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

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yarns (that you can knit or crochet)

The latest issue of Sea History magazine has a wonderful profile of the Seamen's Church Institute's Christmas at Sea program. Knitting and crocheting for sailors has a long tradition, which is still going strong--if you knit or crochet, you still have time to participate! There are patterns available on the Institute's website, but for the more adventurous crafter, "vintage" patterns are becoming widely available.

The V&A 1940s Patterns to Knit site features garments for the armed forces--male and female. The Red Cross Museum has also posted WW2-era patterns for sailors, soldiers, and refugees. Many Red Cross patterns are also available on a volunteer-driven site, The Antique Pattern Library. (Choose the "Catalog" link.) This site is treasure-trove of not only antique patterns, most far older than the 1940s, but their editions often outshine the editions available at other sites.

Take Maud Churchill Nicoll's Knitting and sewing : how to make seventy useful articles for men in the Army and the Navy. This book is available in multiple formats at the Internet Archive and only in Adobe Acrobat .pdf at the Antique Pattern Library.

If you look at p. 23, the image is captioned, "Illustrated wools, actual size and color." The professionally produced e-edition is in black and white. The volunteer produced e-edition is in color. What does it matter? Granted, colors do not reproduce exactly on all computer screens, but color information is often sorely lacking when it comes to the history of sailors' clothing. Texts tell us it was all navy blue and/or olive drab. This page has several different shades of olive, khaki, and ivory--I find that very interesting. Also, take a look at p. 21; which edition presents a higher quality image? Not the professionally produced one.

So pick up some knitting needles or a crochet hook! If not for yourself, how about for a sailor, or even for your local living history program?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Position: Collections Cataloger

Mystic Seaport Museum, the Museum of America and the Sea, seeks a Collections Cataloger. Responsible for registration, cataloging and processing Museum's important collection of manuscripts and ships' plans, the Collections Cataloger will also participate in cataloging photographs, art and object and oversee related cataloging/processing staff in cooperation with Collection managers and the Cataloging/Registration Team. Requirements include MLS degree (or equivalent), ability to lead and thrive in a team setting, knowledge of standard Museum practices and Library/Museum Metadata standards/practices including MARC, Dublin Core, and comfortable with computer software and applications (e.g., Voyager, Microsoft Access).

This is a full-time, 35/hr week position.

For information or an application visit our website or call Human Resources 860.572.5346. Mystic Seaport Museum is an AA/EOE employer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nets of Silver and Gold

I discovered a beautiful online edition of one of my favorite poems, about small fishermen who sail midnight skies after sparkling herring-fish, now known as Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Originally published under the title, "Dutch Lullaby," it appears in the 1889 edition of A Little Book of Western Verse by Eugene Field, which is available in a text-only edition at Project Gutenberg.

A very sentimental poem, its popularity seems to have declined since the 1970s when many recordings of it were released and Shel Silverstein wrote "Ickle me, Pickle me, Tickle me too." However it remains dear to me, especially at night, when venturing into the realm of dreams can seem as uncertain as sailing unknown seas.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ghosts of Pigeon Point

Unless you subscribe to the Half Moon Bay Review, you may have missed the articles Book rises from wrecks and Ghosts of Pigeon Point's past still haunt the living about Jo Ann Semones' new book, Shipwrecks, Scalawags and Scavengers: The Storied Waters Of Pigeon Point from Glencannon Press. Just released in mid-November, it has yet to make it into a lot of library collections, and if you're waiting for Santa to bring you a copy, you can still learn a lot about Pigeon Point in the meantime.

Start with Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park's website, and consider visiting. Although the lighthouse suffered damage in 2002 that forced its closure to the public, the grounds are still open with regular tours, and the lighthouse keeper's residence is restored and operated as a hostel. January through April is the annual migration of the gray whale, 100 yards north of the Point are tidepools, and nearby are ancient redwoods, the Pescadero Marsh, and the Año Nuevo State Reserve where enormous elephant seals breed.

For armchair travel, start with the official park brochure, which contains a lot of historical information such as the source of the name, "In June 1853 the Boston based Carrier Pigeon, on her maiden voyage, was torn apart by a fog-blanketed rock off Whale Point. Thereafter, it was called Pigeon Point," as well as natural history. Your local library may already have an older book, The history of Pigeon Point Lighthouse by Frank Perry. Also, Daily Alta newspaper articles from 1853 about the wreck of the Carrier Pigeon have been posted at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary's Shipwreck Database.

Why are we continually drawn to these ghosts--to the stories of these people and vessels? Consider when the last vessel was wrecked at Pigeon Point: last week.

Image from the U.S. Coast Guard's California Light Stations website.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Lovely as hope

"And o’er them the lighthouse looked lovely as hope,—
That star of life’s tremulous ocean."
--Paul Moon James

Tomorrow it will be December. Here it's cold. (OK, we think it's cold--it's a "San Francisco" kind of know, when we Bay Area folks are wearing wool and thick gloves, but the tourists from places who have "real" winters are in shorts!) It's a time when we're hoping for rain--for storms that will soak and drench our parched hills--for weather made for lighthouses.

Does the weather also whisper "lighthouses" in your ear? The National Park Service's Maritime Heritage Program has posted a Lighthouse Reading List. There's history, guidebooks, east coast & west coast. It is very U.S.-centric, but does have a citation to the Gulf of Mexico (which is a frequently overlooked U.S. coast.)

Want to get more technical? Texts relating to history, preservation, and conservation are also available on the Maritime Heritage site's Lighthouse Heritage section.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Position: Manuscripts Cataloging Associate

Mystic Seaport Museum Inc. is looking for a Manuscripts Cataloging Associate. This is an entry-level, two year, grant funded position for 35 hours/week.

The Manuscripts Cataloging Associate will be part of the Collections Cataloging Team and have the day-to-day responsibility for arranging the items in the Manuscript Collection as well as the production of the descriptive registers and records. He or she will also inventory gifts to the Collection and assist in their registration.

Qualifications include Current knowledge of applicable Library Metadata formats and schema, especially MARC and EAD, either through enrollment in MLS program or 2 years equivalent experience, as well as knowledge of applicable Library and Museum metadata standards and practices related to metadata creation and authority control, including AACR2 (RDA), DACS, TEI and LCSH.

