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

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

And goodnight

Maritime Compass emerged into a very different blogosphere in 2005.  Today, the blogs listed here under "Related Blogs & Resources" are but a few of the excellent blogs and news sites covering activities in maritime studies, not to mention the increasing presence of maritime museums and libraries at other social media sites every day.  So it's time to put Maritime Compass to sleep.

The posts will remain here, but the blog will go silent.

I hope to see all of you over at Full Fathom Five, exploring the collections of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The new Full Fathom Five

Have you been enjoying the Full Fathom Five posts mirrored here?  Then check out the new home Full Fathom Five.

With its new home comes new functionality; in addition to an rss feed and full-featured commenting, Full Fathom Five now offers email subscriptions and sharing on multiple social media sites.

Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Gold Rush Journal 'Round the Horn - Two Sketches

(by Palma J. You, Archives Technician)

On March 13th, Mr. Chittenden notes "20 passengers from the ship Tamaroo" along with 18 from "our boat", the Croton, "went up in a schooner boat of about 5 tons belonging to one of the natives" to the town of Saint Catherine.

While the bark Croton was making its way to Saint Catherine, Mr. Chittenden records this sketch:

"...the harbour 12 miles from town called St. Michael. The two ships laying at anchor are the Croton & Tamaroo. The small boats about in the harbor are natives canoeing & going to trade with the ships. The mountains shown are up on the mainland. The island represented in the harbour is one about 6 miles from the entrance… "

Sketch from H.W. Chittenden journal (SAFR 14299, HDC 91)

The second sketch shows his interest in architecture:

Sketch from H.W. Chittenden journal (SAFR 14299, HDC 91)

"This represents a view of an old fortification, Aquiduck, & farena mill, attached together with the surrounding scenery situated at San. Michael, upon the mainland oposite the island of St Catherine."

(The first of this series of neat stuff from the journal by Mr. Chittenden was posted on March 7, 2012.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SF Maritime NHP on

Search for an item in libraries near you: >>

We are delighted to announce that the Park's published holdings (e.g., books, periodicals, etc.) and some records for archival holdings are now appearing on! New acquisitions are listed on our profile page, where you can also subscribe to an rss feed of our newly cataloged items.

If you haven't visited, be sure to check out the advanced features that allow you to create bibliographies and lists, and to tag and share items using multiple services.

Although the newest, is just one of the many catalogs that contain records for the Park's collections. And as ever, be sure to contact us if you have questions about using any of these catalogs to locate our Park's resources.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Keys the mascot

(Keys the mascot, P79-064a SCR 50)
(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

Maritime history's cup runneth over with colorful characters, some famous, some infamous, some now long forgotten. One of these forgotten fellows is finally getting his due on San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's website. He was incredibly smart, quick on his feet and brave. Friends recall his playfulness, as he was always up for fun as long as the work was done. He was loyal, stout of heart and limber. He climbed rigging with the best of them and went into deep dark holds of ships where no one else could fit to retrieve dropped tools. His start in life is a mystery, all that is known is that he was a homeless wanderer, begging in the streets to get by when he met up with a Sergeant Bennett of the Potrero Police, who took home, cleaned him up and set him to work patrolling the Union Iron Works yard. He also most likely, although the incident is lost to history, gave him a bone. Because our hero, dear reader, is a dog. A dog named Keys. A finer mutt was not to be found in any San Francisco Shipyard.

Keys the dog quickly became mascot of Union Iron Works. According to a San Francisco Chronicle article from 1901, "There was not a battleship launched in late years without Keys as a passenger" ("Some Animal Mascots" 30). To which he wore his finest clothes "A high hat and a gaudy blanket tied with ribbons" ("Some Animal Mascots" 30). The photo the library is using depicts Keys at the launching of the Olympia.

