by Nelson are on the whole superior to more centralized systems” and that technological advances in communication, which are used to centralize command, are therefore ineffective if not downright harmful.

According to Palmer, Nelson succeeded because he “chose to rely on the initiative of men who had, he hoped absorbed from him an overall philosophy of battle.” In other words, rather than commanding them every second, he gave them his general philosophy and then trusted his subordinates to take it from there. A very good lesson for all of us.