An Application can be downloaded from the Human Resources Department
Questions about the position should be directed to:

Kelly S. Drake
Associate Director of Collections Access
Manuscripts, Ships Plans and Archives Librarian
Collections and Research Department

Mystic Seaport
The Museum of America and the Sea
75 Greenmanville Ave PO Box 6000
Mystic, Connecticut 06355

(860) 572-0711 x5065

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CFP: 2008 NASOH-CAMM Conference

“Defining the Maritime Edge: The History and Archaeology of Inland Environments, Coastal Encounters and Blue Water Connections,” the 27th Annual Conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) co-sponsored by the Council of American Maritime Museums, will be hosted by the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida, May 7-11, 2008. The Conference Program Committee invites proposals for papers and sessions exploring all aspects of history and archaeology related to saltwater or navigable freshwater environments. Suggested areas of research include, but are not restricted to, archeology and anthropology, arts and sciences, history, or museum exhibitions. Proposals that identify the unique characteristics and influence of coastal and inland waters and explore their interfaces with the larger Continental or Oceanic Worlds are especially encouraged.

The Program Committee welcomes the submission of individual papers and full sessions, preferring panels with three papers and a chair. Proposals should include a brief abstract for each paper or a one-page abstract for panels and brief C.V.s for each participant, including chairs. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to submit proposals for presentations. Accommodations for PowerPoint presentations will be provided; however, any other requirements, including audio-visual equipment, special outlets, or accommodations for disabilities should be included in the proposal. Scholars interested in chairing sessions are welcome to send a brief C.V. to the Program Committee Co-chairs.

Please note that all participants must register for the conference. Specific questions may be directed to Program Committee Co-Chair, Bill Thiesen at The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2008.

Call for Papers

Position: Boatswain's Mate USS Constellation Museum

The USS Constellation Museum, located in Baltimore, Maryland, is pleased to offer, to qualified candidates, the opportunity to apply for a position on the Ship's Crew with a rating of Boatswain's Mate. An intermediate position of seniority within Constellation's Ship's Crew, the Boatswain's Mate reports directly to the Museum Interpretation Coordinator and works with other crew members and the general public who visit the USS Constellation Museum. Being an effective co-worker, possessing a positive work ethic, and employing superior communication skills are traits essential for this position.
A Boatswain's mate assists with and supervises the completion of daily clean-up and preventive maintenance in the museum and on board the ship; assisting with and supervises special events, day programs, and overnight activities; learns and provides public presentations, tours, day programs, and overnight activities. A Boatswain's mate works closely with Ship's Crew members to develop their ability to learn and deliver presentations and to become more effective museum employees. A Boatswain's mate maintains and, while on duty, wears a Civil War era naval enlisted uniform.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have graduated from an accredited high school or received a GED equivalent, have completed at least one full year of college, and be available up to 40 hours per week.
Job Description: The USS Constellation Museum is the steward of USS Constellation, the only surviving Civil War era naval vessel and the last sailing warship built by the United States Navy. (abridged).
The Boatswain's Mate position is a challenging position and an intermediate-level position in the museum's interpretive staff, Ship's Crew. Duties include, but are not limited to, providing frequent public presentations in a variety of programs aboard ship about subjects associated with USS Constellation and her century of service; representing the Museum, both on board and off-site as a docent and spokesperson for museum interpretive and education programs; and as directed, overseeing certain aspects relative to Ship's Crew, including its conduct, performance, appearance, and welfare during normal hours of operation, special and catered events. Among these oversights are ensuring high standards of staff conduct and proficiency, complying with and occasionally writing the daily plans, and cleaning and securing the ship and museum building. Overall, premiums are placed on the Boatswain's Mate's verbal and written communication skills, leadership ability, cooperative spirit, and can-do attitude.
Direct responsibilities include, but may not be limited to:
· Carrying out all Museum policies and the directives of the Director of Museum Interpretation and Education, the Interpretation Coordinator, the Education Coordinator, and the crew supervisors
· Learning and providing presentations and tours associated with interpretive, education, and overnight programs
· Learning and implementing the Museum programs by developing a thorough knowledge of USS Constellation and associated information to include:
~ Developing and maintaining a working familiarization of related nautical and naval historical subjects
~ Mastering all presentations and tours
~ Maintaining and wearing while on duty a Civil War era sailor's uniform
~ Answering visitor questions and the questions of junior interpretive staff
· Assisting with and sometimes supervising the opening and closing routines and catered and special event crews
Coordinated Responsibilities include, but may not be limited to:
· Working with the Director of Special Events before, during, and after catered and special events to ensure that the needs of the client and museum are met
· Working with and sometimes supervising staff and programs in both the interpretive and education departments
· Working with and supervising Crew Members who work with the Ship's Manager as directed
· Working with the Education Coordinator in preparing for, conducting, and post-event activities relative to shipboard day programs, off-site programs, and overnight programs
General Responsibilities include, but may not be limited to:
Practicing safe and efficient work habits realizing that you are a role model for ship's staff, apprentices, interns, volunteers, and the visiting public
Being an effective leader who promotes and reflects a positive work ethic and good morale among ship's staff, apprentices, interns, and volunteers
Being an effective spokesperson for the USS Constellation Museum, the National Historic Seaport of Baltimore, and the Living classrooms Foundation
Such other duties as assigned by the Director of Museum Interpretation and Education or the Interpretation Coordinator
Salary: $10 an hour with 10% raise after 6 months
Benefits: Worker's Compensation
Full medical after six months
Please send resume and cover letter to:
Director of Museum Interpretation and Education
The USS Constellation Museum
Pier 1, 301 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3134
Alternately, you may e-mail your information to: and put Boatswain's Mate Search in the subject line. Complete job description and salary/benefit information available upon request. The USS Constellation Museum is an equal opportunity employer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good News For Independence Seaport

The AP wire is carrying a story on their recent acquisition of a cheval-de-frise, an iron-tipped log once embedded in the Delaware River, to gore the hulls of British warships menacing Philadelphia in the mid-1770s.

New Fellowship to be Established

According to Boston Business Journal, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., announced Monday it has received a $100,000 gift, which will establish the "The Frances E. Malamy Research Fellowship of the Peabody Essex Museum's Phillips Library" -- supporting independent scholarly research using the library's archives and manuscript collection.

More information on PEM fellowships is available at:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

From span to the South Seas

I have to confess I love dictionaries, and look forward to receiving my Oxford English Dictionary's word of the day. When the word "span" showed up with the earliest quotation from Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine, I wondered if I could find an online edition--not only did I find William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine, but the address in my browser caught my eye: "" "Southseas?"

The South Seas : Voyaging and Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Pacific (1760-1800) site is fantastic. From the The National Library of Australia and The Australian National University Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, this is only the first phase, yet it's breadth of resources is staggering:

  • Voyaging Accounts
  • Voyaging Maps
  • South Seas Companion
  • Cultural Atlas
  • Indigenous Histories
  • European Reactions
  • Reference Works
  • Research

It's under "Reference Works" that you'll find Falconer. Think you know what 'span' means? Check out how language changes--and doesn't change--over time. And there's a wealth of fun words (like snotter) and beautiful words like sweeper of the sky.