In 1895, Keys fell from the rigging of a steamer, injuring himself badly (don't worry, he survived) but the devotion of his fans can be seen in the newspaper account of the accident: "The workmen of Union Iron Works say that Keys shall have the largest funeral that any dog ever had if he dies" ("The Olympia's Mascot" 8) and "Other instances of the remarkable intelligence of the dog are recounted by the workmen who deeply grieve over the accident that has happened to their pet" ("The Olympia's Mascot" 8).

We chose Keys as our mascot not just because of his prior work experience as a mascot or how adorable he is (that helped) but because he seemed to represent a certain intelligence, curiosity and appreciation for fun that we hope comes across in our blog.
Keys was quite the character and there are a few newspaper accounts of his adventures at the shipyard and in the Potrero neighborhood. If you're interested in reading more, and quite frankly I'd be amazed if you weren't (a dog that climbs rigging? Come on!), I've compiled a bibliography for Keys below.

"A Dog That Has a Sense of Humor." San Francisco Call Feb 13 1898: 26. California Digital Newspaper Collection. Web. 8 Mar. 2012.

"The Olympia's Mascot." San Francisco Call Jan 25 1895: 8. California Digital Newspaper Collection. Web. 8 Mar. 2012.

"Some Animal Mascots." San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File): 30. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922). Feb 24 1901. Web. 8 Mar. 2012. (Available by subscription; ask your local library about access.)

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Gold Rush Journal 'Round the Horn - More than Latitude and Longitude

(by Palma J. You, Archives Technician)

Receipt (recipe) for cholera (SAFR 14200/HDC 91)

The H. W. Chittenden sea journal kept on board the Croton, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Museum and Archive Collection (SAFR 14299, HDC 91), gives us a daily perspective from February 16 to July 29, 1849 of life aboard a Gold Rush ship. Mr. Chittenden, an engineer, sailed from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn. In 19th century language and spelling, his journal is filled with the goings-on and sketches in pencil of sites and landings along the way and other historical information including a provocative remedy for cholera. Sketches and other neat stuff from the journal will be posted over the next several weeks as a series. The first of this series is a remedy for cholera:

Receipt for Cholera
10 grains of camphor
20 do Red Pepper
20 do Of callomel
And rub the Boddy with some stimulating ointment. If this does not opperate, repeat the doce after some suficient time has elapts for its action upon the Bowels.

Here's a nice example of 19th century word usage and spelling. The way the words "Receipt" and "do" are used is intriguing. A little research shows the word "Receipt" could mean "a statement of ingredients and procedure necessary to make a medicinal preparation" - a perfect fit; and "do" is probably the abbreviation of the word "ditto" (OED online). To give "Grains" context, 20 grains make 1 scruple, 480 grains make 1 ounce. In 1888 the United States used the same apothecary scale as used in Great Britain (Clarke). And, "callomel" is listed as a "valuable cathartic given at the beginning of an illness, where it is desired to clean out the bowels completely." (United States Public Health Service). It makes sense this recipe shows up early in the journal.

Etymologies for 19th century usage of the words "Receipt" and "do" can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary. Second edition, 1989; online version December 2011 (subscription required).

Other sources:

Clarke, Frank Wigglesworth. Weights, measures, and money, of all nations. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

Medical Officers of the United States Public Health Service. The Ship's Medicine Chest and first aid at sea. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1929.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Genealogy

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

One of the most popular research subjects in the library is genealogy. Almost every day we get asked questions about passenger lists, crew members or what life was like for an immigrant crossing the Pacific. In order to help people with their research, I wrote a guide to genealogy research for our library. I outlined what information we have here and where to find what we don't have (passenger lists being the #1 requested item). If you're interested in finding out if a relative was a famous (or infamous) mariner, check it out.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lobster a l'United States

The recipe for Lobster à l'United States in The Captain's Table : 18 recipes for famous dishes served aboard the S.S. United States and S.S. America is preceded by a portrait of a happy couple with the following caption:

'Months after a recent trip abroad, we were still savoring the memory of Lobster à l'United States served on board the S.S. United States. On our next crossing, we asked the Maitre d' for the recipe. Here it is--just the way M. de la Motte wrote it out for us.' Colonel and Mrs. Leon Mandel, well-known Chicago financier and woman's world shotgun champion, respectively, have made 20 crossings on United States Lines.

