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.