But the generosity of the NLA doesn't end there--they have also posted the plates from the copy of Falconer belonging to the carpenter on H.M.S. Discovery.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Floggings Will Continue Until Moral Improves

There is no word more inherently maritime than Flogging. Just that word alone immediately brings to mind the image of a grand sailing vessel far out at sea with a sailor stripped to the waist and tied to the mast. Yes, its not PC. But honestly, there is a human fascination with this unique form of discipline. There is a story that I almost always tell to visiting groups that is met with great interest by both fifth graders and elderhostelers alike. When I first started working in the Manuscript Collection at Mystic Seaport (after arranging the Seawanhaka Yacht Club papers), one of my jobs was to read, index and catalog the logbooks. The first log was that of the Vesper, a whaler sailing from New London to the Pacific. For a few months of the entries recorded little more that lat, long, wind direction, sails set, sails lowered, etc. And then there was a flogging. I ran breathlessly around the Library telling everyone and anyone who would listen that here recorded in this weathered, very real volume was a real flogging. I was rather incredulous when they did not seem to share my enthusiasm, and soon returned to reading. In addition to two more floggings, an abduction of native women, a mutiny, and a knifing, there were lots of other interesting things that happened on the Vesper, and I came to understand why my colleagues were not so impressed with the flogging. "Oh yeah, another flogging. You're at sea, floggings happen." And while we have become immune, they still continue to fascinate the neophyte.

Which brings me to this photo which I took last month in Colorado. Hey, if they can do daily hangings, why can't maritime museums have a scheduled daily flogging. Aside from the serious issue that this activity would exclude the women interpreters/actors, there really shouldn't be any other obstacles. Its not like we would have to spend any addition funds building a gallows with a fake trap door mechanism. We already have a whale ship with masts. We don't even have to invent the episodes. There are plenty of recorded instances museum staff would merely have to reconstruct. And think of the publicity it would generate, as well as the gate numbers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holding History in Your Hand

I pulled the following off H-Maritime. It looks like a really interesting 'kit'.
One of those ones you wish they had when you were in school.

The Museum of Underwater Archaeology  (MUA) is pleased to announce that
"Holding History in Your Hand" classroom learning kits are now ready for
shipping world wide. Due to the generous contributions of materials we
can now offer these kits to classrooms to keep for future use free of
charge. We do require nominal shipping costs.* The kits include modern
artifacts similar to those found on many historic shipwreck sites and
supporting documents such as a lesson plan and artifact analysis guides,
videos to supplement class discussion, book marks, word searches and
more. Instructions for adapting the kit to various age groups from 10
to 18 years are included. For further information please see our
updated brochure at:

The MUA staff has conducted the "Holding History in Your Hand" exercise
for hundreds of school children with great success. We look forward to
sharing this activity which teaches students how underwater
archaeologists learn about our past through material culture.

Best regards,

T Kurt Knoerl
The Museum of Underwater Archaeology

MUA kits designed for 35 students can be shipped inside the United
States for $5.00. International shipments cost $10. Payment can be
made by Paypal email invoice, check, or money order. Please contact us
by email for shipping costs for groups larger than 35 students at

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Offer Via Mariners's Museum

The Mariners’ Museum has been offered a few large runs of some popular, older maritime journals. As we already own copies, I have received permission from the potential donor to offer them to other maritime institutions. The only stipulations are that he does not want to break the collection up too much and the receiving institution will need to pay the shipping costs to acquire the items. Below is a list of the journals available. Please contact me, Jennifer Anielski, if you are interested in acquiring any of these journals. I can be reached via e-mail at

The Rudder

Complete years: 1896, 1897, 1898, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939
1895 – Feb., Apr.-July, Sept.-Oct, Dec.
1907 – July, Oct., Dec.
1908 – Jan., Nov., Dec.
1909 – Feb.
1910 – Oct.
1911 – Sept.
1913 – Jan.
1915 – May
1916 – Apr., June-July, Oct., 20-Dec.
1921 – Jan., Feb. 23-Aug.
1924 – Mar., Nov.
1925 – Mar., fitting-out issue
1926 – 11 issues
1927 – 11 issues
1928 – 11 issues
1929 – 11 issues
1931 – Aug.
1932 – Aug., Sept.
1940 – All except Apr.
1941 – 11 issues
1942 – 11 issues
1943 – 11 issues
1944 – Jan.-July
1957 – Jan., show number
1969 – Apr.-Dec.
1970 – Jan.-May


Complete years: 1942, 1944-1946, 1956-1976
1915 – Apr., June 15-Oct.
1920 – Aug. (Resolute Keeps Cup)
1921 – Mar.
1922 – Mar.
1926 – July
1927 – Aug.
1929 – Jan., Feb. 30-Sept.
1931 – May
1932 – Mar.-May, Aug.
1937 – Apr., Sept., Nov-Dec. including America’s Cup issue
1943 – Mar.-Dec.
1947 – Jan.-July, Sept.-Dec.
1954 – Dec. only
1955 – Feb.-Apr., July-Dec.
1977 – Jan. Show Number only

Yachting Monthly

1928 – Apr.
1935 – Jan.-Feb., June
1936 – May, Aug.
1937 – July-Oct.

Oil spill resources

I've been off work for a few days. Back at work today, out of my window I see oil booms; on the bus I heard rumors. In my search for reliable information, I found some great articles out there on oil spills, and on the San Francisco Bay spill in general.

A good starting point is NOAA's Emergency Response Program Frequently Asked Questions about Oil and Chemical Spills. Parents and teachers, be sure to scroll to the bottom for science fair project ideas.

If you follow the link under "General questions," that will lead you to the excellent Incident News site which will lead to articles, reports and press releases, including those related to the M/V Cosco Busan incident.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Position: Director Baltimore Maritime Museum

The Living Classrooms Foundation is searching for a qualified individual to fill the position of Director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

The Baltimore Maritime Museum is the steward of USCG Cutter Taney, the USN Submarine Torsk, the Lightship Chesapeake, the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, all located on Piers 3 and 5 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and their related histories and artifacts. The Director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum reports to the Living Classroom’s Director of the National Historic Seaport of Baltimore and is responsible for fulfilling the goals and objectives of the Living Classrooms Foundation and the National Historic Seaport of Baltimore as they relate to the Museum, its programs and operations. The Baltimore Maritime Museum is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization under the group exemption of the Living Classrooms Foundation.

The Baltimore Maritime Museum serves over 100,000 visitors and school children each year through its general admission experience and specialized educational programming.

The Director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum must have excellent communications, organizational and management skills, a knowledge of fundraising, marketing and merchandising, knowledge of historic ships, their
care and maintenance, a keen attention to detail, human resources experience, and the ability to oversee all aspects of the Museum’s operation including budgeting and finance, program development, staffing and staff
supervision, cash handling, collections care and security. The Director of the Baltimore Museum is the public face for the Museum and the spokesperson at events, meetings, and all other areas of public outreach. The Director also
recruits for and manages the Museum’s community advisory board and its subcommittees.