Here is that recipe:

Lobster à l'United States

Crack the claws and cut the tails of two 1-1/2 pound live lobsters into thick slices. Reserve the rest of the lobsters for another use. In a flame-proof casserole sauté 1 carrot, 1 leek, 1 stalk of celery and 2 shallots, all finely chopped in 2 tablespoons clarified butter for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the lobster pieces and add grated lemon rind, paprika, cayenne and salt to taste. Cover the casserole and bake the mixture in a very hot oven (450° F) for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and put it over high heat to reduce the remaining liquid. Pour 3 tablespoons heated brandy over the lobster and ignite the spirit. When the flames die dust the lobster with 3 tablespoons flour and stir in 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Add 4 cups chicken stock, bring it to a boil, and cook the mixture, covered, over very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup heated heavy cream. Remove the casserole from the heat and sprinkle it with chopped truffles and fines herbes. Stir 1/4 cup sherry and serve the lobster with saffron rissoto (rice) or croutons. Serves 4.

And you can see the March 2, 1954 menu from the S.S. United States when this dish was served, along with kangaroo tail soup, at the New York Public Library's What's on the Menu collection.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012



Every ship under steam, and indeed, under sail,
Overtaking another is never to fail
To alter her course in order to steer
Quite clear of the other when drawing too near.

Another instructive rhyme from Nautical Nursery Rhymes, by Billy Ringbolt, which resides in the Peterson, Peter H. (Capt.) Papers, (SAFR 18665, HDC 571).

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

From dandyfunk to cracker jack?

Among the treasures in the Library's Krummes Collection of Steamship Fiction are selected issues of rare pulp magazines such as Adventure, containing maritime stories and poetry. Not all of these stories are fiction; some are memoirs by sailors-turned-authors, and in cataloging them, I'm learning a lot. (Since many of these stories are written by noted authors and never reprinted, we decided to create individual cataloging records for each maritime story, poem, or article, so they would be easier to locate, and so far I've created cataloging records for the issues we hold of Adventure magazine from 1919 through mid-1930.) One such memoir is Norman Springer's "Dandyfunk," which describes fondly the "lost and forgotten art" of how Old Donald made dandyfunk at sea. He is careful to delineate the proper steps in making dandyfunk, and to distinguish it from cracker hash, which anyone could make. The ingredients are listed in great detail:

  • hardtack placed in a dandyfunk bag which was laid on the iron anchor stock and beaten with a blub, oaken belaying pin, or heavy sheet pin, and emptied onto a plate
  • water, "not too much and not too little" added to the heap of crumbs and carefully stirred
  • and other ingredients added, "everything a hungry man could lay hands upon that looked edible."

Although sugar and molasses are mentioned, and he calls it a "candy-sweet, greasy, lead-heavy sailors' delight," Springer doesn't state just what in fact it is--a pudding? A cake? A casserole? A big cookie?

Basil Lubbock in Round the Horn Before the Mast says that dandyfunk is a mixture between a cake and a pudding, and in Warren Harper's article, "Housekeeping on the High Seas" (in the Boston Cooking-School Magazine vol. 8, no. 10, May 1904), we learn on p. 483 that dandyfunk a kind of deep-sea gingerbread. Sounds tasty! But in Saltwater foodways : New Englanders and their food, at sea and ashore, in the nineteenth century, Sandra Oliver introduces her recipe on p. 116-117 by saying, "I don't know why you would want to make this, but here is an adapted recipe in case you do." The ingredients she lists are simply 1 piece of hardtack, 1 tablespoon of shortening, and 2 tablespoons molasses.