Qualified applicants must have a four year college degree and at least 5 years of related experience in a management and /or supervisory position. Salary range will be between $50,000 and $65,000 annually with final determination based on qualifications and experience. Salary package provides a range of benefits including medical, dental and a 403B retirement plan.
To apply please e-mail a resume’ a cover letter, and a sample of your writing skills, with at least 3 professional references to the following address:
Please place the title BMM Director Search in the subject line. No Phone Calls Please. Alternately, you may send materials by regular mail to:
BMM Director Search / Human Resources
Living Classrooms Foundation
802 S. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
Application Deadline is 30 November 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

USS San Francisco

A nice article has just been published on the USS San Francisco in a publication that might slip under the radar of maritime historians, the Argonaut (from the SF Museum and Historical Society). Written by Timothy G. Lynch, H-Net editor and professor at Cal Maritime Academy, The U.S.S. San Francisco : tale of a ship and the men who sailed her is 27 pages long with many illustrations, maps, and bibliographical references.

An article on "one of the most storied vessels in American naval history" will be sure to spark curiosity--the vessel participated in engagements at Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal--but many pages are also devoted to the building, design, and daily life of the crew during war and peace, making this article intriguing to anyone with a devoted or budding interest in 20th century warships.

(Above image is no.80-G-40093, Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.)

Friday, November 02, 2007


Maritime Center/Nauticus, One Waterside Drive, Norfolk VA 23510. Work hours are 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday; may include holiday, weekend and evening hours. City of Norfolk employee.

Description This position is responsible for the general, day-to-day operation of the Education Department; supervision of its personnel (museum educators, presenters and docents) as well as contracted part-time staff; overall program direction; and management of all education activities (setting goals and objectives, curriculum-connections, special educational needs, and public programs) within identified time and budgetary parameters. A clear understanding of the desired “educational experience” as it relates to Nauticus’ mission is essential.

Essential Functions • Educational Program Management. • Coordinates the design, development and production of new education programs (both informal and classroom-based); • Stays current on new and emerging education models, state and national standards, trends, interpretive techniques and teaching/curriculum materials and makes recommendations and/or decisions appropriate to individual education programs. • Participates in the preparation of education-related grant proposals and related fund-raising campaigns. • Assigns section personnel to specific education responsibilities; reviews and coordinates all aspects of education planning, design and program development. • Coordinates educational events for teacher meetings, scout activities and special groups by communicating with school administrators to develop and present district-wide programs, and promoting activities to seek new audiences for Nauticus’ programs. • Prepares the section's annual budget and operating plan; regulates daily work schedules. Meets with senior staff and Nauticus administrators regarding the goals and objectives of the Education Programs Section. • Supervises personnel.

Full listing

What to read next?

I stumbled upon the UC Berkeley Summer Reading Lists, and they contain some real gems. Especially worth checking out is the 2005 list, "Great discoveries, voyages, and adventures, which contains novels and nonfiction, classics and contemporary books. The other lists are peppered with maritime books as well, and the short reviews are well written and engaging--perhaps because the writers are trying to interest you in reading the book more than in buying the book! These lists are sent to freshmen every summer, suggested & described by various people on campus, including faculty, librarians, and even students.

If you're looking for a smaller list, or more general books, don't miss H-Maritime's resources list, which consists of just five books, two of which are reference books. This site, though, will also point you to other resources, that will definitely lengthen your personal reading list--organizations, journals, programs--and some great online resources.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On Stranger Tides

Looking for yet more good Halloween reading? In the mood for the supernatural? Like pirates better than phantom ships? How about a book that has both: Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides.
It's one of my very favorite books.

Powers has a reputation for crafting engaging stories that are historically accurate while incorporating a twist, so out of curiosity I did a little searching: it's available in at least eight languages, and even Oxford University holds a copy. Even Yale holds a copy. Some very large maritime museum libraries around the world do not have a copy of this book. Maybe that's because it's too much fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Position: Assistant Professor, Naval/Military History - History

The U.S. Naval Academy invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor with a specialization in naval and/or military history. Geographical area and chronological focus are open, but the candidate will be expected to teach a core course on American naval history. The successful candidate will also be able to offer upper-level courses in her or his field of specialization. Ph.D. in history required, teaching experience and publications preferred. Send letter, vita, and three letters of recommendation by December 1, 2007 to Professor Maochum Yu, History Department, 107 Maryland Ave., U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD 21402-5044.

The Naval Academy is an AA/EEO employer and provides reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities.

If you have questions regarding a specific vacancy announcement, please contact the Job Information Center at (410) 293-3822.

Revision Date: October 26, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Position Announcement: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco, CA seeks has on opening for a Supervisory Collections Manager.

The position is responsible for managing the various diverse and complex programs involved in oversight of an extensive museum collection. This involves the day-to-day supervision of the historic documents, library, and collections staff and interaction with the preservation department staff, to ensure the care, preservation, and accountability of the park’s museum objects, comprising over 120,000 vessel and shipyard architectural drawings, 250,000 forms of photo images, 6 million business records and personal documents, and 34,000 maritime artifacts within the park, and to ensure the proper use and maintenance of museum equipment and supplies.

Qualification Requirements:

Museum Curator: Applicants must meet the following basic requirement in addition to the specialized experience requirement: (A) Bachelor’s Degree in museum work or (B) Combination of education and experience with courses in museum work equivalent to a degree plus appropriate experience or (C) four years of experience that provided knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of a degree in museum work.

A full description of the position

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Under the Black Flag

I just finished David Cordingly's Under the Black Flag : the Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates and it was fantastic.

I had always wondered why people were fascinated by pirates. What about these thieves, murderers, and torturers was appealing? Now I get it. I had been looking at them through historical narratives--Cordingly looks at novels, plays, and films in the context of the history, and shows how the view of the pirate as romantic figure of ultimate freedom developed. But he also gives us a history of piracy worldwide, and describes a most brutal occupation in an age of brutality with a dispassion that led me, the most squeamish of readers, to read on and on and on. And it's the worldwide coverage that I appreciate the most; if you think the area with the most pirate activity was the Caribbean, then you need to read this book.

And if you want to keep reading, check out this month's National Geographic magazine's article, Dark Passage about contemporary piracy in the Strait of Malacca.

(I have to thank the kind members of the Tim Powers Yahoo Group for their reading recommendations--even when it comes to piracy, they've never led me astray!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Visit to the Eastern Shore

With the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as a backdrop President Bush announced new initiatives that he said would protect migrating birds and two fish species, red drum and striped bass, prized by anglers. The order under discussion has some interesting ramifications for commercial fisherman too. Full Story

Stuart Parnes, President of the Museum, is pictured here walking with the Bush, and also performed the introductions.

Open Content Alliance

"There are two opposed pathways being mapped out...One is shaped by commercial concerns, the other by a commitment to openness, and which one will win is not clear." --Paul Duguid, UC Berkeley, quoted in the The NY Times.

Where is the Smithsonian Institution placing its digital books? After the Library of Congress' pilot program with Google, where will they place 136,000 digitized books? Not with Google, but with the Open Content Alliance. The full story makes some interesting reading--you'll learn what books you're not finding.

John S. Carter Story Continues...

Peter Mello at Sea Fever has an excellent post on the unfolding story..."My Fair Share"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The lighter side of phantom ships

Would you rather pick up Jokeby than Rokeby? How many of us first discovered legends of phantom ships through watching Pirates of the Caribbean? Or Popeye? I'll 'fess up: my love of the sea was kindled by Popeye cartoons (the black & white ones were my favorite) as much as by growing up in sight of salt water, and I became aware of the legend of the Flying Dutchman by reading Tom Holt's Flying Dutch. This book is a real hoot--it made me laugh out loud on pre-dawn bus rides to work (not an easy task!).

How many people discover maritime culture through these forms of popular culture? And how much of it is in our maritime library collections? My library doesn't have Flying Dutch--neither does Mariners, Mystic, or the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. UC Riverside's Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror does, however.

When it comes to future researchers of our maritime culture, will they find what they need in collections that ignore popular novels, films, and even (gasp!) comic books? Sailors today still encounter phantom ships and it's not difficult to discover accounts of contemporary ship hauntings. Are our libraries and museums preserving these legends and stories? Where will the maritime culture of the 20th century be found?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bush plans trip to Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

From the Baltimore Sun

President Bush's weekend excursions in Maryland are typically limited to bicycle rides in Beltsville or an overnight stay at Camp David.

But on Saturday, the president will explore the charms of the Eastern Shore with a scheduled visit to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, followed by lunch at the nearby vacation home of Vice President Dick Cheney.....

I'll keep on eye on this one and see how the Museum makes out.

Position: Supervisor of Dramatic Productions

This Full-Time position will produce quality dramatic productions and develop new programs based upon maritime topics. In addition, it provides support for interpreters, music and role-playing programs. Proven directing ability, highly developed interpersonal skills as well as ability to work in collaborative environment are essential. Position closes November 18, 2007. For information or an application visit our website or call Human Resources 860-572-5346. Mystic Seaport is an AA/EOE employer.

Position: Part-Time Associate Curator of Maritime Collections

Part-Time Associate Curator of Maritime Collections Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Historical Society
Applications Contact person: Human Resources
Application due date: 11/01/2007
Salary range: Market Rate
Web Address:

The Maryland Historical Society seeks a part-time Associate Curator of Maritime Collections to be responsible for the maritme-related collections of the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS). This position also supports related exhibit work, educational programs, research and care of the MdHS maritime collections. Required skills: Specific knowledge of maritime history and artifacts, the ability to interpret the maritime collections and to communicate that knowledge in a variety of written and oral formats, knowledge of Maryland history, successful track record of exhibition development and demonstrated understanding the importance of objects in a museum setting, ability to carry out historical research and communicate this research through excellent writing and public speaking skills, knowledge of preservation and conservation practices, applied working knowledge of varied computer software packages including the Microsoft Office suite of applications, demonstrated ability to!
ability to supervise interns and volunteers, multi-task, be organized and flexible, meet deadlines and prioritize job responsibilities.
Successful candidate must have a MA, History, Maritime History, American Studies or related field and a minimum of three years museum experience.
Please send cover letter, resume and three references by November 1, 2007 to: Human Resources, Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201. EOE. No phone calls.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The Oxford Compantion to Ships and the Sea mentions that the theme of the Flying Dutchman has been used in various literary forms, the best known being Marryat's book The Phantom Ship, Scott in his poem Rokeby, and Wagner's opera Der fliegende Holländer.

Rokeby? I'd never heard of it!

Luckily the Edinburgh University Library has a fantastic site on Rokeby as part of its Walter Scott Digital Archive with links to electronic texts. For Rokeby, we're sent to The Making of America digital text archive, which offers text navigation that should, in my opinion, set the standard for how electronic text navigation should work. Like Project Gutenberg, you can browse as well as search, but with MOA, when you locate a text, there's a bar along the top where you can easily change the format of the viewed page (image, pdf, or text--which allows easy copying & pasting), select different pages, or search within the text. When I searched within Rokeby, I came across:

Then,'mid the war of sea and sky,
Top and top-gallant hoisted high,
Full spread and crowded every sail,
The Demon Frigate braves the gale;
And well the doom'd spectators know
The harbinger of wreck and woe.

I liked this so much I went on to read the opening of the poem:

The Moon is in her summer glow,
But hoarse and high the breezes blow,
And, racking o'er her face, the cloud
Varies the tincture of her shroud;

Wow. A shroud-clad, a dead, moon, with the cloud flying before her on a high wind. I'm hooked. I'll be reading more.

Lastly, don't miss the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection--it led me to Jokeby, a Burlesque on Rokeby (which is available in Google Books supposedly in its entirety--unfortunately, not all the pages were scanned completely and some text is missing.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Call for Papers for The Journal of the North Atlantic

The Journal of the North Atlantic (JONA) is a new multi-disciplinary,
peer-reviewed and edited archaeology and environmental history journal
focusing on the peoples of the North Atlantic, their expansion into the
region over time, and their interactions with their changing environment.
<> .

Since it will be a full-featured online-only journal, articles can be
quickly published and made available to researchers worldwide. The journal
has no publication fees, even for Special Issues and large Monographs. The
first issue is expected to be available in the spring of 2008. The journal
will be indexed in a full range of journal content databases. Journal
content can be conveniently accessed both by subscription and on a single
article basis.

The Journal of the North Atlantic will publish a wide diversity of
research papers, as well as research summaries and general interest articles
in closely related disciplines, which, when considered together, will help
contribute to a comprehensive multi-disciplinary understanding of the
historical interplay between cultural and environmental changes in the North
Atlantic world.

Specifically, the journal's focus will include paleo-environmental
reconstruction and modelling, historical ecology, archaeology, ecology of
organisms important to humans, anthropology, human/environment/climate
interactions, climate history, ethnography, ethnohistory, historical
analyses, discussions of cultural heritage, and place-name studies.

The journal will also publish field observations, notes, and
archaeological site reports, as well as book reviews, summaries of important
news stories, opinion papers, and free brief announcements of meetings,
symposia, conferences, and grant opportunities.

The journal is part of the database. This database allows
authors to include supporting files such as video, database, and audio
files, and to freely include color photographs and figures with articles.