This version does not sound as appetizing, and doesn't sound like a "sailors' delight." Clearly, somewhere between "everything a hungry man could lay hands upon that looked edible" and the simplicity of Oliver's recipe is what Springer says "was something to remember and dream over." So how can we capture the taste of a dandyfunk today?

If you contact us, we can get a copy of Oliver's recipe to you as a starting point (as well as a hardtack recipe). Many sailors' snacks took advantage of hardtack and molasses, including midshipman's nuts, which is described in the Encyclopedia of Nautical Knowledge as made of broken up sea-biscuit and raisins, so maybe your dandyfunk would benefit from raisins. How about peanuts? Robert McKenna's Dictionary of Nautical Literacy does not have an entry for dandyfunk, but tells us in the entry for Cracker Jack, "The combination of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts is believed to have been inspired by a number of sea dishes, including 'crackerjack,' a combination of preserved meat and broken biscuits, and 'dandyfunk,' a mixture of broken biscuits and molasses."

Could a taste of Cracker Jack hint at the dandyfunk of yesteryear? I have to say, I'm not sure. McKenna does not cite any sources for his assertion, and the Oxford English Dictionary says that the term "cracker jack" as a culinary term (definition 2) dates in print to only 1902 when it was mentioned in the Sears catalog. (And the OED does not mention any link between dandyfunk and cracker jack in its entry for dandyfunk.)

What do you think? Have you made dandyfunk? Would you like to? We'd like to hear from you if you do! And if you come across any more information on dandyfunk, please let me know.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Howard Pease

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

In a research library such as ours, fiction books are sometimes overlooked. Of course fiction is often mined for academic and research purposes (a quick check of WorldCat shows over 1,000 books about Moby Dick alone--that's a whole lotta whale), but let's not forget the pleasure of simply just reading for readings sake a good rousing tale of mystery or adventure. One of the most beloved fiction authors in our library is Howard Pease. Anyone who reads a Howard Pease book usually ends up reading two, then three and well, so on and so forth. I like to call it "The Policy of Apeasment", but only quietly to myself lest I face the moans of a bad pun. Pease wrote his books mainly for a juvenile audience, but his sense of narrative and powers of description appeal to adults as well. Titles such as Jinx Ship, The Tattooed Man, and the Ship Without a Crew speak to his ability to pull a reader into the story. Who wouldn't want to read a book entitled Shipwreck; the strange adventures of Renny Mitchum, mess boy of the trading schooner "Samarang."


Cover of The Tattooed Man

Cover of book Heart of Danger

Our library has over 20 Howard Pease books, including one in Danish, so there is enough here to keep you going for a while. Howard Pease fan extraordinaire Dan Glines has compiled a list of all of Pease's book with descriptions of the plots to make it easier to pick one to start, Books by author Howard Pease reviewed, which is available in the Library, as is the thesis A study of the creative genesis of the twenty-two published children's novels by Howard Pease.

Start your descent into Peasemania today!

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

December's new titles in the SF Maritime NHP Library

Here are the Library's lists of new acquisitions for December. For more information on any title, contact us or search our catalogs:

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Jeannette

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

As winter settles in San Francisco, my mind turns towards all things cold. Arctic exploration is the coldest thing one can do, save for streaking on Pluto. The brave adventurers who set out to the literal ends of the earth to explore frozen landscapes have always been a great interest of mine. What would make someone decide this was a good idea when so few ended well? It's more than the urge to push physical limitations or to be the first at something. No, there must be so much more than the desire for glory or the push of curiosity. I just hope it never calls to me because frankly, I'm freezing right now and it's only about 50 degrees outside. I believe I am half reptile because laying on a hot rock in the sun is way more my style than scrambling over ice shelves, but still--I love to read about polar exploits while wrapped in a blanket safely ensconced in an armchair by the fire.