We welcome your interest and questions! Joerg-Henner Lotze, Publisher

Board of Editors - Affiliations are listed on the website.

Journal of the North Atlantic
Eagle Hill Foundation
PO Box 9, 59 Eagle Hill Road, Steuben, ME 04680-0009 United States
Phone: 207-546-2821, FAX: 207-546-3042,

Best regards,

Morten Karnøe Søndergaard
Editor, Global Fisheries History Network
Centre for Maritime and Regional Studies <>
Fisheries and Maritime Museum/University of Southern Denmark
Tarphagevej 2
Esbjerg V. 6710 DK
Phone: +4576122022

Friday, October 12, 2007

Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman by Albert Pinkham Ryder.
It's that time of year when a young-at-heart librarian's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of phantom ships! I love this time of year--here we are planning costumes (which we get to wear at work) and on Halloween our neighbors will all be out either trick-or-treating or handing out treats.

So I decided to learn more about that famous phantom, the Flying Dutchman. I looked him up in printed resources I had handy--in the Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, in The Reader's Encyclopedia by William Rose Benet, and in The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Although the entry in the Oxford Companion wasn't the longest, I found I liked it the best. It included an example of the legend, was written engagingly, gave references to literary & musical versions, and was the only one that mentioned the Viking Stöte.

I also checked various online sources, and the best really was Wikipedia's entry, although I was disappointed in Wikipedia's links. The Wikipedia article, itself, is nicely cited and the assertions substantiated, but the external links make vast claims as to sources of the legends mostly without any support whatsoever.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

H-Net's book reviews

Maritime studies: humanities? Social science? Economics? All those and more. And luckily, a part of H-Net, as "H-Maritime." H-Maritime is a low volume, high quality list on H-Net--and you don't have to join it to read it. The messages are freely available (under "Discussion logs"), and if you head right over there, you'll see Sharla Fett's review of Stephanie E. Smallwood's Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora linked under the recent messages right on the home page.

This review is a prime example of why I like H-Maritime: it was originally posted to H-Atlantic, but copied over to H-Maritime. As components of the vast H-Net, the smaller lists stay on topic, but gain from the strength of being interdisciplinary components of the whole.

And this review is also typical by being a teaching tool in itself as well as a pleasure to read--just by reading the review, I learned more about the historiography of slavery than I ever knew before. And phrases like "the Atlantic World was not a coherent geographic entity, but a space of saltwater terror" are haunting.

I usually see the saltwater out my window as one end of a vast watery road connecting all the lands of the world--but I'm looking at it differently today.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads

Today the federal holiday is Columbus Day, and my city's holiday is Indigenous Peoples Day--two very different responses to the historical fact of Columbus' landing.

Kelly's reflections on museums and libraries have inspired my thinking about the interpretation of historical facts--of the interpretation of facts in general--and reminded me of one of my favorite books on museology, Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture of Natural History Museums by Stephen T. Asma. (The maritime connection is there--really! Many of these collections were built through the voyages undertaken during the 'great age of exploration.' And, well, Darwin! We can't forget Darwin! See? Maritime connection.)

Why I mention this book is that it helped me to interpret the messages inherent in the exhibits--how the presentation of scientific fact is never neutral. It's the same with history, especially maritime history. Our maritime culture is as present in Columbus Day/Indigenous People's Day as in the coffee or tea we drank this morning, yet many of us only "consume" maritime history through museums--or text--with as little thought about them as we give to our morning coffee. They are simply there. When the museum presents the objects, or the book presents the facts, what message is being conveyed by their juxtaposition? By the words surrounding their presentation? By the illustrations? The lighting? Check out this book, and you'll begin to see the messages around the exhibits--the opinions surrounding the facts.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Museums will be….

In the keynote session today David Lee King referred to an exercise done in New Zealand where librarians were asked to finish the sentence – “In 2017, Libraries will be….”

His, and my favorite two responses were: “anywhere, anytime, anyhow”, and “about communities.”

Substituting “museums” for “libraries” I like those two responses even more. Museums are organized around themes or interests. Communities, especially online communities are also organized around themes and interest. So viola! If you have surfed the web on maritime subjects for only a few minutes you know there are maritime communities out there. Lots of them! And lots of really serious, intently involved, long sustaining communities. Why should not we, as the Libraries and Museums that hold this information and also create space and have ‘weight’ become the focus, the home, the anywhere, anytime, anyhow community.

See what photos the maritime museum community is posting at flickr now:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Voyage of the Pandora

Engraving of George Hamilton from the frontispiece of his published narrative (Voyage round the world in HMS Pandora, Berwick, 1793).
This week Project Gutenberg released the Voyage of H.M.S. Pandora despatched to arrest the mutineers of the Bounty in the South Seas, 1790-1791 by Edward Edwards, commander, and George Hamilton, surgeon. Originally published in 1915 from a manuscript in the Record Office, these are the narratives of two of the people who were first sent out after the Bounty mutineers.

The story of the Pandora is more than just a chapter in the saga of the Bounty--the Pandora is one of the most significant shipwrecks in the southern hemisphere, and the Queensland Museum's HMS Pandora site is a great place to start reading about the Pandora, and to gain a context for Edwards' and Hamilton's narratives.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

San Diego Maritime Museum to Build San Salvador

SAN DIEGO - In 1542, the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay aboard the square-rigged sailing galleon San Salvador. Now, more than 450 years later, plans are under way to build a 100-foot replica of the ship that enabled Cabrillo to become the first European to sail along the West Coast and to set foot on the land that eventually became San Diego.

"She's long been an iconic symbol of our city," said Ray Ashley, executive director of the San Diego Maritime Museum. "She embodies the act of discovery; the process of exploration. That's why she continues to be such a powerful image."

The museum's effort to build San Salvador recently got a sizable boost with a $2 million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, which approved the museum's grant-and-loan request. The total project is expected to cost $5 million, to be raised through additional grants, major donors and fundraising campaigns.

Full story


Today I flew to Denver to attend the annual LITA (Library and Information Technology Association) Conference. Appropriately but not intentionally I choose "The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman as my in-flight reading material. "Flat" is in its 3.0 release and it was funny how much I read that at the time he wrote it felt would be shocking, but has already become relatively common knowledge, but certainly not common practice, especially in the museum world. While most of the major corporations and economies are global, pulling and distributing information and products about the globe using world-wide economic and networks of efficiencies, museums and libraries remain geographically fixed, even frozen. For public and Academic Libraries this is almost understandable as their support structure and user base is geographically local, but for special, theme-based museums and libraries whose support structure is not so restricted and whose user base pulls from around the world, its downright backwards, or backwater (to bring in the maritime aspects). Why are we (meaning maritime museums and libraries) not serving our information and resources to the internet when anyone with a laptop can be posting their thoughts? Why are our websites static visitor brochures when anyone can be a wikipedia editor (not to mention, why does wikipedia often have better information on our museums, and vessels then the previously mentioned brochures- check that out). When you’re done with that go to or and search on your favorite maritime museum, chances are you'll find some amazing photos and videos - why aren't the museums posting, or leveraging those. (Forget about the idea that we might want to consider accessioning them). Why are we so far outside this raging flood of information providing and gathering when really, they've got so much to offer?
And we have so much that would pull our special brand of enthusiast in?

Well, that is one of the reason's I'm here at LITA in Denver. I want to connect with the people who are working toward answering how we can do that. For the next few days I'll be blogging on my LITA sessions for LITA. Their blog is at:

I'll also post links here to my own posts here.

(I'm also going to REI and Confluence Park and Oktoberfest and later, Moab- but details on that are posted at

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Book: Chinese Junks on the Pacific

Hans Konrad Van Tilburg's new book, Chinese Junks on the Pacific: Views from a Different Deck from the University Press of Florida received a very favorable review in the new issue of Sea History (no. 120, autumn 2007, p.53-54, available from the National Maritime Historical Society). In his review, Timothy J. Runyan emphasizes "the rather unlikely selection of twentieth-century representatives," which is what I find intriguing about this book--unlike many other books about junks, Van Tilburg details voyages between 1906 and 1989, using their examples to explore not only the vessels but also the sociological issues of Western perceptions--and mis-perceptions. These explorations make this book noteworthy to those interested in aspects of maritime culture beyond the material culture--to those interested not only in the architecture and shipbuilding of the vessels, but how the vessels were sailed, to where they were sailed, and what reception they found when they arrived.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Soft Spot

I've always been drawn to the sturdy pilot cutter and was happy today to read that Swansea Museum has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The £50,000 cash will go to the fund for the continued support of Olga, Swansea Museum's Bristol Channel pilot cutter.

While trying to discover more about Olga I learned that I am not alone in my admiration for Pilot Cutters. Several yards in the UK are still producing and maintaining these fine work boat.

Working sail is one such yard. They also have a great website with a great video.

RB Boatbuilding Ltd's site has some good photos too, and an interesting history of various pilot cutters.

The video here is of West Wind, a Colin Archer designed Pilot Schooner:

Monday, October 01, 2007

American Archives Month

Great history books often begin with someone crying out, "Eureka!" at a table covered with boxes and folders--with a researcher whose mind is now tying together the strands of the story that they discovered in documents in archival collections. (OK, not everyone cries out--some just get this twinkle in their eye or betray a quiet excitement!) To celebrate this, the Society of American Archivists has declared October 2007 American Archives Month.

Finding one's way through the vast collections can be daunting--luckily, there's a great place to start: Historical Documents Online: Search Hints for Selected Topics: Marine/Navigation. If you haven't checked this out, take a look--even if you don't think you're interested, it's a great place to begin learning just what sorts of information shows up at the National Archives ("NARA"), and just what sort of documents, images, and cartographic resources appear there.

And take a moment this month to celebrate! Does your local library or historical society have primary resources? Documents? Local history collections? What about you and your family--thought about caring for your own photographs, scrapbooks, and books? Celebrate Archives Month by checking out Conservation Online's Conservation/Preservation Information for the General Public, a fantastic list of resources from reputable organizations.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Position: Assistant Archivist

The Nimitz Library, United States Naval Academy, is seeking an individual with energy, experience, initiative, flexibility, enthusiasm, good judgment, strong service orientation, and knowledge of history to appraise, arrange, and describe archival records and manuscript collections and to otherwise facilitate and enhance access to the official records and other holdings within Special Collections & Archives.


1. Engages in records appraisal and implements retention schedule for the Archives to ensure that all non-current permanently valuable Academy records are turned over to Special Collections & Archives.

2. Processes archival records and creates print and on-line descriptive aids for them.

3. Processes manuscript collections, creates print and on-line descriptive aids for them, and provides bibliographic access as needed.

4. Provides general and specialized reference service, instruction, and orientation as needed for all materials in Special Collections & Archives, including rare books, photographs, manuscripts, and archives, to midshipmen, faculty, staff, and other researchers to enable them to effectively use Special Collections & Archives materials.

5. Maintains contacts with the National Archives and Records Administration and keeps the Head of SC&A/Archivist informed of all pertinent matters relating to the USNA Archives' status as an affiliated archive.

6. Assists in the preparation of the annual Command History of the Naval Academy by collecting and organizing information for inclusion, and final assemblage to provide the Director of Naval History with a record of the Academy's yearly activities.

Full Time

Salary is $46,041 (first step of GS-1420-09 pay grade) or higher, depending upon experience and other qualifications.


To apply go to

Applications must be submitted online via this site.

Deadline for submission of applications is expected to be October 2, 2007

Questions about the position, about Nimitz Library, or about navigating the application process should be addressed to:

Jennifer A. Bryan, Ph.D.
Head of Special Collections & Archives/Archivist
Nimitz Library
U.S. Naval Academy
Phone: (410) 293-6904

Position: Museum Education/Grants Coordinator

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum has an immediate opening for a Museum Education/Grants Coordinator. This is a nine month grant-funded position with the possibility of extension.

The Museum Education/Grants Coordinator will design, find funding for, and implement educational programs. Resources include a five year old museum, 1880s light keepers cottage, 1837 lighthouse under restoration, partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University, and potential for unique hands on programs. Supervision of staff and volunteers is required, as is some work on evenings, nights, and weekends.

Complete listing

Cruel Seas

Dan Krummes' Cruel Seas: Merchant Shipping-Focused World War 2 Nautical Fiction, 1939 to 2004 was published in
in 2004, but the companion website, Cruel Seas : World War 2 Merchant Marine-Related Nautical Fiction from the 1930s to Present keeps on growing. With the latest update, the web version contains 402 entries (compared with the 250 entries in the printed edition). Covered are short stories, novellas, and novels in English, published in the U.S., Canada, or Great Britain, that appeared in the popular press, from tony publications to pulp magazines.

Why go to the trouble to hunt down these stories to read when books about the WW2 Navy are so prevalent? From Dan's introduction:

It was little known at the time and barely-remembered today that American, Canadian and British merchant mariners suffered the highest casualty rates of any Allied forces, higher than soldiers, sailors or marines.

The stakes couldn't have been higher--the risk greater--to those who were the transportation backbone of the era. And remember--the library with which you're affiliated, be it local public library or massive academic library, probably has an interlibrary loan service to help you get copies of these stirring narratives!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

San Francisco Symposium

If you're on the West Coast on October 20th you might want to consider stopping by the San Francisco Maritime Museum. In celebration of 25 years of Library support, the Friends of the Museum Library will host a day-long symposium, tours, talks, exhibitions, booksignings and book sales.