While perusing our polar section, I came across this wonderful spine:

Spine of book, Our Lost Explorers

And cover:

Cover of book, Our Lost Explorers

For those who don't know, The Jeannette left San Francisco in 1879 with a crew made up of naval personnel and a few civilians in order to reach the North Pole. Things did not go as planned; when do they in the arctic? Only a handful of her crew were rescued in 1881 after an arduous trek over land and in open sea. Here's a brief account of the expedition.

I've heard of the Jeannette before, but I haven't read anything in depth about her. This book looks to be perfect introduction as it's a combination of personal narratives, documents, and beautiful engravings. Here's one of the ship being abandoned:

<br />Engraving of ship Jeannette being abandoned

It certainly must be the most wretched feeling in the world to see your ship crushed before you. Lieutenant Danenhower, the ship's navigator, had this to say of her sinking:

It was said that the ice first closed upon her, then relaxing allowing the wreck to sink; the yards caught across the ice and broke off, but being held by the lifts and braces were carried down; depth, thirty-eight fathoms, as I remember. The next morning the captain and others visited the spot and found only one cabin chair and a few pieces of wood--all that remained of our old and good friend, the Jeanette, which for many months had endured the embrace of the Arctic monster. (p. 206).

So while winter roars around you, and you retreat to the comforts of woolen socks and knitted scarves, remember those who have endured the embrace of the arctic monster and raise your cocoa mug to them.

Source: Newcomb, Raymond Lee; Bliss, Richard W. Our lost explorers : the narrative of the Jeannette Arctic expedition as related by the survivors, and in the records and last journals of Lieutenant De Long. Hartford : American Publishing Co., 1883, c1882.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Ways of the Sea

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

Usually in my posts, I write about hidden or overlooked items in our collection. With a library as rich in material as ours, it's easy for little gems to be lost in the shelves. But sometimes, it's a good idea to trot out an old favorite and give it its due. If you aren't familiar with The Ways of the Sea by Charles G. Davis, then allow me to introduce you to your newest oldest best friend. This slim volume (179 pages of roomy print) is a mixture of encyclopedia, primer, yarns and good old fashioned advice. Reading it is like sitting down at the kitchen table with your sailor uncle--the one who's been everywhere and seen everything and knows just the way to reel in a curious mind. Here's a description of a poker game that was happened upon by a visiting crew in the middle of a chapter about binnacles (on p. 20). It's crammed with wonderful imagery and meaty tidbits about a sailor's life:

A cloud of smoke and smell came out that would have looked as if the entire forecastle were on fire in the daylight. Even in the dim light of the anchor light hanging on her forestay I could see it pouring out. As I climbed down the vertical forecastle ladder I could hear a crowd of men (smell them for that matter, there was no ventilation) and only when I got below the smoke line could I see that there was a game of poker going on with a highly excited crowd watching.

"Hello, you Wrights," was the greeting our boys got as we all landed below. For sailors were called by the name of the ship they came from in those times. And then the gang turned to watch the hand of poker finished.

The Dana's forecastle was the old style, built away up in the "eyes of her" or up on the bow under the deck. Big husky men half stripped--for it was close and hot down there with over twenty men packed into one small room--lay in their bunks; some sat on the edges of them with their legs hanging over and smoking "tar heel" tobacco. Those playing cards with a seachest for a table sat on upturned deck buckets or long sailmaker's benches.

An old coffee pot slush lamp, smoking like a bonfire of green leaves, gave out an uncertain flickering light like a lighthouse in a fog.

Whether you want to or not, you can smell it.

The short, easy to read chapters cover such divergent things as lights, washing down decks, stowing anchors and painting a ship at sea. This is the kind of book that answers questions you didn't know you had, which are my favorite kind of questions. In fact my only criticism of the book is that he sometimes begins intriguing tidbits that he doesn't follow up on. I'd like the book to be twice as long.

The library has two copies available, so come on down and learn a little bit more about the ways of the sea.

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five, due to its lack of rss feed & functioning commenting.