The The tentative schedule is as follows:
8:30 a.m.: Collectors' Corner, a preliminary breakout for collectors to buy, sell, trade or barter items from their collections. (Collectors' Corner will be located in the Partners' Room on the 2nd Floor)
10:00 a.m.: Authors Steve Potash and Bob Chandler on Gold, Silk, Pioneers and Mail: The Story of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, the Friends' latest publication.
10:30 a.m.: Dale Vinnedge and Andrew Skinner on west Coast whaling and the Library's Barbara Johnson Whaling Collection.
11:00-11:30 a.m.: toure of the Library and its various collections, including whaling, naval architecture, fine arts, and World War II.
11:30 a.m.: Kortum Award winner Robert Barde on "The Life and Death of the China Mail."
12:00 noon: Author Olaf Envig on Iron in Shipbuilding.
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Lunch and booksignings--Books will be available for sale and author signing, including Gold, Silk, Pioneers and Mail, by Steve Potash and Bob Chandler; Clipper Ship Captain and Glory of the Seas, by Michael Mjelde; Shanghaied in San Francisco, by Bill Pickelhaupt; Shipping and Culture: The Norwegian Fish Club of San Francisco, 1914-1996 and Iron in Shipbuilding, by Olaf Envig; and Steel Ships and Iron Pipe, by Dr. Dean Mawdsley.
1:30 p.m.: Dave Wood on "Navy Cruise Books of World War II."
2:00 p.m.: Kortum Award winner Michael Mjelde on "The San Francisco Waterfront in 1872."
2:30 p.m.: tours of the Library and its various collections, including whaling, naval architecture, fine arts, and World War II.
3:00 p.m.: Kortum Award winner Louis Hough on the steam schooner Adeline Smith.
3:30 p.m.: Author Bill Pickelhaupt on Shanghaied in San Francisco.
4:00 p.m.: optional tour of "The Sailor's Den," the new public Maritime Library Reading Room in the Park's Visitor Center, at the corner of Hyde and Jefferson Streets, followed by wine and cheese in the Visitor Center.

The cost of the symposium is $35.00 in advance, $45.00 at the door. For information, call 415-561-7040, or contact the Friends at To sign up online, see the Symposium invitation and be sure to follow the link to the reply card. You can also pay for your registration online at our store.

More on Aubrey

This came to my inbox this morning:

On September 24th on Bloomberg Radio® , "Bloomberg on the Economy" host Tom Keene spoke for an hour with Author David Cordingly about his new book,
Cochrane: The Real Master and Commander Lord Thomas Cochrane was a captain in the Royal Navy and David Cordingly spoke on the economics of the Napoleonic Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and piracy, and the end of the sailing era for England. Cochrane was the inspiration for the character Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's series of Aubrey-Maturin historical novels. We thought you might find the interview of interest. Please feel free to follow the link below to listen to their conversations:

"Bloomberg on the Economy" is podcasted at and also on iTunes under Business News.

Hope you enjoy listening.

Heidi Tan
Bloomberg LP
T: 212.617.5375
F: 917.369.4347

Thanks for the great lead Heather!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Call for Participation

October is going to be a great month for maritime symposiums what with the International Congress of Maritime Museums in Malta and the 8th Maritime Heritage Conference in San Diego.

I'm unable to attend either conference but it sure would be good to have some news on the conferences from the front. Would anyone who is attending either like to volunteer to send along some updates? Readership of Maritime Compass averages 100/day so anything you have to say will reach a large and self-selected group.

PS. As always, if you'd like to contribute any other maritime stories at any other time, please also feel free to send them along.

The Art of Wood Carving in America

November 3-4, 2007 the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts will be hosting a two-day symposium featuring new research on the art of 18th and 19th century American wood carving.

The program lists one exclusively maritime presentation on The Shipcarvers Art by Ralph Sessions, as well as other topics with maritime influences. All the sessions, as well as the tours look really interesting. or Google Books?

Online text & e-book sites are rich with maritime books. I've mentioned Project Gutenberg, which started in the 1970s and is a favorite site of mine due to their commitment to providing high quality electronic editions that are easy to read online and/or download. But most people are probably more familiar with Google Books. What's the difference? Google Books has quantity, and opinions about the quality vary. Check out these reviews:

But behind Google Books lies which increases its utility. The Google Book Search horatio lord nelson results in several interesting texts, including the 1846 edition of The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson: With Notes. The chances of my buying this book are slim, and I'd rather not read it online or take the trouble to download it--no problem. If I look at the links down the right side, and I choose "Find this book in a library," I'm taken to the record for this book.

This is an advantage to approaching and library records through Google Books. If I had started with this book's record on, I might easily miss finding the free, electronic edition. And if I were interested in buying this book on the used book market, I see more options via Google Books--again, on the right, just above the "Find this book in a library" link, there are various book buying sites including my favorite, ABEBooks which includes many independent booksellers that belong to professional booksellers' associations and has a large presence of booksellers outside the United States. (And if you're a researcher who's been using Amazon to view excerpts and sections of books, Arstechnica's article on Google Books' new features, the snipping tool and the personal library, might convince you to give these features a try.)

And there is actually a Google Books "front end" to from Google's advanced book search, turn on the radio button for "Library catalogs," and you're searching

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finding Maritime Information:

Did you know that the largest database of library collections in the world in now available to you for free? Yes--free. No signup, no strings attached. is the free, public interface to the database of over 88 million titles provided by OCLC, an international, nonprofit, library cooperative. Thousands upon thousands of libraries all over the world participate; your local library may or may not participate in; not every library does. But most major academic collections, public libraries, and library consortia are represented.

Let's get specific. If I search for Niven's book on American President Lines in, I see not only the libraries that own this item, but if I put my zip code into the "Enter Location Information" box, they're listed in geographic order with the participant library that's closest to me first. With most libraries, I can click that library's name to be taken directly to their online catalog to see if the book's actually on the shelf. And, with my local library, I can then request that the item be held for me.

Want to ask your local library to interlibrary loan this book for you? Under "Share it" you can select "Link to this page" to generate a short link to email your interlibrary loan request. Did you use this book in your research? Under "Citations" you can export the information in popular bibliographic citation formats. Know something about this book? Click on "Reviews" and add a review. Yes--you can add a review, yourself. Love this book? Under "Get it" there's a link to Amazon, which is duplicated on the lower right of the page if you scroll down.

Want to get fancy? You can build and maintain public and private lists of books inside the bottom of the page, look for the tiny row called "You," and select "My Worldcat." Want to break free of the English-speaking world? Interfaces are available in German, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Chinese.

Want to try it now? Here's my search box (just change the zip code when you get to your search results if you don't live in San Francisco!):

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>

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